‘He had been part of my everyday life. I hadn’t liked him much, nobody had liked him much, but he’d been there. Now, I’d never see him again.’
This week I chose a book which many people have read several years ago. I am an ardent fan of the Victorian detective stories of Carol Hedges, but Jigsaw Pieces is a Young Adult novel set in the early 21st century. The heroine, Annie Skjaerstad, has a prickly, independent personality. The thick skin she adopts to protect herself make her unappealing to her peers, but she speaks to readers in the first person, putting us firmly on her side.
Separated from her father and the country she loves, you would expect Annie to go off the rails, but although she has been bullied or ignored by her classmates, she copes with everyday life and exam pressure phlegmatically. Only in English lessons do her spirits rise. Her teacher appreciates her talent and nurtures her interest in poetry written during the First World War.
Suddenly the whole class are shocked when one of the boys commits suicide. Grant had been unkind to her, but Annie cannot believe he would have made this decision. Looking forward to a week’s work experience with the police force she is bitterly disappointed when she is sent to a care home instead. Working through the week of domestic drudgery she meets someone whose early life sparks her interest. In the meantime, she tries to investigate Grant’s suicide.
This easy to read book confronts the challenges which young people are facing at this moment and I read avidly as Annie became endangered by her brave investigation. Not just for young adults. This is a story for us all.
You can find Jigsaw Pieces on Amazon UK
If you are interested in the Young Adult books by Carol Hedges you might also enjoy The Final Virus