Piece of Mind has its flaws—its weakness of resolution, its underdeveloped secondary characters, its saccharine-sweet storytelling—but at its heart is the extremely captivating mind of Lucy. Lucy is such a perfect blend of sweet and dysfunctional that it's difficult not to feel endearment toward her. Her messy, scattered way of living—the result of a brain injury suffered as a child—ensures difficult relations with everyone in her circle. In some ways, Lucy is a fully-functional adult; in others she is forever locked in her three-year-old frame of mind. Despite her frailty, or perhaps because of it, Lucy is lovable. She is eccentric and electric; her friends and family love her despite her flaws. Similarly, readers may love this book in spite of its flaws, choosing instead to focus on the sweetness that is Lucy.
Without Lucy, Adelman's novel would have suffered altogether too much from contrivances that saturate the plot and secondary characters (Nate and Frank excluded) that were vapid. With Lucy, Piece of Mind did the best it could. In my opinion, that would be 3.5 stars at most. I liked Lucy and I wanted better for her, but I desired a richer story that really put Lucy through the ringer without blaming her. In a different setting, a different universe, I could've really felt some deep empathy for Lucy, a sense of human connection. Here, I merely felt an affection, similar to the way a person may feel for their pet cat. Oh, you made a mess again, you rascal! I wish you'd stop breaking all my breakables, but I don't care 'cause you're so adorable and I can't help but love you.