“…and this makes me wonder whether a black girl’s life is only about being stitched together and coming undone, being stitched together and coming undone.” ~Piecing Me Together
I’ve read both of Renee Watson’s YA novels: This Side of Home and Piecing Me Together. I’m now convinced I need her to write more, and quickly. Spinning creative and gorgeous narratives that also deal with real social issues is a special skill, a skill Ms. Watson truly possesses.
This Side of Home tells the story of Nikki and Maya, identical twins who’ve always agreed on everything, until now. During the narrative the twins find themselves growing apart as they grow up. This novel deals with gentrification, interracial relationships, and the importance of historically black colleges and universities, all in a fun package. Not only that, but Ms. Watson talks about a subject that most people are hesitant to even touch: are black people justified in using the n-word? This book has so many layers that I want to read it again to peel them back even further.
Piecing Me Together also tells the story of growing up from a black girl’s perspective. Jade struggles with perception in this book: how she is seen by the world, and how she sees herself. Grappling with the recent issues of police brutality and her own experiences, she tries to pick up the pieces of her life and put herself together as she wants to be. I have a whole page of quotes from this book in my quotes journal because the writing and thoughts behind it where just that good. Ms. Watson does an excellent job showing all the pain that comes with being a black girl, but all the magic too.
These two books are truly essential to the YA experience and they definitely need more love.