SUMMARY: 17-year old piano prodigy Glory is missing. Pictorial clues tell the story leading up to her disappearance.
IF THIS BOOK WERE FOOD, IT WOULD BE: apples–the most versatile fruit–eat ’em raw, baked, sliced, whole, juiced, fried, pureed, salted–they can become anything!
REVIEW: What a cool book! The format sucked me in immediately. Similar to Jennifer Holm’s Middle School is Worse Than Meatloaf, Chopsticks is told entirely through the “stuff” of 17-year old piano prodigy Glory and her South American boyfriend, Frank. At the beginning of the book, we find news clippings reporting Glory’s abrupt disappearance. We are then taken backward in time to Glory’s birth. Through scrapbook pages, photographs, letters, text messages, art, and news clippings, we learn about Glory, her boyfriend Frank, and her parents. We learn about Glory’s ascent into international fame. We question her sanity and the possibility that her story is totally in her mind. How cool is that?
I read this on a Friday afternoon, after school, while sitting on the floor of my brand-new school library. I did not intend to sit and read the entire book, but the book is so much larger than the others next to it on the Fiction shelf, and it just caught my eye. I was completely sucked in, right from the very first page. What happened to this girl? Did she run off with her boyfriend? Did her controlling father kill her? Did she kill herself?
Be forewarned, none of these questions are really answered. A quick stroll through Goodreads reviews of Chopsticks will show the widely varied interpretations of the book’s clues. After reading the other reviews, I want to go back and really look at each page of this book in-depth. I missed so many things (that I’m so not going to spoil for you here–sorry!). Just read it!
Chopsticks would be excellent to teach inferencing and “reading between the lines.” There are very few lines here, and as the Goodreads reviews prove, interpretations are all over the place. This would be a great choice for book clubs that like to debate unreliable narrators and what really happened. Content advisory for middle school librarians–there is artistic nudity and one page covered entirely with the F-word.
THE BOTTOM LINE: One of the most unique books I’ve come across! Be sure to read the Goodreads reviews afterwards to see what clues you missed!
STATUS IN MY LIBRARY: We have it!
- Overall: 5/5
- Creativity: 5/5
- Characters: 5/5
- Engrossing: 5/5
- Writing: 5/5
- Appeal to teens: 5/5
- Appropriate length to tell the story: 5/5
- Language: moderate–one page is covered in the F-word
- Sexuality: mild-moderate–artistic nudity; allusion to intercourse
- Violence: mild–Frank gets into fights at school
- Drugs/Alcohol: none