Chopsticks

Chopsticks

4.2 7
by Jessica Anthony
     
 

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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 we flash back to the events leading up to her disappearance, we see a girl on the precipice of disaster. Brilliant and lonely,

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Overview

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 we flash back to the events leading up to her disappearance, we see a girl on the precipice of disaster. Brilliant and lonely, Glory is drawn to an artistic new boy, Frank, who moves in next door. The farther she falls, the deeper she spirals into madness. Before long, Glory is unable to play anything but the song "Chopsticks."

But nothing is what it seems, and Glory's reality is not reality at all. In this stunningly moving novel told in photographs, pictures, and words, it's up to the reader to decide what is real, what is imagined, and what has been madness all along....

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Prominent book designer Corral and adult author Anthony (The Convalescent) chronicle the descent of a teenage piano prodigy, telling her story completely through photographs, IM conversations, news clippings, and artwork. Seventeen-year-old Glory Fleming has been playing piano since age seven, but something happened to her mother sometime after Glory’s first recital (Glory and her father’s “Merry Christmas 2000” holiday card, seen in a scrapbook, offers thanks “for your support during this difficult year”). Years later, Glory’s star is on the rise—ads and brochures show her playing major venues worldwide—but there are also signs that she’s cracking under the pressure, including her growing obsession with the waltz “Chopsticks.” When an Argentinean boy, Frank Mendoza, moves in next door, a passionate romance ignites. That’s how it looks, anyway; small visual details slowly allow another narrative to develop. Unreliable narrators are a staple of literature, yet seeing deceits and red herrings laid bare in photographs and documents, rather than reading about them, makes the book’s punches hit hard. An electronic version of the book, with audio and video, will be available simultaneously. Ages 14–up. Agent: Sterling Lord Literistic. (Feb.)
Junot Diaz

"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."
Daniel Handler

"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."
From the Publisher
"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

VOYA - Jennifer Rummel
Glory is a world famous pianist who has gone missing. The story begins after the news coverage of her disappearance. Glory had a happy childhood, until her mother died. Then she becomes absorbed in playing the piano—driven by her father. Her days are extraordinarily busy with practice hours and tutoring. Her schedule makes time for an outside hour and one free hour per day. When a boy moves in next door, things start to change for Glory. She and Frank find happiness together and a way to escape the unhappiness of their worlds. Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral collaborate on this unique book. Told through images, photos, newspaper clippings, drawings, text messages, post cards and other mediums, this book tells an amazing story in surprising detail. Chopsticks makes you think and look closely at the text and other mediums used to tell the story. Some of the photos seem random, but they are not. Each tells part of the story. It is a quick but thought-provoking read that reflects the ages of the characters. Overall, it is a book that teens will be talking about and sharing. Reviewer: Jennifer Rummel
Children's Literature - Michael Jung PhD
Glory Fleming is a teenage piano prodigy whose life has been measured by endless recitals and lonely nights in hotel rooms ever since her mother died and her father began forcing her to play sold-out shows in concert halls around the world. Frank Mendoza is Glory's next door neighbor who has experienced nothing but discrimination and hatred from the teachers and students at his new school. But when Glory invites Frank to come for a visit, these two form a special bond that soon blossoms into love. As Glory's new concert tour threatens her relationship with Frank, however, she begins developing a strange condition that leaves her unable to play anything but the song "Chopsticks." Eventually institutionalized, Glory's strange behavior leaves her father and fans baffled. But is Glory's malady really what it seems? While presented as a young adult novel, Chopsticks is even more memorable as a piece of abstract artwork. Every page is filled not with lengthy sections of prose, but personal photographs, newspaper clippings, letters of reprimand, expletive-filled hate notes, sketches, poems, and even images of IM conversations between Glory and Frank. Like a detective assembling bits of evidence, readers must connect these pieces to discover the real story of the two teenagers—and the truth behind Glory's breakdown. It is a mesmerizing, almost voyeuristically beautiful form of storytelling that requires its audience to exercise reading strategies seldom required in most prose novels. Reviewer: Michael Jung, PhD
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Told almost entirely through images, this intriguing mystery reveals the events leading up to the disappearance of Glory, a teenage piano prodigy who goes missing after her struggle with mental illness, which causes her to play the children's waltz "Chopsticks" obsessively. Photographs, ephemera, and instant-message screenshots weave together the details of a forbidden romance with Francisco, the boy next door, and a stunningly executed twist ending leads readers to question what they believe to be true. Artfully faded and discolored images are atmospheric, and repeated motifs of sea creatures, dandelions, and wine bottles pique readers' curiosity. Reluctant readers who prefer images over text will be drawn to this title, though it's not necessarily a quick read. The story requires a sophisticated visual literacy, and each carefully crafted image deserves to be lingered over as part of a fascinating puzzle. An example of the emerging trend of transmedia storytelling, this book will also be available in a "fully interactive electronic version." The inclusion of links to online media requires Internet access and a willingness to type cumbersome URLs, but the content of the links can be gleaned from context, and, ultimately, the print version stands strongly on its own. Spellbinding and inventive, this title will attract teens and compel them to reread and revisit each clue to the hauntingly ambiguous ending.—Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
A provocative tale of forbidden love and madness. In their first collaboration, the wildly inventive duo of Anthony (The Convalescent, 2009) and Corral, designer of varied and various bestselling book covers (Decoded, by Jay-Z; Classy, by Derek Blasberg, both 2010, etc.), presents a dark picture book for mature teens. The plot appears simple: Gloria "Glory" Fleming, a child prodigy on the piano, falls for Francisco "Frank" Mendoza, the boy next door. Glory's overprotective father disapproves, causing both teens untold misery as Glory's torn from Frank to tour Europe, and Frank eventually gets expelled from private school. But rippling beneath the surface of this star-crossed love story lurks an undercurrent of madness, as Glory starts infusing her performances of classic concerti with the basic "Chopsticks" theme and soon finds she can't stop. That's where the work's literally graphic nature--oversized and teeming with photo collages of significant objects and moments--turns this familiar plot on its ear, forcing readers to infer reality from the often caption-less, seldom contextualized images. The result leaves readers wondering what really takes place--even if Frank ever existed--and, through its narrative reticence, speaks volumes to the ineffable nature of both mental illness and intimate relationships. (An interactive, multimedia electronic version is scheduled to release simultaneously.) Eerie and edgy--and effective as Poe. (Graphic fiction. 15 & up)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781595144355
Publisher:
Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
02/02/2012
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
602,780
Product dimensions:
7.90(w) x 9.40(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
14 Years

What People are saying about this

Junot Diaz
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.

Meet the Author

Jessica Anthony's debut novel, The Convalescent, was published by McSweeney's Books and received abundant critical praise, was an ALA Adult Notable Book of 2009, and was a B&N Discover selection. Her fiction has also appeared in Best New American Voices, Best American Nonrequired Reading, McSweeney's, Mid-American Review, New American Writing, and elsewhere. She resides in Portland, Maine, and Iowa City, where she is currently an Iowa Arts Fellow at the Writers' Workshop.

Rodrigo Corral (www.RodrigoCorral.com) runs Rodrigo Corral Design and has designed covers for Junot Diáz and Chuck Palahniuk, as well as the New York Times bestselling books Decoded by Jay-Z, Classy by Derek Blasberg, and Influence by Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen. He has designed countless best sellers, won many, many design awards, taught at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, and lectured around the country. Through it all, he remains deeply committed to transcending the visual possibilities in art, in culture, and throughout the universe.

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Chopsticks 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
BailsChris More than 1 year ago
Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony can only be describe as, well, surprising. When I received this book, I hadn't formed an opinion on it from the cover or the synopsis and decided to just let everything play out. It is honestly like nothing I have ever read before to put it plainly and here's why: The story of Glory is told through pictures, newspaper articles, instant message conversations, and so on. It's hard for me to find a category that this book would fit under to accurately describe what it is like. It's not like a childhood picture book or even just a photography book, these images and words (used sparingly) tell a story that I actually liked.  When there is nothing to compare it to, it is hard to find a good way to critique and rate such a book. If I base it simply on the plot, I love the story and longed for there to be an actual written story with it. Although the images tell the story, there is something about descriptions and narrative that make the characters come to life in my mind. That was lacking in this novel which was disappointing. The quality of the images and the story they portrayed was amazing, it didn't lack a lifelike quality to them that they could've. I could see all those people in the photos really living this life and that was nice. Oh how to rate a book that I don't even know how to critique. It was unique and definitely an interesting read for those who don't mind reading less and looking more.
ImaginaryReads More than 1 year ago
I am amazed at how beautifully and thoroughly this story was told through pictures and words scattered here and there. From the very beginning, I was pulled in the story, flipping back and forth through the pages, as I tried to read between the pictures to figure out what happened. At first, Frank and Glory's love seems sweet and innocent. However, as the story moves along, their feelings for each other seem to border on obsessive. They seem to IM regularly even as their lives outside of each other deteriorate and they find themselves clinging to their love. The cover suggests that this will be a cute summer read. It is not. Chopsticks is a deep work that explores the human psyche, making the reader question Glory's sanity and the true nature of her relationship with the people around her. This story can't be understood in one sitting and will probably require rereading (as I have found). The pictures are beautiful; Glory's story is poignant. If you enjoy art, romance, mystery, and a touch of insanity, you'll be sure to enjoy this story in pictures.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nikkayme More than 1 year ago
Chopsticks is an innovative story that intrigues the reader with both its words and its photos. The tale of two teens in love unfolds with little preamble and even fewer words. It’s told through notes, through photographs, text messages, letters, and little trinkets from Glory and Frank’s life. Yet none of it is quite what it seems. These images and messages give the reader a very intimate peek into these two people, but also an incomplete one. We see only bits and pieces of them and of their relationship and as it all unfolds, some things don’t add up. Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral have tackled a rarely utilized medium and done so splendidly. Together, their words and images tell a story that is heartfelt and complex. It’s a fast ‘read,’ but one that needs a second glance because the ending is so far from where it started, that I needed to get through all the middle again to see it in a different light. Readers should enthusiastically embrace this new medium for books, as it offers a different side to a story. I can’t say much, plotwise, without giving away huge details, so I’ll say this: pick up Chopsticks. You won’t regret it. And if you feel like you do, this will still make a killer coffee table book. Once anyone picks it up, it’s impossible to put down – each image is a puzzle piece and once you get the outline, you have to figure the rest out.
nic4film More than 1 year ago
Taking on the usual Romeo and Juliet love story, the authors changed it into something totally original. We live in a world extremely technologically advanced, which makes perfect timing of a novel of just photographs. This book tells a beautiful love story of two teenage artists. A beautiful story, with beautiful photographs, this novel allows a deeper connection to the characters. I will definitely recommend this book to my friends, and I will introduce this book to the photography club at my school.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago