Pieces of Why
by K. L. Going
Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books
Release Date: September 8th 2015
From the award-winning author of Fat Kid Rules the World andThe Liberation of Gabriel King comes a lyrical, middle grade gem that asks all the hard questions and hits all the right notes–perfect for fans of Cynthia Rylant and Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine.
Tia lives with her mom in a high-risk neighborhood in New Orleans and loves singing gospel in the Rainbow Choir with Keisha, her boisterous and assertive best friend. Tia’s dream is to change the world with her voice; and by all accounts, she might be talented enough. But when a shooting happens in her neighborhood and she learns the truth about the crime that sent her father to prison years ago, Tia finds she can’t sing anymore. The loss prompts her to start asking the people in her community hard questions–questions everyone has always been too afraid to ask.
Full of humanity, Pieces of Why is a timely story that addresses grief, healing, and forgiveness, told through the eyes of a gifted girl who hears rhythm and song everywhere in her life.
I absolutely loved the diverse cast of characters in Pieces of Why. Readers are transported to the setting of New Orleans which is famous for its rich history of food, music, and culture. Which is a perfect sense music is an essential part of the story.
The novel is mix of a coming-of-age story, but is also equally a family drama. Our main protagonist, Tia, is a likable character. She’s confident while singing, but she’s also at the age where she’s a little unsure of herself. After a horrific experience she is faced with the obstacle to find her voice after being silenced. She learns to use music as healing process and also has to garner the strength to find out the real truth about her father and stop being blinded by false lies and rumors that have spread in her community. Throughout the whole process Tia is never alone and has a great support system. Her best friend Keisha, and her family has got her back as well as her choir teacher and many others.
The writing in this novel evokes strong emotions and you feel sympathy for her Tia’s plight and a strong connection to her character. There is also a major theme of theme of kindness and showing care to one another. And in doing so, the people in the book build a sense of community rather than judgement.
While the story starts off bleak the reader ends up with a heartwarming feeling after finishing the book. I feel that Pieces of Why is a great empowering read for middle graders.
KL Going is the award-winning author of books for children and teens. Her first novel, Fat Kid Rules the World was named a Michael Printz honor book by the American Library Association, as well as one of the Best Books for Young Adults from the past decade. Her books have been Booksense picks, Scholastic Book Club choices, Junior Library Guild selections, winners of state book awards, and featured by Publishers
Weekly, School Library Journal, and Children’s Book Council as Best Books. Her work has been published in Korea, Italy, Japan and the UK.
KL began her career working at one of the oldest literary agencies in New York City. She used this inner knowledge of publishing to write Writing and Selling the Young Adult Novel — a how-to book for aspiring writers, published by Writer’s Digest. She has also written short stories for several anthologies and currently has two picture books under contract for future release. She currently lives in Glen Spey, NY where she both writes and runs a business critiquing manuscripts. To visit KL on-line go to www.klgoing.com.
1st Prize: Win a signed galley of Pieces of Why, a Fat Kid movie, a signed Fat Kid original book cover, a signed poster of Saint Iggy and Read Great Books bumper sticker (US Only)
2nd Prize: Win a signed galley of Pieces of Why, a signed paperback of The Liberation of Gabriel King, a sign poster for The Garden of Eve and a Read Great Books bumper sticker (US Only)
3rd Prize: Win a signed galley of Pieces of Why, an audio edition of The Garden of Eve, a signed poster for The Garden of Eve and a Read Great Books bumper sticker (US Only)
FTC Disclaimer: I received this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.