Today is my stop on the Eight Pieces of Silva blog tour and I’m so excited to share my review of this incredible new novel. Eight Pieces of Silva by Patrice Lawrence is a contemporary Young Adult mystery novel that follows a queer, black British teenager looking for her missing stepsister.
Sixteen-year-old Becks begins to worry when her older stepsister Silva seemingly disappears the day their parents go on honeymoon to Japan. Silva accompanied her father and Becks’ mother to the airport when they leave but fails to return to their London home. Now at home alone, Becks searches for clues in Silva’s bedroom to work out where she could be and what might have happened to her.
Eight Pieces of Silva is excellently crafted and executed. It’s a well-paced and addictive read. The story is told from Becks and Silva’s perspectives in alternating chapters. Silva’s chapters are like personal and apologetic letters to Becks. They gradually reveal Silva’s most inner thoughts, details about her private life which were oblivious to Becks and the reasons why she never came home. The story didn’t feel predictable at any point. I was pleasantly surprised to find that my main theory as to why Silva didn’t come home was proved entirely wrong.
Becks is such a funny and charming character and I immediately loved her voice. She is described as being “into girls but didn’t come out because she was never in.” It’s easy to empathise and identify with the protagonists in Eight Pieces Of Silva. Becks is tasked with finding her sister alone. She doesn’t want to interrupt her mother and new stepfather’s honeymoon by telling them that Silva is missing so she tries to put the pieces of the puzzle together herself. Understandably, Becks becomes overwhelmed and annoyed about having to deal with this mess alone. It’s understandable given that her mother and stepfather are enjoying life thousands of miles away while she is worried sick about Silva, who Becks doesn’t hear from for ages.
At first, I thought Silva was selfish for doing a disappearing act on Becks. As the novel progresses, it becomes clear how losing her mother has deeply impacted Silva. She reveals to Becks how strange and difficult it’s been for her to adapt to a new family dynamic. On the other hand, Becks isn’t entirely blameless either. She realises that she rarely asked Silva how she’s feeling or showed much of an interest in her life. The author thoughtfully portrays the complexities of dealing with loss and grief, especially as a young person. Eight Pieces of Silva also explores the intricacies of stepfamilies, or blended families, as some might call it. It made me think about familial bonds between people who aren’t related by blood and what it means to be a family.
While finding Silva is Becks’ main priority throughout the book, she also has other things on her mind. She spends a lot of time thinking about her crush and reluctantly attempts to build a relationship with her biological father who hasn’t been around since she was a baby. I like how layered this novel is and enjoyed reading about these aspects of Becks’ life. K-Pop is a significant part of this story and is almost feels like an additional character in the novel. Their love of K-Pop is one of the few things that Becks and Silva have in common. I enjoyed the K-Pop and K-Drama references and loved the Black Panther appreciation in this novel–it makes it feel current. Eight Pieces Of Silva touches on several other themes including race, class, friendship, falling in love and mental health, all of which are woven together so effortlessly that it just works.
Eight Pieces of Silva is a smart, funny and refreshing novel with many layers to peel back. It doesn’t feel like a cut and dry mystery because there’s so much more to it. It’s full of secrets, romance, queerness, loss, complicated families and pop culture references. I love everything about this novel. If you’re after a contemporary YA novel with lots of heart, meaningful commentary and a loveable black, gay female protagonist then look no further.
My rating: 9/10
Eight Pieces of Silva by Patrice Lawrence is out 6th August 2020.
Do check out the other stops on the blog tour. Thank you to Hachette Children’s Group and NetGalley for gifting me with an early copy of this book.