Tiny Pieces Of Us by Nicky Pellegrino

Tiny Pieces Of Us is a heartwarming read that makes you look at life, family and the importance of connection in an entirely new light. Check out our review of Tiny Pieces of Us below ⬇️

My heart is less than 1% of my body, it weighs hardly anything; it is only a tiny piece of me, yet it is the part everyone finds most interesting.

Vivi Palmer knows what it’s like to live life carefully. Born with a heart defect, she was given a second chance after a transplant, but has never quite dared to make the most of it. Until she comes face-to-face with her donor’s mother, Grace, who wants something in return for Vivi’s second-hand heart: her help to find all the other people who have tiny pieces of her son.

Reluctantly drawn into Grace’s mission, Vivi’s journalist training takes over as one by one she tracks down a small group of strangers. As their lives intertwine Vivi finds herself with a new kind of family, and by finding out more about all the pieces that make up the many parts of her, Vivi might just discover a whole new world waiting for her…

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What did I think?

This is the kind of book you read once, but you remember forever.

Vivi Palmer knows what it means to be careful. Born with a heart defect, she’s spent her life assessing every decision before she makes it: where she eats, who she sees and how she moves about the world. It’s exhausting, and it certainly isn’t the definition of ‘being alive’. After a young boy passes away, Vivi is given a second chance at life when she receives his heart, a transplant that irrevocably changes her life in more ways than one. It’s here we’re hit with the first of many heartbreaking moments.

Grace is the mother of the 16-year old boy who becomes Vivi’s donor. After he is killed in an accident while riding his bike home, Grace makes the choice to donate his organs in the hopes that his passing will help save the lives of many others. It’s a completely selfless act that appears early on in the book and sets a tone for the kind of warmth and heartbreak that unfolds throughout the rest of the story.

We join Vivi a few years after the transplant where she is working as a journalist. While you’d think she’d be making the most of her new life, it becomes apparent that Vivi is still living very cautiously (including loving men who don’t see her value). After publishing an article that helps raise awareness for organ donations, her life once again intertwines with Grace’s when the latter contacts her.

She [Grace] thinks about the ones that have the tiny pieces of him inside of them, about the stranger that sees the world through his eyes, and most of all, the one who was gifted his brave heart.

Grace’s pain is as real and raw as the day she donated her sons organs. With a strong desire to connect with him once again, Vivi unwittingly joins Grace on the search for the men and women who have a tiny piece of her son living inside of them. Over the course of the book, we slowly meet the other donor recipients, each living their own version of a cautious life, just like Vivi. It’s through these interactions that Vivi begins to self-reflect on the choices she’s making during her ‘second-life’. We get to see so many different experiences with joy, pain, laughter and heartbreak and as a reader, you’re left with a new outlook on what it means to be alive.

The brilliance of this book comes from the characters. Vivi and Grace have been crafted with such care that you quickly take to both of them. I loved that both women are warm and complex in their own ways and the full breadth of their emotional range is explored throughout their journey. It’s easy to grieve the loss of a loved one alongside Grace, feed off Vivi’s fear as she lives day-to-day and put thought into how you’re making the most of the life you’ve been given.

Tackling the topic of organ donation with great sensitivity while creating a narrative that is both emotionally charged and character driven, Pellegrino has written a near perfect read that highlights the importance of family and living your best life.

4.5 out of 5 stars

Grab your own copy here.

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