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Chopsticks Paperback – February 2, 2012
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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"Spellbinding and inventive, this title will attract teens and compel them to reread and revisit each clue to the hauntingly ambiguous ending." — School Library Journal, starred review
"...seeing deceits and red herrings laid bare in photographs and documents, rather than reading about them, makes the book’s punches hit hard." — Publishers Weekly
"Eerie and edgy—and effective as Poe." — Kirkus
"Like the young artistic love it describes, Chopsticks is beautiful and strange and haunting. The story’s crooked path is made luminous by its extraordinary images." — Junot Diaz
"Reading Chopsticks is like watching people kiss in the street: it’s private, it’s beautiful, it’s lonely, it’s wild, it’s secret, it’s everywhere and you can’t look away." — Daniel Handler, author of Why We Broke Up
Glory is a piano prodigy.
After her mother died, she retreated into her music. Her father raised her with the goal of playing sold out shows at Carnegie Hall and across the globe. Brilliant and lonely, Glory is drawn to Frank, who moves in next door. She loses herself in his paintings and drawings, mix CD’s and late-night IM conversations. Soon, Frank becomes both her connection to the world--and her escape from reality.
Before long, Glory is unable to play anything but the song “Chopsticks”; F and G notes moving closer together, and farther apart.
Now, Glory has disappeared. But nothing is what it seems. And we must decide what is real, what is imagined, and what has been madness all along.
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When I finished reading this book, I felt largely confused still, and talking to Sofia about it made me feel like I really didn't understand the book at all. But then I read the book blurb again, and I think that we just understood the book differently, and that's actually perfectly okay. I completely understand how she reached the conclusion that she did, but I think I saw something in the pictures she didn't which led to my different interpretation.
So basically, I think the whole love story was entirely a figment of Glory's imagination during a psychotic break. My evidence (because that's important for a claim of this magnitude), the facility Glory is admitted to has the same address and logo as her supposed boyfriend's school, and the chief administrator's name is the same as the founder of the school for boys (which her boyfriend is supposed to attend.) Additionally, pictures that are supposed to have come from Frank (her boyfriend), are shown with Glory's signature at the end of the book.
So Sofia basically read a love story of a troubled piano prodigy, while I got to experience a psychotic break with Glory. I think I actually prefer to be on my end of that (which may be part of why it was my experience in the first place.)
I'm not really sure how to rate this book though, because for me it was neither good nor bad, and as it was mostly pictures, there isn't really a story arc to talk about (especially since I'm still not even sure if I understood what the pictures were supposed to be conveying. Seriously, even with my evidence, I'm not sure my reality is really real.) So I'm going to call this 3 out of 5 stars because it was just middle of the road, although I am still thinking about it over a month later, so I guess that should count for something, maybe.
The story is told in photographs, instant messenger, newspaper clippings, and brief quotes. The photos can be of places, letters, drawings, and people. It was a unique format that could have confused or distanced me as the reader, but the team who put this book together did it in a way that I found compelling and touching.
The story opens with a background of Glory's life. Her parents getting together, their happy family, her mother's death, and her music teacher father molding her into a child prodigy pianist. Her life is structured and sterile.
All this changes when the house next door sells and Frank's family moves in. Frank and his family are immigrants. He struggles in the American school. He has an artistic soul and struggles with academics and athletics. He and Glory connect and grow a friendship and more. She shares her music and he shares his art. The two lonely souls have found a kindred spirit.
But Glory's father is driven and he cuts Frank out of her life. They go on a European tour. Glory is at a loss without Frank. They try to keep contact even as her dad works to control her even more. Glory slowly disintegrates and her music leaves her. Frank is making plans to go back home to South America begging Gloria to join him.
However, if the reader is paying attention, there is a whole lot more going on. Darker matters are in play. Did anything happen the way the reader is led to believe? The clues are there, but the reader is left wondering what is true and what really happened in this open-ended story.
Once in a while, I look for something different. I enjoyed how each picture said so much without words. I guess it is not a traditional graphic novel, but I enjoyed it. I would recommend it for those who might want to try a YA Contemporary Romance in pictures and messages.
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You just blew my mind. I had no idea what you were when I picked you up at the library.Read more