Review: Chopsticks

Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral

Release Date ~ February 2, 2012
Razorbill ~ Penguin
ISBN13: 9781595144355
Finished copy received at Raz0rbill Canada Launch Party
Goodreads Synopsis:
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 readers flash back to the events leading up to her disappearance, they see a girl on the precipice of disaster.

Chopsticks is a completely unique book- it stands alone and proud as the single YA picture book that I'm aware of. At 272 pages (LARGE pages at that) I knew it would be a quick read; but the fact that the whole story takes place using photography and strategic notes and words makes it much faster. You can easily flip through this one in an hour or so, but when I read it I actually ended up going BACK and looking over some sections of it again trying to piece the story together.
There is no other way to describe this book than absolutely intriguing and fascinating.
  1. Unique experience:
    I can't stress this enough, but reading Chopsticks was a totally different experience from reading other  YA books. It's a very interesting contemporary read, with plenty of mystery mixed in as well but since there's no narrator (and very, very few words) it's up to the reader to piece together as much of the story as you can just from what you see on the pages. I spent a fair amount of time (over)analyzing the pages in hopes that I could figure out what had happened to Glory when she went missing.
  2. BEAUTIFUL images:
    The photography is stunning and the strategic use of imagery is impeccable. Clearly, there was so much thought that went into this book and planning to drop little hints and lead you in one direction along the way. It really is very enjoyable just to flip through, and I'm so happy to have a gorgeous finished copy for my collection just because it is so different and I like looking through it at times. It's a work of art, in the same way that some illustrated books are art as well- this is just a different kind.
  3. A shocking conclusion:
    I was able to figure out some of the twists in the ending, and I was correct about those, but by the time I got to the last page and things really started to fall into place I had to go back and look at the previous pages from before. And then I noticed all the subtle things I had missed, and then everything made so much sense! It was a pretty big shocker for me though.
Yet at the same time, the ending was left pretty open. Nothing really becomes clear as to exactly how the events transpired and you're left questioning how much of what you saw in the book was reality. It's a real psychological read, but I wasn't completely satisfied with the ending. Probably because even now, just thinking about it makes my brain go into overdrive trying to solve the mystery.
Also, I can really see how the story could be very confusing since there isn't a narrative to follow. It won't be the perfect read for everyone because of that, but if you're curious about it all then I really recommend that you take a look at this one.

buy the book from The Book Depository, free delivery


Angkarina said...

Normally, I don't really like contemporary books, but I like the idea of a book with (almost) only pictures. I read "Extremely loud and incredibly close" a few days ago and I was really pleased with this 'picture book'.

bookworm105 said...

O-M-G! love the trailer! I'm going to add this on my TB pile!

Lisa@Read.Breathe.Relax. said...

Random! I JUST read Chopsticks myself! I came away with almost the same thoughts as you - I loved it! It was so beautiful and moving.

Maybe we should chat offline because I'm dying to find out how other people think the book ended. I felt like there was a conclusion...but not really. Agh!

Great review!

Christina Kit. said...

This one does sound very unique! I haven't really experimented with other types of narratives - I did like Love and Leftover by Sarah Tregay with was in free verse, but there of course you had a narrator and a POV.

Not only does this sound like it's incredibly artistic and visually appealing but I guess you also come out of it feeling like a detective of sorts, trying to piece together the mystery. I guess when you're on the outside looking into a character's or person's life and any kind of event that happened, you only have notes and photos to glean info from. In this sense, I guess Chopsticks reversed the reading experience. You don't get to see inside someone's mind, you get to feel like one of the characters left behind.

I hope it ends well, and how great to have a bit of an art exhibition within a story you love:)

Thanks for the review!

The fact that you're still thinking about it and admiring it really is a testament to how talented these storytellers are:)

ccfioriole at gmail dot com

Sara (of The Page Sage) said...

I saw this in Barnes and Noble and was surprised. It's such an innovative format! Thanks for the great review- I'm definitely going to give this a try!

Lexie said...

You know, while I suspect this one may confuse me a fair amount, I still want to read it. Because, well . . . a) PRETTY PICTURES! I saw a final copy and it's absolutely stunning, and b) I just love how unique the concept is. I've never seen anything like this before.

Really lovely review. :D


ChristasBooks said...

This book sounds so interesting but I'm still not sure it's my cup of tea. Seems like one I would want to borrow before buying for myself. Although when I;ve flipped through it - the pictures do look gorgeous

Janiera said...

Hmmm this sounds very interesting but I don't know if I could read it because it has pictured and I just don't like that in my YA books. I'm also not a fan of contemporary so I dunno. Thanks for the wonderful review!

Kat C @ Books and Sensibility said...

I saw this book in the stores and I flipped through it and I have to admit, I was intimidated. I'll have to be in the right mood to try this one out some day.

Angkarina said...

Forgot my email address again...

angkarina_angkasuwan at hotmail dot com

Stella Chen said...

I've seen this book in other bloggers' IMMs and it looks beautiful! I love the trailer for it and I think your review is amazing!

Stella Chen said...

Oops. Forgot my email:

franchie15 said...

I saw this book before already. I just love the cover. Also, the title is catching. Of all words, why Chopsticks right? Anyway, I love these types of YA novels. The ones that make your head go crazy! But I was kind of curious why there's no narrator! I think I'll see it for myself. Thanks for a nice and honest review! :)


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