School Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr 9 Up-Jewel's primary concern has always been to keep her mother alive and happy throughout a constant stream of abusive boyfriends, so when her mother places her in foster care just before her 16th birthday, the teen's heart is broken. Jewel is moved through a number of homes until an English teacher at her new high school fights for some stability in her life. He knows that Jewel is smart (not only with her mouth) and he convinces her to start tutoring a fellow classmate in math. As she learns to let herself love and be loved, she goes on to touch the lives of many more around her, although not all of the personal transformation comes easily. The novel's numerous characters are candidly depicted in intimate and private moments by an omniscient narrator. A deeper understanding of Jewel is developed through her poetry, which appears at the end of many of the chapters. The author builds suspense about how Jewel will ultimately weather the traumas she's seen. There are plenty of them, and the book's greatest fault may be that it includes too many serious issues, from racism to rape. Nevertheless, The Throwaway Piece is satisfying in its conclusion.-Emily Rodriguez, Alachua County Library District, Gainesville, FL (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.