Book Review: The Half Life of Molly Pierce

The Half Life of Molly Pierce
By: Katrina Leno
Published by: HarperTeen
Release date: July 8, 2014
Genre: YA suspense
256 pages
Source: ARC kindly provided by publisher

I went into this book not knowing exactly what to expect, and I think that actually enhanced my reading experience. If you're already interested in this book, I'm encouraging you to stop reading reviews and summaries, and just dive right in. The discovery is enjoyable; don't short-change yourself by spoiling it.

Molly Pierce is an eldest child of two booksellers. Her parents, as is usual in YA, are largely absent; they spend most of their time running their store. In light of what's going on with Molly, the absence of parental guidance bugs me. I can't imagine, as a mother, having a child in Molly's situation and not being present as much as humanly possible. 

Beyond that one gripe, I love this book. Molly describes a crushing loneliness, despite two siblings, two best friends, and several other characters who keep in close contact. Her journey of self-discovery is different from that of most teens, and yet all of us experience bits and pieces of her story. It's also very useful to see her find that, though her situation is unique, she shares feelings and experiences with many of the other characters as well.

Thank you, Katrina Leno, for portraying a mental health professional in a positive light. I get weary of reading about characters who either refuse to seek mental health care or dislike their counselor/therapist. Mental health care is an issue that needs to be more comprehensively and seriously addressed, and writing about it in a constructive way is a great place to start.


You take it for granted. Waking up. Going to school, talking to your friends. Watching a show on television or reading a book or going out to lunch.

You take for granted going to sleep at night, getting up the next day, and remembering everything that happened to you before you closed your eyes.

You live and you remember.

Me, I live and I forget.

But now—now I am remembering. 

For all of her seventeen years, Molly feels like she’s missed bits and pieces of her life. Now, she’s figuring out why. Now, she’s remembering her own secrets. And in doing so, Molly uncovers the separate life she seems to have led…and the love that she can’t let go.

The Half Life of Molly Pierce is a suspenseful, evocative psychological mystery about uncovering the secrets of our pasts, facing the unknowns of our futures, and accepting our whole selves.


  1. I finished this book last week and loved it as well! I honestly felt like I could feel the things that Molly felt and I shared her confusion throughout the first part of the book when things were starting to get weird.

    - Ellie of The Reading Slump

    1. I agree; those early scenes were especially well-written.


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