Tuesday, December 13, 2011

High School Pick: Chopsticks

Watch the video here

by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral
304 pages with illustrations and photos

Available 2/2/12

from the back cover: "A fully interactive electronic version of Chopsticks with music and video will be published simultaneously and sold separately."

Truly unique, this is a novel approach to storytelling, and Chopsticks is a different kind of ya experience--part novel, part photo album, part art portfolio, and part love song, this teen-age love story will tug at the heart-strings.

As the novel opens, we learn that Gloria Fleming is missing. She has walked away from the "hospital" her father placed her in. Television newscasts are having a field day.

Flashback 18 months before: Glory is a musical prodigy--by age fourteen she is playing sold-out shows in New York. Reviewers compare her to piano greats and her father is planning a world tour. Glory misses her mother but puts all her energy and grief into her music until she meets Frank, a new student from Argentina. Suddenly, music and touring are not that important anymore.

Frank is creative and passionate about his art and Glory falls hard for him. When she leaves to tour Europe, Glory has trouble focusing. Suddenly, she can't play the piano anymore. At a concert, she begins playing "Chopsticks"--her and Frank's song--the audience holds its breath. Her father is at first embarrassed, then angry. She is falling apart.

Glory is admitted into a "facility"--Golden Hands Rest Facility is an institution for musical prodigies in New York. Her grasp on reality is frail and Frank continues to try to reach her. When he returns home to Argentina, Glory makes her move.

The reader has to glean clues from the photos, news clippings, Frank's drawings, piano programs, instant messages, and illustrations. The novel ends with Glory missing, and the reader assumes she is on her way to Argentina to see Frank. Did she have a "breakdown" or has the hospital made her crazy? Will she be able to function in the outside world?

My seventeen year old daughter read this novel first and loved it. I read it next and we talked it over. What I thought happened was a very different view of what my daughter thought happened. That's the fun of this novel--teen readers will have very different opinions of Glory--is she crazy? or is the world crazy?

Highly recommended grades 9-up. Mature situations and Frank draws an artistic picture of a nude Gloria--it's more artsy than graphic.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this novel from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

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