Review: Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral

Author: Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral
Publisher: Razerbill
Age Group: Teen
Source: Purchased
Amazon     Barnes and Noble     IndieBound
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Summary from GoodReads:

 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….

My Thoughts

I picked Chopsticks up at the Penguin warehouse sale at the beginning of November.  It’s quite a unique book as the whole story is pretty much told through photographs, ticket stubs, and a few instant messages.  It is certainly an interesting way to tell a story, but it also did not let me really get to know the different characters.

The main character is Glory Fleming, a piano prodigy.  She is an extremely talented pianist, but she is getting very frustrated with all the pressure her father places on her.  I liked Glory, but I never could connect with her like I can with characters in a book written the traditional way.  I wanted to know more about her feelings, about how she felt about being such a success, and about all the practice she must do every day.

When Glory gets a new neighbor, they become quick friends, and then soon are dating.  But when Glory’s father makes her go on a European tour and they leave for more than a year, Glory and Frank’s relationship is tested.  They both miss each other tremendously, and Glory’s father’s overprotection frustrates Glory to know end.  Again, I couldn’t really connect to Frank.  I think he was an interesting character, and I would have loved to know about him, but this type of story telling made it difficult.

There’s really not much else for me to say about Chopsticks.  It is such a quick read, and before you know it, you’ve finished the whole book.

Basically, I think this is an interesting way to tell a story, and I don’t think it is a bad way.  But it didn’t let me connect to the characters the way I like to.  If there were some chapters interspersed throughout all the photographs, letting me really know Frank and Glory, I think I would have enjoyed this  book more.  Overall, this was an interesting read, but I wouldn’t recommend buying it at full price.  See if your library has it, or if you can pick it up for a few bucks.

About Quinn

I'm a twenty-something children's librarian at a public library in Central New York. I've long left my teen years behind me, but I love to read YA and children's books. I have two adorable dogs. Ginger is a mix between a poodle and havanese, and Daphne is Bichon Frise. Other things I love: Favorite Movie: Singing in the Rain Favorite Book: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen Favorite TV Show: Monk
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4 Responses to Review: Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral

  1. I’ve had my eye on this for a while, but I think I’ll wait to catch it at the library. I think I would feel exactly like you do about the lack of character development. And that would bug me. Thanks for the review.

  2. Candice says:

    Huh… never heard about this one! I like books that are told in different ways – verse, diaries, etc. – but I agree. Sometimes you can’t connect with the characters as well as you can when they’re written in the traditional way. This one sounds really great though!

  3. Heidi says:

    Yep, I pretty much agree with you on this one. It was interesting in format, but seeing how the story was told was really more interesting than the story itself. I just thought it was kind of weird and not in a good way.

  4. Sandra says:

    This part of the synopsis was what really interested me in reading this book: “it’s up to the reader to decide what is real, what is imagined, and what has been madness all along….”
    THAT is why the characters were so hard to connect with. It took me looking back through the book to put all the pieces together and ‘get’ the ending. I agree that the format was interesting. I also think that it takes a bit of imagination to fill in some of the blanks.

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