Title: Only Pieces
Author: Edd Tello
Publisher: West 44
Genre: LGBTQIA, Poetry, Teens & YA
Release Date: 1st June 2022
BLURB from Goodreads
Edgar wants nothing more than to live his life out loud. But telling the truth about his sexuality isn't so easy in his traditional Mexican-American family, and his Ama has made it clear she won't accept who he is. Things get even harder when Edgar's macho father returns home after months away, and the house erupts into fighting and simmering tension. Edgar worries what would happen if he told his father the truth about who he is, and feels he'll never fit in anywhere. Then Edgar runs into Alex, a popular football player at school. With Alex, Edgar feels happy and free, believing he might finally pick up all the broken pieces of his heart. But falling in love is more complicated than Edgar can ever imagine--and coming out might destroy the only life he's ever known.
I’ll be honest I was a bit unsure about the cover and how it fitted the book until I had finished reading it and thought about it a little more. I think the pieces are the way that Edgar’s family have been split apart, or perhaps what he fears may happen if his parent’s divorce.
The genres listed for the book are LGBTQIA, Poetry, Teens & YA, though I would also add “coming of age” to that list.
The main character in the book is called Edgar and he is struggling with a few things in his life. Edgar knows he is in his words gay, he likes males and he has broached the subject with his mother or Ama on more than one occasion, though she always seems to swiftly change the subject. Edgar’s Ama, Lidia is constantly worried about money and is living in a different place to Edgar’s Apa, Pedro as there is no work for her there. Lidia’s sister, Rosario has helped her get a job and is helping to look out for jobs for Pedro. Pedro is currently working on a construction site until the end of his contract. It is extra difficult for Pedro and Lidia to find jobs as they are both undocumented. They also have to be extra careful not to get into any trouble to attract the attention of the authorities.
When Edgar hears his Ama crying after speaking to someone on the phone, he presumes she has been on the phone with his Abuela as they have not seen her for a long time. However, Edgar is surprised when his Ama tells him that his Apa is finally coming to live with them. Pedro’s construction site contract has ended and there is no more work available for him there. Pedro will soon be home and living with the rest of his family, looking for work locally.
Naturally Edgar is nervous to tell his father about his sexuality but wants to do it, but his mother keeps dissuading him from doing so. There are arguments going on regularly between his parents so much so Edgar begins to wonder if they will geta divorce. He sneaks out of their apartment and spots Alex Cisneros, a guy he recognises from school, whom he has a bit of a secret crush on. Edgar begins to hang out with Alex when he comes over to visit his dad. Edgar finally has another friend to talk to and hang out with. Edgar thinks that life may be turning for the better despite the arguments at home. When Edgar is talked into attending a party held at Tylers house he hesitates but then agrees only to find out that somehow Tyler knows all of his secrets.
My immediate thoughts when I finished reading the book were that I really liked the characters, and the plot being centred around Edgar, both his coming of age and the fact he is determined to come out to his family and friends. I enjoyed the fact the book was told in verse, it made it a really fast read.
Summing up, I enjoyed reading the book and it certainly fits within the parameters of a Hi Lo book. It deals with some pretty tough subjects, sexuality, coming of age, and undocumented people being amongst them.
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