Gabi Hernandez chronicles her last year in high school in her diary: college applications, Cindy’s pregnancy, Sebastian’s coming out, the cute boys, her father’s meth habit, and the food she craves. And best of all, the poetry that helps forge her identity.
I absolutely adored this book. I knew I would because Maggie told me I’d like it and Maggie knows everything.
Gabi is an excellent narrator and her personality oozes off the page. She’s such a vibrant character and it was a pleasure to spend two hours (or however long it took me to inhale this book) in her country. I loved that she was a bit rough around the edges in the way that all high schools are an that she falls in love with every boy she meets. I loved her passion for her Mexican culture (Also, I learnt a lot and built on my knowledge that basically begins and ends with Simone Elkeles’ books. I know I’m sorry. But this book? YAY! Diversity! Ra! Ra! Ra!) and I love her for finding out about herself. I love her friendship with Cindy and Sebastian and the friendships that were forged against all odds. And the zine at the end was perfect. So beautiful and moving.
It felt like a truly real book and I could just imagine walking into an American high school (well, OK, when I imagine walking into a high school it’s like every teen film in the entire world ever, but you get the gist) and seeing these characters there.
I loved how Isabel dealt with the dark undercurrent that runs through the book. Don’t get me wrong, this book is really funny and it’s not an issue book and there’s plenty of lovely kissing in it but, like all real life, the darker things come along too. The issue that things aren’t fair when it comes to being a teenage girl and that the odds are stacked against you. That you will have to deal with more things than your male counterparts. And that “boys will be boys”. There’s one particular storyline that’s practically ripped from the headlines and it’s sad and it’s truthful and it made me disappointed that this is what we offer our teenage girls nowadays.
Gabi, A Girl in Pieces is a fierce book. It’s a colourful book. It’s a passionate book. It’s a hilarious book. It’s a truthful book. It’s a book that made me want to stand by Gabi’s side and roar. It challenges the patriarchy and demands answers from society that constantly puts teenage girls through the ringer.
Let’s just put it this way: I haven’t felt like this about a YA heroine since Frankie Landau-Banks. And you know how I feel about Frankie.