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Why Don’t You Take A Picture, It’ll Last Longer

Forever Young Adult Presents: A Review of Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral

Why Don’t You Take A Picture, It’ll Last Longer

BOOK REPORT for Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral

Cover Story: Brought To You By Urban Outfitters
BFF Charm: Nay
Swoonworthy Scale: 2
Talky Talk: Picture Pages
Bonus Factors: Found/PostSecret, Hi-Tech
Relationship Status: Fleeting Art Class Crush

Cover Story: Brought To You By Urban Outfitters

I can't decide if this looks more like an Urban Outfitters catalog or a book that Urban Outfitters would sell. Either way, the lovely typeface of the title almost makes up for the "THIS IS A KISSING BOOK" photo. Almost.

The Deal:

Glory Fleming is a world famous piano prodigy who recently disappeared from Golden Hands, an institution for mentally disturbed musical geniuses. Rewind to 18 months earlier, and through a series of photographs, newspaper articles and online chat conversations, we learn that Glory has been raised by a strict, domineering father after the death of her mother. She lives a regimented life of piano, piano and more piano until the day that Francisco Mendoza moves in next door. Sparks fly, and in each other's arms, Glory and Frank find refuge from the tumult of their daily life. Glory dreams of her own path, away from her father, while Frank pines for his homeland of Argentina, where no one threatens to beat him up for being Latino. But will their love be enough to transform these dreams into reality?

BFF Charm: Nay

It's not that I actively dislike Glory or Frank. They're both good kids, and I want them to be happy. But this book didn't really offer me the chance to get to know them. All I really learned is that they're both depressed (rightfully so) and that they're SUPER into each other. And based on those two qualities, I don't even want to hang out with them in the mall food court, let alone give them BFF charms. I mean, we'd be standing in line at Chic-Fil-A, and instead of being excited that we're about to eat DELICIOUS CHICKEN NUGGETS, they'd either total Debbie Downers ("I wish I was eating Chic-Fil-A... in Argentina." "I wish I could work at Chic-Fil-A instead of playing the piano.") or totally PDA-ing all over the place. NO THANKS.

Swoonworthy Scale: 2

While I believe that photographs can evoke just as much emotion as text (and maybe more so), I don't think this book managed to capitalize on that. Most of the images created a scene but not a feeling. And since I didn't really connect with the two main characters, I wasn't compelled by their love story. Everything between them happened so quickly, and I would have preferred a more gradual build-up of emotion to make their relationship seem authentic. Instead, it was insanely melodramatic. Yeah, sure, teenagers can totally be melodramatic, but what they feel seems v. v. real to them, and unfortunately, Glory and Frank's attraction didn't seem real to me at all.

Talky Talk: Picture Pages

As I mentioned above, the book tells a story through photographs, illustrations, chat conversations and newspaper articles. There's v. little text. I LOVE the concept, but I don't think Anthony & Corral manage to really pull it off. I wanted the images to hit me harder than they did; I wanted a photo to make me pause and soak it in for a few minutes. Instead I just found myself flipping the pages quickly, wondering why the authors felt the need to make things so obvious with underlining and circling. But maybe artistry wasn't really the goal of the book. Maybe they just wanted to play with a cool gimmick, and in that, they certainly succeeded. I'm just disappointed that a concept with such high potential fell so flat.

Bonus Factor: Found/PostSecret

Looking at Glory and Frank's pictures and private notes made me feel a little like a creepy voyeur, until I remembered the popularity of Found and PostSecret. Everyone's a voyeur! Because it's fun to read people's secret messages! Unless you're reading their diary! And then it's REALLY NOT COOL, PAST BOYFRIENDS.*

*Yes, this happened to me. TWICE.

Bonus Factor: Hi-Tech

If you read this book on your iPad or iPhone, you can make the book come to life!

Casting Call:

The book already did it for me! Thanks, book! I will now use this extra five minutes to slowly eat my last Reese's Peanut Butter Heart left over from Valentine's.

Relationship Status: Fleeting Art Class Crush

When I spotted this book in my art class, I was immediately intrigued. It seemed so cool and edgy! And when everyone else in class was painting the same old fruit bowl, over and over again, this book was busting out some abstract experimental shizz. But when I finally got the nerve to move my easel next to it, I discovered that this book wasn't as deep as I thought it would be. It was too busy being artsy to really carry on a conversation with me, and consequently, we totally didn't click. So I'm moving my easel back to the fruit bowl section, where the paintings might be traditional, but at least the apples feel as juicy as they look.

FTC FULL DISCLOSURE: I received my review copy from Razorbill. I received neither money nor cocktails for this review (damnit!). Chopsticks is available now.

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).