Chopsticks – Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral

So, I was walking by the YA shelf at work the other day, and I happened across this book. I’d seen the cover before, but what instantly caught my attention about it was its size. Not it’s length, but it’s width. It’s a rather large book compared to most typical YA novels! So I picked it up and glanced at it, and saw that, wow! It was all pictures, or letters, or IM conversations, etc.

So I kept it with me, and took it home to read. What an interesting book!

The story is of a piano prodigy that falls in love with an Argentian immigrant…her father does not like him, and tries to force them apart, ultimately resulting in the girl going mad, playing nothing but Chopsticks on the piano. She ends up in a “resting home” for piano prodigies, but one day goes missing.

I’ve heard this book referred to as a graphic novel, and I guess that technically it is, but I wouldn’t classify it that way. It’s just a story told through a scrapbook, almost. There are bits of writing, school letters, postcards, and photo albums. But it is mostly a book in images, and that’s really cool. You are left to piece a lot of the details together, which is kind of neat. And it’s fun seeing what artifacts from these lives are laid out. But, really, it’s the style of the story that makes it so fascinating. I’ve never seen a book like this before, and while I definitely would not want to do most of my reading this way, it’s really neat to experience a story in a different format every once in a while.

It’s not a perfect book. Even though there isn’t much text in the book, there were a few mistakes I noticed, and a lot of the writing of the school letters, etc., seemed fairly fake to me. I knew these things were created, and not actually pulled from someone’s life. The story is also a little overdramatic…the success-obsessed father who refuses to let his daughter date the one she loves…the boy who fails everything in school except for art, which he excels at…these things can be a little annoying at times, but they don’t ruin the book. Again, the main reason to read this book is simply to have a unique reading experience. And, all in all, I liked the story, too. I thought the relationship was cute and sweet, and I liked how the book ended.

Definitely worth a look!


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