Review: Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony


Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony, illustrated by Rodrigo Corral

Told only in photographs, this book is the story of Glory, a piano prodigy.  After her mother dies, Glory’s music continues to soar, leading her to play sold out programs at places like Carnegie Hall.  Her father is a large force behind her success, driving her forward with his high expectations for her future in music.  Then Glory meets Frank, a neighbor, and falls in love.  As her connection with Frank grows and she immerses herself in his art, things begin to change.  Soon the young prodigy becomes obsessed with the song “Chopsticks” and is unable to play anything else.  Now it is up to the reader to piece together the truth of Glory’s life as the frightening picture comes together into something entirely different than it first appeared.

I was unable to put down this book and devoured it in a single sitting.  The intriguing use of full-page photographs alone and then the wild twists of the story make it compulsively readable.  Anthony’s story reads like a movie, in pictures.  The building tension of the story, the budding romance, and then the truth that hits like a cold wave of ice water, all combine to form a riveting read. 

The photographs work to add to the story.   They use intriguing angles, photos of documents, different amounts of light and dark, different focus amounts, and play with a combination of home photographs and professional feel.  You never know what you will see on the next page. 

I immediately thought of reluctant readers, especially those interested in art or music as a perfect audience for this book.   It will appeal to many teen readers.  There is one caution for librarians to be aware of and that is that there are some female nudes in the book.  This moves it from being a book for younger teens into one for a slightly older audience, so I’d say the book is appropriate for ages 16-18.

Reviewed from copy received from Razorbill.

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