Every Little Piece of My Heart by Non Pratt

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Every Little Piece of My Heart by Non Pratt

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Buy Every Little Piece of My Heart by Non Pratt at Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Category: Teens
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Olivia Mitchell
Reviewed by Olivia Mitchell
Summary: An engaging and truthful book about the politics of love, relationships, friendships and the truth between a group of diverse young people connected by a girl who changed their lives, one way or another, to create a very relevant story for young people.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: August 2020
Publisher: Walker Books
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1406366945

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Freya was a beautiful, popular and complex girl, loved by many and seemingly stable in her existence as a queen bee 16-year-old student, complete with best friend and the promise of the end of GCSEs just months away. But one day, on January 1st, she just... left. No explanation. No warning. No goodbye. No one heard from her since. A once active social profile left deserted. So, when her best friend Sophie receives a mysterious parcel from her 5 months after, she expects it to contain answers of some kind, but is surprised to find the parcel contains another layer addressed to a complete stranger, and then another layer to another person and another, each containing an item unique to them and Freya, connecting 4 strangers through her mystery and the promise of 'treasure' at the end of it all. With each parcel, a new layer of the story and of Freya is unwrapped - and painful truths come to light that threaten to break bonds, both new and old. Can what's been broken be fixed? And why did Freya leave?

The diversity of characters in the book is emphasised in a way which hasn't been common in many books I've read. Each character is different and these differences are celebrated. This book has protagonists with chronic illnesses, who aren't heteronormative, who aren't Eurocentric or who don't have stable nuclear families which gives the book a firm grounding in reality and is enjoyable to read. Sophie is an interesting character. Despite her Lupus diagnosis, she manages to do a lot with herself and her time. Despite her medication helping her a lot, she still experiences pain and fatigue and yet is determined enough to carry on and do as much as she can to find out the truth. She is inspirational and has strong fortitude even during her most challenging moments, and is spoken highly about by the other characters. Win is the oldest central character, and it shows. She is cool and calm, authoritative and yet caring. She is a necessary presence in the group and is enjoyable to read - and is a fun contradiction to her light-speed energy ball of a sister, Sunny. Lucas is a soft character, seemingly innocent and kind and yet, like most of the other characters, hides painful secrets. He is compassionate and driven and is a character that you really root for. Ryan is a wildcard. He is violent and aggressive, but it's a reaction for defence rather than attack. He is hurt and expresses it outwardly and violently, but underneath it all is a true nature seen only by a few. He is standoffish and unlikeable at first, but throughout the book we see the truth behind the exterior and he ends up being a character that we strongly empathise with.

Each chapter is told from the 3rd person perspective of each of the 4 characters whose names were on the parcels. This allows the story to be seen and understood from many different perspectives. The language is easy to digest and it feels authentic to each character, each of their experiences told in their own way. The book is broken up into 2 parts, representing the 2 days that this story happens across. The book is well-structured and diverse in terms of pace, with the author flirting between fast-paced, heavy moments to lighter, more heartfelt moments with skill.

Many chapters contain a flashback from that character's perspective to a moment with Freya from before she left. It gives insight into the relationships each of these separate-yet-joined people had with Freya, gives us snippets as to why they in particular may have received a gift, what the gift means and what any of it really means. As the flashbacks become more recent we also gain insight into the unravelling of these relationships, or of Freya herself, and how each new layer we uncover related to the present, helping us understand characters, their actions and situations.

I found the first half of the book moved at a slightly slow pace, but it didn't detract from the storyline. It allowed for detail in the characters life and gave us insight into their psyche, as well as the politics between the characters. As the book progressed the pace picked up and the intense background detail and suspense we were given early in the book allowed for deeper immersion and understanding later in the story.

This is an engaging and truthful book about the fascinating politics between a group of diverse young people, rife with lessons about truth, love, friendships and relationships in the modern youth.

Further Reading:
One of Us Is Lying by Karen M McManus - A deft, twisty murder mystery set in the corridors of an American high school, emphasising the relationships between people with a similar narrative structure.
Love Frankie by Jacqueline Wilson - A tender but real read with similar themes.
36 Questions That Changed My Mind About You by Vicki Grant: Two random strangers. Thirty-six questions guaranteed to make them fall in love. What's not to like?

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Buy Every Little Piece of My Heart by Non Pratt at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Every Little Piece of My Heart by Non Pratt at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.

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Buy Every Little Piece of My Heart by Non Pratt at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Every Little Piece of My Heart by Non Pratt at Amazon.com.


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