Apr 10, 2023

ARC Review--Pieces of Me by Kate McLaughlin


The next gut-punching, compulsively readable Kate McLaughlin novel, about a girl finding strength in not being alone.

When eighteen-year-old Dylan wakes up, she’s in an apartment she doesn’t recognize. The other people there seem to know her, but she doesn't know them – not even the pretty, chiseled boy who tells her his name is Connor. A voice inside her head keeps saying that everything is okay, but Dylan can’t help but freak out. Especially when she borrows Connor’s phone to call home and realizes she’s been missing for three days.

Dylan has lost time before, but never like this.

Soon after, Dylan is diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder, and must grapple not only with the many people currently crammed inside her head, but that a secret from her past so terrible she’s blocked it out has put them there. Her only distraction is a budding new relationship with Connor. But as she gets closer to finding out the truth, Dylan wonders: will it heal her or fracture her further?


I received this ARC from the author in a contest I won online. My review is completely honest and voluntary, and I was in no way compensated for this review.

Having been a long time fan of Kate McLaughlin's (and her many pen names) books, I was happy to have won a copy of her latest release, Pieces of Me. I know what you're thinking, was I aware I picked up a completely contemporary novel? Yes. I will admit, I thought part of the mystery that Dylan couldn't remember would play a larger role in the story then it did, but I still found myself completely immersed with the story.

Long, long ago, when I was in school and took a psychology course--I honestly can't remember what grade as I took more than one over the year--I did a paper on DID. It's been long enough that I don't remember my research at all, but reading this book definitely made me remember bits and pieces of said research when I saw it present here in the story. I truly appreciated the amount of time and research McLaughlin did for this book, as you can see she did her homework. Granted, I admit, I have never met anyone with this disorder, so I can't say how accurate things were described. McLaughlin admits this in her afterword as well. A disorder works differently for each person it inflicts. No two DID patients would be the same, so for me as a reader, I felt like Dylan's story felt very real.

I also want to point out here before diving into the rest of my review, that there are some trigger warnings in this book. It's brought up on the very first page as a forewarning, which was appreciated when I got further into this story. Taken from the page itself, "there are discussions of suicide, child abuse/sexual assault, and alcohol abuse, as well as mentions of vaping, smoking, and sex."

Now, more onto my review. I was intrigued right away with the story as Dylan wakes up in an apartment she does not recognize, with no idea how she got there. What she doesn't realize right away, is that she didn't just spend a night with a guy she doesn't remember. She's been there for three days! Dylan knows that something isn't quite right with her, but can't really figure out what would have caused the memory lapse. What made things even more bizarre was how understanding the guy, Connor, was when she woke up. He wasn't mad or freaked out by her behavior, in fact, he was worried about her. He even takes her home when she is about to bolt.

It's not long after a round of worries and concerns when she returns home that Dylan has another episode. She was just settling into a nice warm bath when the next thing she knows she wakes up and sees slashes on her arms. She's taken to the hospital right away and it becomes clear that Dylan is not well. She's soon diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder.

As Dylan works with her therapist, she begins to accept her situation and her way of life. Taking her doctor's advice, she tries to get to know her different personalities. She soon uncovers that her personalities came about when she was young to help protect her from a terrible secret. If the secret were to ever get out, it would mean big trouble for Dylan.

Try as she might, Dylan can't get her personalities to reveal the secret. And so Dylan goes about her life and just tries to find a semblance of balance. We do get to see into her mind where her personalities live, so to speak, and how they interact with one another and basically that their main cause is to protect Dylan.

The mystery of what happened to Dylan is eventually revealed. It became clear early on what had happened, it was just the matter of whodunit. It was an emotionally packed kind of read that's for sure! I am surprised by myself that I was able to finish it. It was a tough read emotionally, just learning what Dylan went through and what happened to her afterwards, it was gut-wrenching. I was mostly pleased with the outcome once everything came out into the open...I mean, it's a rough subject, so saying it was a happy ending, doesn't really apply.

McLaughlin did a fantastic job with the characters in this story! They were all a great cast, and I not just referring to Dylan's personalities either. Dylan's family, her best friend, Izzy, and of course, Connor were all terrific! While it may have took some longer to become accepting of Dylan's new situation, in the end, I was pretty happy with all of them!

I find myself a little shaken after reading this one. Both with its subject matter and the fact that it wasn't as thriller-y as I thought it would. I mean, in essence, I knew it wasn't going to be fully focused on the mystery and the tragedy behind it all. But I guess I was hoping it would be a little more on the forefront than it was. I was also still pretty engaged with Dylan and her disorder as well, probably for the same reasons that led me to choose the topic for that long ago paper. All in all, it was a really good read! Not my normal cup of tea, but still an engaging read in and of itself.

Overall Rating 3.75/5 stars--yes, that awkward rating. I can't quite bring myself to say 4 stars, but it was definitely better than 3 and more deserving than a 3.5. Hence my awkward rating. This is used so sparingly on my blog I feel like, so a rare rating for the rare read to come across my blog is fitting.

Pieces of Me releases April 18, 2023

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