Mini Reviews: Lies Beneath and Pieces of Us

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Title: Pieces of Us
Author: Margie Gelbwasser
Publisher: Flux
Publish Date: March 8, 2012
Genre: YA, Contemporary
Pages: 336
Source: Publisher/Netgalley
Every summer, hidden away in a lakeside community in upstate New York, four teens leave behind their old identities…and escape from their everyday lives.

Yet back in Philadelphia during the school year, Alex cannot suppress his anger at his father (who killed himself), his mother (whom he blames for it), and the girls who give it up too easily. His younger brother, Kyle, is angry too—at his abusive brother, and at their mother who doesn’t seem to care. Meanwhile, in suburban New Jersey, Katie plays the role of Miss Perfect while trying to forget the nightmare that changed her life. But Julie, her younger sister, sees Katie only as everything she’s not. And their mother will never let Julie forget it.
Pieces of Us by Margie Gelbwasser is a novel that does not hesitate, whatsoever, to teeter on the precipice of uncomfortable, dark and utterly destructive. Think about characters with both emotional and physical trauma that overrides any sort of humanity that might shine through their shells. That's what this novel shows. Through it all, we see an overtly abusive relationship unhinge each character in the large cast of characters. Alex, overbearing and hard, played the perfect villain, while Katie, played the complete victim.

I'll admit, this novel features a lot of violence, and the language, actions and emotions were extremely disturbing. I like dark books, but the audience to which this novel caters didn't feel right to me. I couldn't reconcile with the fact that this brutal book was made for teens. It's definitely a well-written novel, but I think it's important to remember that this is about abuse, and it's very hard to stomach. Take caution and be prepared for depth and trauma throughout - it's not an easy read. I give it a 3 out of 5 for execution, and I recommend it to fans of upper YA and adults. It is a good contemporary and issue-driven book.


Title: Lies Beneath
Publisher: Delacorte BYR
Publish Date: June 12, 2012
Genre: YA, Paranormal
Pages: 303
Source: Publisher/Netgalley
Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake.

Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough—especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistible good looks and charm on unsuspecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily—just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him.
I haven't read too many takes on paranormal novels involving mermaids/mermen, and we all know I love water, so Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown sounded like the perfect fit for me. With hints of romance, a great premise and a dynamic cast of characters, it seemed as though it had all the elements I sought. I enjoyed Calder as a character. I thought that he, singularly, was a strong male character, but I did, unfortunately, feel that when we added Lily, the love interest to the mix, he grew weaker and more simple, or one-sided.

Furthermore, Lies Beneath involved the trifecta of cliches, for me; insta-love, a weak female MC and the overbearing romantic tendencies. Now, don't get me wrong, stories can involve these and still work for me, but when the story doesn't manage to move past the cliches in its path, it loses me. It wasn't a bad book, but it was not the right novel for me at all. I give it a 2.5 out of 5, and I recommend it to fans of YA, especially those who enjoy paranormal romance.


  1. I've read different review on both of these. Still, I would like to pick up both books since I am curious about them. Thanks for the reviews.

  2. It's good to know that PIECES OF US is a dark book. I'm definitely interested, but it's good to know what I'm getting into. I was torn on LIES BENEATH, but the premise sounded interesting enough that I went ahead and got it. At least I know to adjust my expectations while reading. Thanks for sharing your thoughts :0)

  3. Wow - I felt a little uncomfortable just reading the synopsis of Pieces of Us. Definitely sounds like a dark story. And I've still never read a mermaid story, but I don't know that Lies Beneath will make me change my ways... I thought it was interesting that the cover shows a female when the MC is male. Thanks for two interesting mini's!

  4. I like dark stories, but PIECES OF US made me bad uncomfortable...not the right kind, you know? I hope you'll give them a shot though :)

  5. I think keeping your expecations in check will be a good thing :) you might still love it!

  6. I think it's nice that everyone comes up with their own opinions :) these are simply my own, of course!

  7. I can't read your flash on PIECES OF US because I just requested it and have been looking forward to it.  When I'm close to reading something, I hate knowing if someone else loves/hates it.  I'm reading LIES BENEATH right now not loving it (Maybe it's because I just finished WAKING STORMS, which was AMAZING), so I DO want tok now your thoughts!  The fact that you didn't love me makes me want to finish this even less.  I've been really, REALLY looking forward to it, but I'm having so much trouble believing in these mermaids.  I want to know why, if they don't care about humans, their schooling included reading English and learning how to drive. This is GETTING TO ME!! And it sucks even more b/c this is in a merman's POV.  *cries*

  8. bummr that both were meh
    atleast you gave them a try
    i 'm really liking pieces of us so far

  9. Pieces of Us does not sound like something I'd enjoy. I'm all for darkness and reality in YA but there's a line...I read books mostly for enjoyment and, if I can't enjoy it at And Lies Beneath was a DNF for me. Just didn't catch my interest.

    Great wee reviews! :)

  10. I hear you on Lies Beneath. I really struggled with it. I know some people will love it, but for me, I barely made it through.

  11. I'm glad! I hope that more people will - I enjoy dark stories, but I really struggled with it.

  12. Preaching to the choir, girl! Lies Beneath just felt SO pieced together for me! I couldn't get past the details haha

  13. Great reviews :) Though I can't say that either book calls out to me

  14. Pieces of Us is not one that really struck me as an "Asheley book" from the first moment I saw it, so it isn't on my TBR as of yet. I don't mind a dark book, though, and I never know what will END UP on my TBR one day, it just doesn't sound like something that is all for me at the moment. Lies Beneath is on my TBR, but it sounds like one that I would reach for when I've depleted my "ohmygraciousihavetoreadthatbookrightnow" book stack. And I sort of felt that from the beginning. 

    As always, love the honest thoughts, Melissa, even when they are mini.  ;) Thank you. 

  15. It looks like you felt the same way about Lies Beneath as I did about Of Poseidon. Too many cliches. Sigh. I've yet to read a truly awesome mermaid book!

  16. WAY too many cliches. I really struggled with that one.

  17. Sometimes I hit a book funk, and writing a mini review is the only way I can still maintain balance ;)


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