Thursday, April 19, 2012
Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral
After her mother died, Glory retreated into herself and her music. Her single father raised her as a piano prodigy, with a rigid schedule and the goal of playing sold-out shows across the globe. Now, as a teenager, Glory has disappeared. As we flash back to the events leading up to her disappearance, we see a girl on the precipice of disaster. Brilliant and lonely, Glory is drawn to an artistic new boy, Frank, who moves in next door. The farther she falls, the deeper she spirals into madness. Before long, Glory is unable to play anything but the song "Chopsticks."
But nothing is what it seems, and Glory's reality is not reality at all. In this stunningly moving novel told in photographs, pictures, and words, it's up to the reader to decide what is real, what is imagined, and what has been madness all along....
Told by images and screenshots rather than by words, Chopsticks is certainly a unique read, and that's both its strength and weakness.
The story-through-pictures format of Chopsticks is honestly, undoubtedly really cool. The pictures are really rather vivid and clear, which makes it easy and fun to check out their details. Glory's story would be interesting if told in a traditional format, but I think this book's set-up allowed it to be even better because of the holes it leaves. I rather enjoyed following the story and piecing together what happened, especially as Glory's music takes over her life and she becomes more unstable because of it. However, the holes also have a downside. There were just some parts of the story I couldn't rationally fill in, mainly about the character motivations-- why did Frank and Glory's relationship progress so quickly, why was Frank such a jerk, etc. I just couldn't figure it out through the images, which prevented from completely connecting with the characters and enjoying the book completely.
There's also a website and app component to this story; the website doesn't add much to the novel itself, but it's cool to use a preview of sorts. I haven't checked out the app but I'm sure it makes the story more enjoyable, especially since there's sometimes links included in the screenshots of Frank and Glory's IM conversations and other ways to connect the story to the internet.
Chopsticks can be occasionally hard to figure out and therefore it's easy to feel detached while reading, but it's still got a wonderfully unique, beautiful way to tell its intense story.
Book details: Razorbill/Paperback/$19.99
Source: sent by publisher for review