Pieces of a Girl

Dutton. Mar. 2024. 320p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9780525429753; pap. $17.99. ISBN 9780147517715.
Gr 9 Up–A vulnerable memoir recounting Kuehnert’s teen life in the 1990s. Including excerpts from her zines and journals, as well as comic-style illustrations, she explores the music scenes and relationships that shaped her as well as the abuse that she survived. Kuehnert begins her narrative from a young age, realizing she was a writer and storyteller with the acquisition of a Ramona Quimby journal. This sets the stage for the unfolding of her early friendships, as she moves to Oak Park, IL, and desperately tries to fit in. The memoir progresses semi-linearly as she discovers Nirvana, makes new friends, and has her first romantic relationship. The shifts back in time can be confusing, but the heart of the story about growth and the trauma experienced at the hands of her abusive boyfriend link the vignettes. There are continual references to ’90s culture and the punk/goth/grunge scenes which might appeal to a very specific audience, though may appeal to younger audiences with an interest in the time and music. Further, there are references to sexual abuse and drug use that could be triggering for some.
VERDICT An authentic window into the lives of adolescents with grit and heart, likely for a niche audience.

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