Skip to main content

The Million Pieces of Neena Gill by Emma Smith-Barton

How can I hold myself together, when everything around me is falling apart?

Neena's always been a good girl - great grades, parent-approved friends and absolutely no boyfriends. But ever since her brother Akash left her, she's been slowly falling apart - and uncovering a new version of herself who is freer, but altogether more dangerous.

As her wild behaviour spirals more and more out of control, Neena's grip on her sanity begins to weaken too. And when her parents announce not one but two life-changing bombshells, she finally reaches breaking point.

But as Neena is about to discover, when your life falls apart, only love can piece you back together.

The Million Pieces of Neena Gill was a really interesting read.

Neena's family are strict, even more so after her brother's disappearance. She tries to be good and do as she's told but it's hard being a teenager with someone breathing down your neck especially when they regularly threaten to take the one thing you really want away from you. In this case a shot at Art School which Neena wants more than anything else.

The story initially looks at how Neena deals with this pressure. As the story continues it starts to become apparent that whilst Neena puts up a good front that actually not all is well and it becomes clear as her behaviour becomes more erratic that she isn't handling everything as she should.

For me where this book is really insightful in how it shows that mental illness is something that can creep up on you and it only takes a bad situation or a stressful period in your life to tip someone over into not being OK and actually that's OK and normal.

What I liked about it is how this book normalises the issues that Neena faces because things go really go very wrong for her but the reactions of those around her clearly show how vital support can be to help someone with a mental illness as well as being clearly that the person who is ill isn't at fault for their situation.

All in all a very thoughtful book which had a lot to say and covers the issues it wants to raise in a sensitive manner.