I’ve finished reading my most recent foray into the Young Adult genre, A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray.
Let me start by saying what so many other readers have said before… The cover of this novel is gorgeous! The artistic, almost watercolour depiction of 2 cities merged is truly unique and mesmerizing. It is what drew me to the book originally and even several of my colleagues commented on how beautiful it was.
But, there is that age-old adage, Don’t judge a book by its cover, and unfortunately, I think it is true of A Thousand Pieces of You. The novel wasn’t bad by any means, but it wasn’t as totally intriguing and creative as the cover would suggest; it was an interesting and different storyline, but it still felt distinctly juvenile and that is a real shame to me.
The premise of the novel was very cool: Marguerite, the daughter of two brilliant scientists, travels between multiple dimensions, trying to catch her father’s murderer. Along the way, she gets to live some really different lives, some futuristic and others more rustic. She’s even a member of royalty in one. The cornerstone of any YA novel, a love triangle, is present, and Marguerite does get to develop a fascinating, multi-layered relationship with her parents’ student Paul. This all makes for a fun ride, and one that I did finish rather quickly because I found the writing style easy to get through and enjoyable.
However, there were moments when I felt that this novel was almost insulting to the reader’s intelligence a little. YA novels are often criticized for being simplistic, and I do NOT believe that is true or fair at all; I have read some brilliant and very powerful YA novels that really touched me. I do feel, though, that any time a book dabbles in science fiction, it can be tricky. There are just too many plotholes that can emerge and too many variables that are open to being left unexplained. That would be my one main criticism of A Thousand Pieces of You: it didn’t explain the science behind interdimensional travel thoroughly enough. Details about how it all happens logistically, why some memories linger and others don’t, were glossed over too quickly. For example, it didn’t make sense to me that when Marguerite awoke in Russia, she would be fluent in Russian; does a person’s knowledge of language remain in their original body even if their memories are overtaken by a different version of them? Furthermore, Paul and his fellow student Theo were able to too easily understand the science of very advanced dimensions, such as one where everyone lived underwater, almost as if they retained memories from the versions of themselves that lived in that dimension. But at the same time, some geographical knowledge and all memories were still missing for them. It also didn’t make sense to me that Marguerite could do a bunch of water-related scientific calculations seemingly at random, while simultaneously admitting that nothing about this new dimension was consciously familiar to her. I want to believe that all will be explained in the future novels in this series, and I do hope for that.
The novel did also end on a cliffhanger, with absolutely none of the major conflicts specific to this story resolved (such as whether or not Marguerite will confront Wyatt Conley). Again, I’m assuming this will be investigated in future novels.
Having said all that, I did enjoy A Thousand Pieces of You. It was a fun summer read and a perfect respite from the heavier literature (an Austen and an Atwood novel) I just finished. And there were some romantic moments which were lovely for the warmer summer days. I’ll leave you with one of my favourites…
“I meant it when I said I didn’t believe in love at first sight. It takes time to really, truly fall for someone. Yet I believe in a MOMENT. A moment when you glimpse the truth within you. In that moment, you don’t belong to yourself any long, not completely. Part of you belongs to him; part of him belongs to you. After that, you can’t take it back, no matter how much you want to, no matter how hard you try.”
❥❥ (out of 5)
Girl with a Green Heart