⇒Featuring love, family and anxiety
The Million Pieces of Neena Gill is a heart wrenching and poignant story that brings together anxiety, romance, cultural struggles and loss in the modern day.
I’ve never read a book with a main character that struggles with psychosis, and so this book is a much-needed addition to mental health YA, but it’s so much more than that. What can I say, Emma Smith Barton’s debut novel absolutely blew me away. I read the whole thing in two days, and my brain was wracked full of concern, confusion and love for this stunningly painful book.
The book is told in first person from Neena’s point of view, and so we are inside her head as she has a psychotic episode. This is an absolutely harrowing experience that is impossible to explain. We quickly release that Neena is an unreliable narrator – forgetting things and making up new memories in their place, hallucinating and believing the world is out to get her – but there is nothing we can do. The writer does this perfectly, portraying confusion and surety in the same sentence. The writing style was breathtaking and beautiful.
How can I hold myself together, when everything around me is falling apart?
Neena is an engaging and relatable protagonist who I rooted for throughout all her struggles.
The Million Pieces of Neena Gill addresses many important issues, one being the way cultural pressure can impact mental health. Neena is British-Pakistani and lives in a modern Western society with her traditional and strict parents. These issues are all depicted in a sensitive and yet eye-opening way.
The plot was well paced and perfectly structured. The storyline had me gasping and crying, and I could barely put the book down. This story was raw and real and I am so happy I read it.
This book was a roller coaster of emotions that I really would recommend to all lovers of deeper contemporary YA. It’s beautiful, poignant and important, and I really hope that Neena’s is a voice that is heard.