By: Celine | July 2, 2014 | (20) Comments

Review: The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina LenoThe Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno
Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date: July 8th, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, YA
Pages: 256
Source: Received in exchange for review
Goodreads | Purchase

You take it for granted. Waking up. Going to school, talking to your friends. Watching a show on television or reading a book or going out to lunch.

You take for granted going to sleep at night, getting up the next day, and remembering everything that happened to you before you closed your eyes.

You live and you remember.

Me, I live and I forget.

But now—now I am remembering.

For all of her seventeen years, Molly feels like she’s missed bits and pieces of her life. Now, she’s figuring out why. Now, she’s remembering her own secrets. And in doing so, Molly uncovers the separate life she seems to have led…and the love that she can’t let go.

The Half Life of Molly Pierce is a suspenseful, evocative psychological mystery about uncovering the secrets of our pasts, facing the unknowns of our futures, and accepting our whole selves.

I had no idea what to expect upon starting The Half Life of Molly Pierce. I had a vague idea about a girl who can’t remember parts of her life, but it turned out to be much more than that. Molly Pierce (sorry, I don’t feel like typing out the title every time) is a story that covers a lot: it goes over friendship, depression, accepting yourself.

What I really enjoyed about Molly Pierce was its openmindedness. It features a psychiatrist, and he’s only ever seen in a positive light. Molly Pierce refusues to participate in any of the stigmas and stereotypes that surround mental illness and everyone involved. Instead, it describes everything verying from neutral to positive. I’m really glad this book did that and didn’t make Alex, the psychiatrist, out to be some kind of antagonist. Alex is important and really helps Molly with everything. She trusts him, and I’m just so glad this side of it all is portrayed in The Half Life of Molly Pierce. Usually, the “shrinks” are seen as bad people, people who only want to make money or people who don’t really listen and treat others like they’re irresponsible kids. None of this in Molly Pierce, and (this is the last time I’ll say it, promise) I’m just really glad.

The Half Life of Molly Pierce is a difficult book to review, because I’m not quite sure what’s considered spoiler and what isn’t. I think it would be for the best if you go into Molly Pierce with almost no knowledge of the story, like I did. I had no idea what to expect, and I think that was a positive influence on my experience, overall. The twist was certainly unexpected. I wondered how the author was going to explain certain things, but she did so in a convincing way. The twist itself was quite brilliantly revealed, and despite this being her debut the author portrayed some definite skill.

In fact, the whole book was skillfully written. The book was written in stream-of-consciousness style, which could have meant a problem. I have a love-hate relationship with stream of consciousness, but Leno definitely pulled it off, and I can see other readers who aren’t a fan of stream of consciousness enjoying this as well. The way the book is written felt very natural and fit it very well. There were also quite a few passages that showed some lovely writing, and left me hoping this wouldn’t be Leno’s last novel.

Overall, I think The Half Life of Molly Pierce is rather excellent. It sports an open mind and will offer the reader new insights in certain topics. Leno’s prose fit the novel perfectly, and is easy to read. Combine that with the length of this novel – only 256 pages – and I breezed through this. I also think this is a novel anyone with an open mind and anyone having some kind of connection with metal illness should read. The story is very hopeful and makes a point of accepting yourself, and for some it just may mean a push in the right direction.

~Thank you HarperTeen for sending me a review copy!~

4 Stars
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Celine is 17 years old and from the Netherlands. Quite obviously, she loves books! She has been a reader for as long as she can remember, and she believes she will be a reader forever. Celine is also obsessed with food, and loves singing along to music as loud as possible, dancing and doodling on nearly everything.

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20 Responses to Review: The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno

  1. Zoe N. says:

    YES! I too was really impressed with this one Celine, and I’m glad you were too! 🙂 I so agree about what you said about Alex. Too often are therapists shown in a negative light, so it’s really great to see a different perspective here. 🙂

    Stream of consciousness writing is often hit-or-miss with me as well. It really depends on the author’s skill level and how they interpret it. I definitely agree in feeling that Leno did a commendable job with her writing! 😀

    I SO get where you’re coming from in terms of this book being hard to review – and you hit the nail on the head with your “I’m not quite sure what’s considered spoiler and what isn’t” statement. Nonetheless, I think you did a commendable job with your review! Thanks for sharing, and, as always, BRILLIANT review! <3
    Zoe N. recently posted…The Half Life of Molly PierceMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      I definitely liked it more than I thought I would! I’m so glad Alex was portrayed positively, because that’s a thing that’s missing in YA 🙂

      I’m glad you liked it as well! I see you’ve just reviewed it as well, so I’ll now stalk your blog for a bit, haha. Thank you, Zoe!!

  2. I want to try this! (Also because Zoe ^^ up there loved it and I usually love what Zoe loves.) SO THERE IS THAT. I like it when books turn stereotypes on their heads! And so often the “counsellor” or whatnot is like the person who makes life worse. Which is odd. I wonder who even decided that stereotype?? Love the review and you got me. I want to read this. X)
    Cait @ Notebook Sisters recently posted…Notebook Sisters Approved: Nice Parental UnitsMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      It’s really quite good! I hope you like it 🙂 And yes, I love it when books ignore stereotypes. Molly Pierce was pretty good at doing just that 🙂

      Thank youu, Cait 😀

  3. Wow! This book sounds really interesting. Mental illness has affected people close to me, but I have never really read much that covers the issue. I’m definitely going to have to check this book out… it sounds really interesting. Thanks for the lovely review!
    Alex from Electrifying Reviews recently posted…Wake by Amanda HockingMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      I really hope you’ll love it! It appears that there aren’t a lot of books about mental health, which makes me even happier that a book like The Half Life of Molly Pierce exists.

      Thank YOU for stopping by 🙂

  4. I like books with twists, and seeing that you had a hard time reviewing it without giving us spoilers is a good sign. Will the twist blow me away? Like mindfuckery way? I think I will like this book! Fantastic review, Celine!
    Dre @ Sporadic Reads recently posted…Review 182 : Graceling by Kristine CashoreMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      Well, I guess if you manage to guess it early on you won’t be all THAT impressed, but I didn’t and definitely had an “oh, shit”-moment, haha. Thank you, Dre! <33

  5. I have a copy of this one and I am looking forward to checking it out now after reading your review. I like that it has a positive message.
    Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings recently posted…Review: Don’t Talk To Strangers(Keye Street #3) by Amanda Kyle WilliamsMy Profile

  6. EEEEP, I’m so happy you enjoyed this, Celine! I actually just reviewed and rated it four stars as well, and asdjkfl it was just so unexpected in a totally good way. I know what you mean about its open-mindedness. Like you said, shrinks are mostly portrayed as nosy and incompetent old men who only want money while they listen to their clients talk, so I was pleasantly surprised when Alex turned out to play a pretty crucial role in the story. It was a refreshing change.

    Yeah, I think how much a person enjoys a book fully depends on whether or not they managed to guess the twist at the end. I didn’t, because I had no knowledge of the subject before reading this, but I know someone who did manage to figure it out and well, it definitely took away some of the shock.

    The writing style was actually my favorite part! I just loved how genuine it made Molly sound — it really drove home her confusion and feelings with everything around her and made me connect with her more. I know this kind of writing probably won’t work for everyone though, and it probably wouldn’t have worked out for me either if it was in a different book altogether.

    Looking forward to more from Leno, for sure! Lovely review, girl, and again, so glad that you liked this. 😀
    Megan (Adrift on Vulcan) recently posted…Oh, You Beautiful Book: The Half Life of Molly Pierce, Katrina LenoMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      I do think you’re right! I can definitely imagine this book might be less impressive if you guessed the twist. Like you, I had no experience with the subject so I didn’t guess it.

      I thought the writing was so incredibly fitting for Molly! It just felt right for her. Like you said, the confusion and feelings were reflected in the writing and I think this is the style that fits the book best.

      I’m glad you liked this one too! I feel like not many people know this one and it definitely deserves some hype 🙂

      Thanks for the lovely comment, Megan <33

  7. Tanja says:

    I have heard of this one but I had no idea it was this good. I love books that deal with issues and this one seems to be doing it nicely. I love when there are some unexpected twists in the book too. It seems to I will have to read this one soon. Great review, Celine 🙂
    Tanja recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday (#102)My Profile

  8. Veronika says:

    I’m really looking forward to this book, it sounds really great and you review just confined me in reading it. Recently, I’ve started to love books about mental-illness so this sounds like my kind of read. 🙂 Great review.
    Veronika recently posted…June Wrap Up and Books I’ll Definitely Read in JulyMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      Yay! It always makes me happy when people are going to read something because of me 😀 (And also a little nervous, haha)

      If you love mental-illness books, I think you’ll really enjoy this one 🙂 Thank you!

  9. Chelsea B. says:

    The blurb had me at, “…psychological mystery” Ohhhh! LOVE those! I like what you said about the book being open minded. I am very much looking forward to reading it! This is the first I’m hearing of this book!

    • Celine says:

      The Half Life of Molly Pierce hasn’t gotten a lot of hype, I’m sad to say. But I really hope you’ll check it out and that you’ll love it, of course 🙂

  10. Siiri says:

    This one seems so intriguing and mysterious. I’m glad the writing suited so well for you. Heh. Seems like the spoilers (what is and what’s not) thing is the same as with We Were Liars. I don’t know if you can really talk about that one without spoiling people. Yay that this short read managed to impress you so much 🙂 Great review, Celine!
    Siiri recently posted…Mini-reviews: This Girl and Finding Cinderella by Colleen HooverMy Profile

    • Celine says:

      Oh, yes, We Were Liars is one of those other books you just can’t say anything about. I mean, seriously! Pretty much everything is a spoiler, haha. And intruiging and mysterious this one certainly was 🙂

      Thank you, Siiri <33

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