Do you recall me stating that I absolutely do not read Young Adult (YA) novels? I am constantly saying how glad I am that I catalog the YA books, since I’m never tempted to put one on hold. Despite having read many YA books and writing a few posts for the blog on said books I am still adamant: I am not a YA reader. No sir, no way, no how.
It turns out I’m a liar.
I was all set to write a blog post about a spy story when Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral came across my desk. The first thing that caught my eye was the grin-inducing photo on the cover of a young couple nearly kissing. Nearly kissing can be more romantic than actually kissing, as any romance reader will tell you. I then noticed that this book was a bit larger than other YA books and seemed to have a lot of illustrations. I had to crack the book open in order to catalog it, and when I did I was blown away…
Chopsticks is a different type of novel. Instead of telling a story solely through words, whether prose or verse, this book uses a mixture of photos, art, newspaper clippings, chat sessions, and brief captions to tell the story of Gloria “Glory” Fleming. After losing her mom in a motorcycle accident when she was 10, Glory’s father Victor, a piano instructor, helps her focus her talent and she soon becomes a world-renown piano virtuoso. She is able to combine classical pieces with contemporary works, even throwing in a rendition of the children’s waltz Chopsticks. The crowds love her. Her father loves her. Her world is seemingly pleasant.
Then Frank Mendoza moves in next door and her whole world changes.
Glory’s story suddenly becomes Glory and Frank’s story. As their romance blossoms, Frank’s school performance plummets and Glory finds herself playing Chopsticks more and more often…and then Glory disappears. It’s up to us, as readers, to deconstruct what exactly happened and figure out what became of Glory, Frank, and the music they made together.
I want to tell you more, but it’s best if you check out a copy and figure it out for yourself. This book is light on words and only takes about a half hour to read cover-to-cover…so really there’s no excuse not to explore Glory’s world.
Now if I could just get that waltz out of my head…and learn to ignore labels like “YA” and focus on the stories instead.