CHOPSTICKS by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral

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....
Reviews & Awards

Kirkus Reviews (January 1, 2012)

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)
Publishers Weekly (December 12, 2011)

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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
School Library Journal (January 1, 2012)

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 (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.