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The Pieces We Keep

Still trying to catch up on all those great 2013 books we recommended? Sorry, we’ve still got a few more to add to that pile. Today, we have Kristina McMorris’s fabulous new novel, The Pieces We Keep. In this her third novel, McMorris returns to the World War II setting of each of her previous novels–we reviewed her second novel, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, two years ago–but this time adds a bit of a supernatural spin to the proceedings.

In looking into this post, I ran across a fascinating interview with McMorris, on the wonderfully named blog Book-alicious Mama, in which she explains some of her writing process as well as the genesis for the story. Take a look over there, read our review, and go find a copy of the novel.

MCMORRIS, Kristina. The Pieces We Keep. 442p. Kensington. 2013. pap. $15. ISBN 9780758281166.

pieces thumb The Pieces We KeepAdult/High School–Heading to what was supposed to be a new life after the death of her husband two years earlier, Audra and her six-year-old son board an airplane, but Jack panics and causes such a scene that the plane turns around and they are kicked off. Later that night, the child experiences the first of a series of unrelenting night terrors that leave him screaming in a language he doesn’t know and shouting names Audra has never heard of. He flails so strongly that he repeatedly hurts himself. These dreams echo the disturbing drawings and stories he’s been creating that center on a mysterious past related to Nazi Germany and a terrifying death in a burning airplane. Juxtaposed with Audra’s struggle, and told in alternating chapters, is the story of Vivian, a young woman living in 1939 London. Feisty and determined to live life on her own terms, she is upset when her boyfriend, Isaac, pays her little attention. When pushed, he reveals that his family lives in a Germany consumed by Nazi power and that he wants to get them out. Vivian, the daughter of a U.S. diplomat, plots how to help him. But when Britain declares war on Germany, Vivian is sent home to safety. When Isaac shows up in New York where she  works, she discovers that during war, gathering information comes with a price. This page-turner will have teens caught up in the questions surrounding Isaac and how Vivian’s choices and subsequent actions echo through the years to connect with this young boy and his mother…and change their lives.–Connie Williams, Petaluma High School, CA

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About Mark Flowers

Mark Flowers is the Young Adult Librarian at the John F. Kennedy Library in Vallejo, CA. He reviews for a variety of library journals and blogs and recently contributed a chapter to The Complete Summer Reading Program Manual: From Planning to Evaluation (YALSA, 2012). Contact him via Twitter @droogmark

Comments

  1. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for referencing my interview with Kristina! I loved this book. In fact, it made my top 20 books of 2013.

  2. Connie, thanks so much for this lovely review! And thanks again to Jennifer for all the kind words and for helping spread word. I’m thrilled you both enjoyed the read! Sending warm wishes and gratitude.

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