The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno
Release Date: July 8th 2014
Purchased from Barnes & Noble
“You get up. You have your day. You go to sleep.
You remember everything you did.
This is normal.
We live and we remember.
You live and you remember.
Me, I live and I forget.
Now I am remembering.” (Leno, 126)
Molly Pierce is a seventeen year old high school student living in Massachusetts. After she accidentally admitted that she thinks the world may just be better off without her, her parents took her to a psychiatrist. Now she receives treatment for depression, but lately she’s been experiencing something strange. Several times she has “woken up” somewhere new without any recollection of how she got there or what she had been doing in the hours leading up to that moment. For example, she could be at school in fourth period when suddenly she’ll wake up in her car on the highway without knowing how she got there or what she was doing in that time between when she was in school and when she got into her car. While this does scare her, she doesn’t tell anyone about it because she is worried that her family and friends will think she’s crazy. One day, she’s driving on the road when suddenly a motorcyclist gets hit by a truck as he was weaving through traffic trying to catch up to her car. Though she thinks that she’s never seen him before, she can’t shake this feeling that she knows him somehow. Even though she never told him her name, in his last moments he says to her, “Molly, please. Don’t leave me.” After his death, she slowly begins to remember instances from her past and the truth of why she lived in moments of darkness gets revealed.
I am a huge fan of books that have protagonists which suffer from some kind of psychological illness, and this is because I think that there is so much potential for an interesting story when you have such a character. The Half Life of Molly Pierce is a prime example of that. Molly’s story is powerful and haunting, and reading this book is like slowly putting together an unfinished puzzle. Even though the characters are not very unique and the relationships between Molly and other characters are not very strong , the beautifully complex story line makes up for this. Anyways, I think it would be safe to say that the main focus of the book is not the other characters, but Molly’s inner struggle and the rediscovery of her past.
While the book started off a little slow, it did eventually pick up. There are no clear “love interests” in this novel. Although, Molly does have relationships with two different characters, but the relationships are too complicated for me to go into detail about without spoiling the book.
One of the things that makes The Half Life of Molly Pierce stand out as a novel is the unique writing style. While some people may find the short sentence structure somewhat tedious, I did not. In my opinion, the writing style helps to shape Molly’s voice as a character, and I thought it was interesting how the sentence and paragraph structure seem to mimic people’s thought patterns. Although, I’ll admit that the short dialogue between the characters did annoy me sometimes (especially the conversations between Molly and her siblings, which might have been meaningful and emotional had they not been so short and choppy).
Overall, I would have to say that The Half Life of Molly Pierce was definitely worth reading, and I’m eager to see what more Katrina Leno has in store for her readers.
Have you read The Half Life of Molly Pierce, or any other good YA novels which have a protagonist that suffers from a mental illness? Let me know in the comments section!