Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde

"Books have furnished, burnished, and enabled my life." Julia Keller

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

2012 Book 243: ALL THE BROKEN PIECES Review

All the Broken Pieces by Cindi Madsen
ISBN: 9781620611302 (paperback)
ASIN: B00AJOW1SQ (Kindle ebook)
Publication date: December 11, 2012
Publisher: Entangled Publishing

What if your life wasn’t your own?
Liv comes out of a coma with no memory of her past and two distinct, warring voices inside her head. Nothing, not even her reflection, seems familiar. As she stumbles through her junior year, the voices get louder, insisting she please the popular group while simultaneously despising them. But when Liv starts hanging around with Spencer, whose own mysterious past also has him on the fringe, life feels complete for the first time in, well, as long as she can remember.
Liv knows the details of the car accident that put her in the coma, but as the voices invade her dreams, and her dreams start feeling like memories, she and Spencer seek out answers. Yet the deeper they dig, the less things make sense. Can Liv rebuild the pieces of her broken past, when it means questioning not just who she is, but what she is?

Olivia "Liv" Stein wakes up and is told that she is recuperating from a terrible car accident. She accepts that but she has no memory of her parents or her past life and that is confusing. What is even more confusing is the fact that her parents pack up the family and relocate to Arizona from Minnesota, especially since her parents had dream jobs at the Mayo Clinic. Now her father is a small town cardiac surgeon and her mother has gone from being a premiere neurosurgeon to a stay-at-home mother. 

Her mother is extremely overprotective, supposedly as a result of the accident, and doesn't want to allow Liv to attend the local high school. Fortunately Liv's father overrules this decision and Liv is allowed out of the house to go to school. Liv knows that making the transition from home-schooling to regular school is going to be difficult and the difficulty factor is increased because she is the new kid. Liv isn't sure she'll fit in at the school but she gives it her best effort. On the first day of school she meets Keira, one of the popular girls and is quickly pulled into the popular clique. Liv likes being part of this group but she doesn't like the notion that she can't dress differently from the other girls, have a dissenting opinion or befriend people outside the clique. Her run-ins with Spencer Hale put her at odds with the popular group, but she finds that her friendship with Spencer is just what she needs. Since she doesn't remember much from before the accident, Spencer takes it upon himself to provide her with the experiences he thinks she needs to have: eating at McDonald's, bowling, catching a lizard, learning how to ride a bike, etc.

The more Liv experiences with Spencer, the more she wants to know about her past. Liv doesn't exactly remember Minnesota, but the things she does remember clearly don't jive with what her parents have told her. She remembers being popular and a cheerleader but poor and an only child. She also remembers being sheltered, in poor health and having a younger sister. She knows these memories can't be real but she knows that her parents have been hiding something from her. Liv also knows that Spencer is hiding parts of himself from her as well. She forces Spencer to reveal his past and to help in uncovering her own, but can she handle the truth about herself?

Ms. Madsen has provided a somewhat unique coming of age story with All the Broken Pieces. Both Liv and Spencer have had to deal with traumas that resulted in major changes in both their lives. Spencer is gradually overcoming his past with Liv's help but the secrets of Liv's past can shatter not only individual lives but those of families. It was rather interesting in seeing how both Liv and Spencer deal with the issues of popular versus unpopular in their school and peer pressure in general. Teenagers may feel the need to conform a bit more than other age groups. The pressures of conformity are found everywhere, and it doesn't seem to matter if teens are residing in a large city or a small town. Liv and Spencer are typical teenagers just trying to get good grades, make friends, fit in and survive. I found All the Broken Pieces to be a quick read that held my attention from the first page to the very last. If you enjoy contemporary fiction, a touch of romance and a coming-of-age bent, then All the Broken Pieces may just be the read for you.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book free for review purposes from Entangled Publishing. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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