Publishing Date: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Young Adult Contemporary
The Premise from the Publisher: "Piper Perish inhales air and exhales art. The sooner she and her best friends can get out of Houston and get to New York City, the better. Art school has been Piper's dream her whole life, and now that senior year is halfway over, she's never felt more ready. But in the final months before graduation, things are weird with her friends and stressful with three different guys, and Piper's sister's tyrannical mental state seems to thwart every attempt at happiness for the close-knit Perish family. Piper's art just might be enough to get her out. But is she brave enough to seize that power when it means giving up so much? Debut author Kayla Cagan breathes new life into fiction in this dynamic, utterly authentic work featuring interior art from Rookie magazine illustrator Maria Ines Gul. Piper will have readers asking big questions along with her. What is love? What is friendship? What is family? What is home? And who is a person when she's missing any one of these things?" (Chronicle Books).
My overall thoughts and review: For those of you don't know, I've always had an interest in art and art history. I wrote my masters on paintings and I've always had a big fascination with art in general. When I read the premise of this book, I was interested but also immediately reminded of myself when I was in my last year of high-school. I had a big fascination with New York City, Andy Warhol, and his factory. I knew that art would be a big component of the book but what I did not expect was how much the physical book would be fused with art. I had an arc copy, but I can't wait to see how the finished copy looks. The book featured authentic artwork from a magazine illustrator, Maria Ines Gul, and I felt like the entire book itself was an art piece. It kind of felt like it was Piper's big heart being handed to the reader. The book is written in first person narrative, but done in a way that felt like reading journal entries of Piper. You are thrown into Piper's world immediately and learn that her New Years did not start off well, with her boyfriend Enzo breaking up with her. Which also ruins her plans for New York since the plan was that she, her boyfriend and their bestfriend, Kit, all go together. The book has sections for every month of Piper's final year. You get to see how Piper deals with the year ending, the stress of waiting around for university acceptances, breaking up, friendships and most of all, family. Piper has an extremely tough sister, Marli, to deal with. I would say that passages with Marli were my least favorite because I just found her so difficult to deal with. We are given some explanation as readers as to why she is the way she is, but because I empathized so much with Piper, I found it really hard to do the same with Marli. Marli is an incredibly difficult character and my only critique would be that some more explanation for why she is the way she is, would be helpful to readers? Other than that, I loved Piper's parents so much. They had so much depth and the parts where they admittedly mentioned their struggles as parents financially and emotionally felt so raw to me. I loved how much depth Cagan gave each character and how many thematic points she was able to hit with this book. There was a strong emphasis on self-growth and identity for Piper, Kit, and Enzo. But mostly, what drew me most to this book and what I think most readers will enjoy is the art component. This was without a doubt a very artistic and unique book. I loved how mature it felt and I loved how art and various artists played such a big role. I highly recommend checking it out! Now.. if you'll excuse me, I'm going to wait anxiously until March 7, 2017 to go get my hands on a physical copy to see all the artwork in it's true glory! :D
My rating of the book: ✮✮✮✮ (4/5 stars)
Available for pre-order at:
Chapters/Indigo, Kobo Books, Amazon and Book Depository (Free Worldwide Shipping)
Author Question and Answer
1. The book has a large emphasis on art and you write that art and artists are quite significant. Who is your favorite artist and what is your favorite art piece?
Picking one favorite artist?!?!? I have so many art crushes. The artists I love usually have a very strong sense of humor and wit in their work. My current favorite is the photographer and filmmaker Cindy Sherman. Lifetime favorite is Rene Magritte. He was my introduction into surrealism and his work opened my brain at a very young age. My current favorite art piece is by Glenn Ligon and it’s called Double America 2. I can’t think of a piece of art that better represents the current divisions in the United States. Here’s a link if you want to see it: LINK HERE! (It blinks on and off in the museum.)Thank you so much, Kayla! I am a big fan of Magritte as well and I actually wrote a conference paper on him a few years back. His art is just fantastic! The Double America piece looks really cool! And I will be sure to check out Cindy Sherman. Thanks so much for sharing that with us :D
Kayla has also very kindly answered questions for other bloggers at the other stops on the blog tour. So be sure to head on over to their blogs and show some love!
Disclaimer: An advanced reader's copy of the book was provided by Raincoast Books for participation in the book tour. All opinions of the book are my own.