The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno

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molly pierceMolly, a high school senior, has been losing blocks of time for over a year and it is unclear to her what happens during these periods, and when a young man is killed in a motorcycle accident right in front of her, her life starts to unravel. As the book progresses, the mystery of Molly’s blackouts is gradually resolved, but the changing points of views and complicated time scheme – one plot strand moves forward, one backwards – can be hard to follow, though the tension builds as the plots converge.

The novel has little actual plot, and is almost entirely driven by Molly’s growing awareness and emotional development as she starts to account for her blackouts – her inner life is laid bare in considerable, sometimes unnecessary, length. The prose style can be staccato and often repetitious, going into irritating pseudo-meaningful riffs like “I live and I forget. Except now. Now I am remembering.” I’m afraid I found myself drifting through some pages without really taking much in.

However, the author has, like Molly, been through mental illness and depression and this gives Molly’s character a truth and authenticity that all the other characters lack. This, combined with the intensity and intrigue of her search to understand what is happening to her make this good for teen readers who enjoy cerebral, character-driven mysteries.

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