Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Grade: 8 to 12
- Reading age: 12 to 18
Maddie is living on the streets, trying to protect herself and make enough money to get a place to stay and find a way to go back to school. When she meets Q, she is wary but welcomes his friendship. And then she meets Dylan, a six-year-old boy, living on the streets with his family. When Dylan's father asks Maddie to watch the boy for a while, she is happy to help. But Dylan's parents don't come back; and Maddie and Q are left looking after him. Trying to make a life together and care for her makeshift family, Maddie finds that maybe she has to ask for help.
About the author
Darlene Ryan has been writing for as long as she can remember, although she pursued post-secondary degrees in biology and education. Despite being endlessly fascinated by theories on the origin of the universe, she decided she wasn't cut out to be a scientist and returned to writing. Darlene was the 2006 poet recipient of the Dr. Marilyn Trenholme Counsell Early Childhood Literacy Award. As Sofie Kelly, she writes the best-selling Magical Cats mysteries. She lives with her family in Fredericton, New Brunswick. More information is available at www.darleneryan.com.
- Commended, SLJ's Best Books for Teens Living in the ‘Margins’ list
- Commended, CCBC Best Books starred selection
"Ryan tackles some serious issues—including homelessness, abuse, and child abandonment...[Her] simple prose and interesting storyline should attract readers (especially reluctant ones)."
Quill & Quire
"A gritty, realistic look at teen homelessness."
School Library Journal
"With characters and conflicts that are sure to interest young adult readers, this book is a good choice for the high school library."
TriState YA Book Review Committee
"Ryan's exceptionally well-written novel presents issues of homelessness, abuse and poverty, as well as society’s over-consumption and waste. Characters are clearly written, multi-dimensional, strong and believable...A heart-rending and heart-warming glimpse into the journey of a handful of these people, what they need to deal with daily to survive, and how they succeed. And sometimes fail...Highly Recommended."
"I was immediately hooked into the story. I couldn't stop. This book was so entirely captivating, so real, that I just couldn't put it down. It was physically impossible for me to leave this book for very long, and I'm kind of happy about that, because it's just what I needed...It captivated every little piece of my heart."
The Book Babe blog
"A gritty portrait of teens and children living on the street...[and] a complex survival story."
"Homelessness, domestic abuse, and parental abandonment are indisputably weighty topics. Yet in this story of a makeshift family, they seem surprisingly surmountable...Ryan has created a thought-provoking portrait of young people living...on the fringes of society."
"An impressively managed text. It presents realistic and richly detailed explorations of a difficult topic without being hopeless...Pieces of Me is a strong book with much to offer YA readers."