Skip to main content

Piper Perish Rewind before Art Boss!


Today I'm doing a little bit of a rewind of a past review to celebrate Art Boss by Kayla Cagan which hits shelves on Tuesday. I met Kayla two years ago at Teen Book Con where I discovered her first book Piper Perish. Appropiatly, because the book is about a group of artists, it is one of the best made hardcovers I've ever held. You will be impressed when you pick up a copy at how much detail is in the cover and inside flaps (and also how substantial it is). Inside, it also includes pictures interspersed with the journal entries which rings true for Art Boss as well. The thing that originally drew me to Kayla's book was it's setting. I used to live in Houston, where the book takes place, and it was amazing to recognize all the places mentioned in the book. I wonder if that's how people in L.A., San Fransisco, or New York feel all the time. Sadly, Art Boss moves the story out of Houston, but, appropriately, Piper's next chapter unfolds in New York City. So before Art Boss comes out, here's what I had to say about Piper Perish!

Overview: Piper Perish is the journal of, well, Piper Perish who goes from high school senior to graduate over the course of the story. The book covers the events of her spring semester of senior year into August after graduation. The main focus of the story is Piper, an artist's, desire to escape Houston where she has lived her entire life and go to New York, where is is convinced she belongs. The road to getting there, though, is much rockier than she imagined. Having to deal with friendship and relationship troubles, her crazy sister moving back in, and finical difficulties, the reader gets to watch as Piper faces and works to overcome each roadblock on the road to success. Overall: 4.5

Characters: 4 I thought that Cagan did a great job creating the cast of characters. Piper had an authentic voice and was a believable character. I guess I'm not gushing with things to say about her because, even though there were some aspects of her I identified with, I never said "Wow that's me." And that isn't anything against Piper, the book, or Cagan, and I know that she is a quality character that people will identify with because I know people like her. Also, I did enjoy reading Piper's journal very much and hearing her take on the world.As for the other characters, they all suited their purposes very well. But as with any journal form (or even first person story really) where the focus is so heavily on the protagonist, we don't see much of the other characters. We only see where they effect the protagonist's life. So I cannot comment much on the other characters beyond saying that they were a well developed group that served their purposes wonderfully.


Plot: 4.5 The second I read the summary, I was sold. A girl trying to escape Houston, where she feels trapped, to follow her dreams? I felt like it was echoing my life. That was my "I completely identify and get this" moment with the book. And as I read it, already eager to see that plot unfold, I was taken by Cagan's various subplot that interwove with the main plot beautifully. The complicated and broken sibling relationship between Piper and Marli. The strain it puts on her relationship with her parents. The upheaval of her once solid friendships. A financial strain that turns into so much more. And that's not even all of it. After the first twenty pages or so, I got sucked into the story.


Writing: 4.5 Writing a story in journal form is hard. While it gives so much freedom for introspection, moving a story using true journal form is hard. And that is where most authors lose me with, if it's done well, my favorite form of fiction writing. But not Cagan. I give her all the praise in the world for executing such a true and loyal to this format book. While there was a few times where it strayed into a bit too much detail for an real journal, I cannot bring fault. Real scenes with quotations are just plain necessary in books, but she balanced them and grounded them with true journal accounts. Also, the attention to detail with the journal form was great. When I first started, I wondered why the emphasis words were underlined instead of italicized before I realized that italics are impossible with handwritten texts. Cagan did a beautiful job managing plenty of tricky technicalities.


Random Notes: First, reading a book that takes place in the city where you live is the coolest. The two other books that I read this week took place in the San Fransisco area, so I enjoyed recognizing the name and really understanding it. (I had to text my friend when it mentioned going to Texas Art Supply. "Like the good one in Montrose.") If you don't live here, none of that really matters, but it was the first book I've ever read that's been set here which made it extra special for me. And by the same token, there is a little section that kind of deals with the cowboy stereotype that I had to send to my friends because I tell her nearly the same thing all the time. Second, I also met Kayla Cagan at Teen Book Con, and she is so nice as well. And if she reads this, I appreciate her reInstagraming my post about Teen Book Con more than anyone can fathom. Hearing and getting to interact with amazing authors is one of the coolest things ever, in my opinion. Third, the hardcover copy is impressive. Not only do I love the cover, but it also has the nicest, thickest, smoothest pages I have ever encountered. It made reading it even more of a pleasure.


Other Books I Read That Week:
Week 4 Reviews: Review Here

Links of Interest:
Into YA: Eric Smith: Interview
Warcross: Review Here
Why I Write Positive Reviews:  Essay
500 Words or Less:Review Here

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Bi Book Love

I'm so excited about this list and the upcoming list on Aro/Ace/Demi rep because I feel like these areas of representation have grown so much recently. I also feel like it's harder to find these identities on specific lists or super easily, so I wanted to share some of my favorites for those of you who are seeking them out. I've made book rainbows for Pride Month and made general lists (which you can find here), but I wanted to do something different this year. I didn't want to repeat the same list, and I also realized I don't have a complete rainbow of LGBTQIA spines anymore after getting rid of most of my books. This list is by no means exhaustive, but I picked a couple of my favorites that I wanted to spotlight. To learn more about each book, click the title to read my full review.

Verona Comics  by Jennifer Dugan This is one of my new all time favorite books (which I'm extra pleased about because my expectations were sky high from waiting well over a year). …

YA Book Review: I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver

I Wish You All The Best by Mason Deaver 
Overview: Ben is nonbinary. The book opens with them working up the courage to finally come out to their parents. Even though his parents are religious and conservative, Ben feels like it might be okay. Mostly, they feel like they can't keep living with a secret that big. They want their parents to know them fully. Instead of love and support, they get thrown out of the house. Ben calls their older sister who they haven't seen in ten years, but she shows up right away. As Ben transitions to living with their sister and her husband, they have to navigate a brand new school, a new family situation, and a new therapist all at once. While it's a lot to process, Ben comes out stronger, healthier, and happier on the other side. Overall: 5 

Characters: 5 Ben and I have honestly nothing in common yet I found them so incredibly relatable on a minute detail level. We have a ton of similar thoughts and reactions and just life philosophies, which…

Ace/Aro/Demi Book Love

Last week, I shared all my favorite recent releases with bi main characters. A lot of you commented and shared your favorites as well, and it was so fun to learn about some new books! As Pride Month comes to an end, I wanted to make one my post to celebrate. Today I'm talking about my favorite books with Aro, Ace, or Demi representation. Again, I've found it tricky sometimes to find books with this specific representation, so I wanted to share in case some of you are looking for new books! This is a quick, little post, so if you want to add more books to it, just leave a comment!
Tash Hearts Tolstoy By Kathryn Ormsbee I've been a huge fan of this book since I first read it a couple years ago. It was the first book I ever read with ace rep. Tash is such an intelligent, lovable character, and the friendship story is also strong too. Even as she achieves career success with her scripted YouTube series, she's still navigating what her identity means to her, and being open ab…

Into YA with Lindsay Sproul

Hi, everyone! I know I've been gone for a minute, but I'm excited to come back with my interview with Lindsay Sproul. Lindsay and I have been working on this interview for a while, ever since I first read We Were Promised Spotlights. I'm so excited to have a more in-depth discussion about the book and get to look at it through this new prospective. It was a super eye opening read for me and probably most other teens my age who weren't alive when the story takes place. If you haven't had the chance to read Lindsay's book, you can check out my review here to get up to speed.


1. The most notable part of the book right from the start is that it doesn’t take place in 2020. It’s set in 1999-2000 in a small beach town. Why did you decide to set it in the near past? How do you approach writing a book for teens who mostly hadn’t been born when the story takes place? 

Aside from the fact that I was a teen in the late 90’s/early 2000’s, I think it’s important for teens to b…

Books I'm Looking Forward To: July

Can you believe it's almost July? I'm shocked that June is coming to a close. Just like last month, June is packed with an amazing set of books that I can't wait to start reading. We're also starting to see some of the spring books that got pushed because of COVID come out, and I'm so glad that these authors are getting that chance, even though conditions are still less than ideal. I've been waiting for most of these books since I seriously started blogging again back in March, and I'm so excited to finally start reading them. I wanted to share a quick list of some of the books I'm most excited to read over the course of the month. I have ARCs for all of these, so expect reviews coming soon. I just started I Killed Zoe Spanos, and I'm already sucked into its atmospheric, mysterious world. 
As always, preorders, especially now, are so important for supporting authors. Many of them are offering fun preorder incentives if you send in your receipts. I&#…

My Eyes Are Up Here- YA Book Review

My Eyes Are Up Here by Laura Zimmermann
Overview: Greer's life has been governed by body insecurity. She hides in XXL sweatshirts to try to take her chest out of the conversation. It doesn't stop the cruel jokes, the pain, the logistical nightmare with sports, and the impossibility of finding a dress that feels made for her. Over the course of her sophomore year, she starts to test the self-imposed limitations as she gets closer to the new guy, tries out for the volleyball team, and takes her voice back from society and her body image constraints. Overall: 4

Characters: 4 Greer is such a fun main character to follow. She is sarcastic and has a worldview that really matches my own, so we clicked quickly. She's a realist with a streak of idealism. A lot of identity comes from her braininess as she leads all her classes, and she uses it as a way to compensate for trying to pretend her physicality doesn't exist. This emerges for a wide variety of societal pressures that is u…

I'll Be the One Review

I'll Be The One by Lyla Lee
Overview: Skye loves K-Pop, singing, and dancing. She's studied for countless hours and has gotten really, really good. When the first LA based K-Pop competition starts holding auditions, Skye knows it's her time to shine. While her dad and her friends are supportive, her mom hates the idea. She doesn't believe fat girls can dance. This only pushes Skye more as she's determined to prove to her mom and to all the fat-phobic haters that she can do whatever she wants and be proud of it. Even though the competition isn't an easy road, it's full of fun new friends, self discovery, glitzy performances, and a possible love interest. Overall: 5

Characters: 5 Skye is a character that's easy to like. She radiates light and determination without ever crossing into annoying territory. She has a clear view of what she wants, and she's not afraid to work for it. Despite years and years of hurtful, self esteem wrecking comments from her m…

YA Book Review Parachutes by Kelly Yang

Parachutes by Kelly Yang 
TW: Sexual Assault
Overview: Claire and Dani start out feeling like they live on two different planets. Claire has lived a glamorous life in China, cared for by live-in help and constantly picked up after. Every argument with her dad ends in a new purse or pair of shoes, and she's never had to seriously want for anything. Dani and her mom work for a housecleaning service to stay afloat. She attends American Prep on scholarship and works hard to fund her debate travel. Eventually, her mom signs up to host an international student to make a little extra money. While Claire and Dani originally clash, their experiences over the course of the school year make them realize they have more in common than they originally thought. Overall: 5 

Characters: 5 Every single character in this books was so well drawn and thoroughly paid attention to. Through subtle nuances, even the most minor characters were stunningly clear and realistic. Every character had their fair mix…

Into YA with Jennifer Dugan

I'm so excited to introduce my first repeat author for Into YA! Jennifer Dugan is back on the blog to chat about Verona Comics, one of my favorite books of the year (and probably all time). If you've followed my blog for any amount of time, you probably know about Verona Comics by now, but if you want a refresher or some context for our conversation, check out my review of it here.
Also, if you're curious about my first interview with Jennifer about Hot Dog Girl, you can find it here.  And if you want to get a copy of Verona Comics or learn more, here's a link to her author website with all the links.

1.I absolutely love that Verona Comics is such a clear nod to Romeo and Juliet. Did you set out to write a modern retelling? You explore and contextualize a lot of the more toxic elements of the original story. Were there any major changes that you had to make to Shakespeare’s outline to make it fit YA today?   
I actually didn’t go into Verona Comic’s with the idea of mak…

You Should See Me In A Crown YA Book Review

You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson
Overview: Liz never thought she'd run for prom queen. It's a deeply entrenched tradition on the suburb of Campbell, Indiana. Though it's mostly a show of popularity, there is a scholarship for the king and queen. When Liz doesn't get as much financial aid as she needs to go to her dream school, she signs herself up to compete. After many weeks of community service and competitions, prom season manages to change the course of Liz's senior year. Overall: 5

Character: 5 I loved Liz! She was such a great main character to follow because she has the right amount of optimism and reality. She has a lot happening in her life that she has to juggle and keep up with, and I could definitely identify with her feelings of never having done enough. Over the course of the prom season, she forces herself to come out of her shell a little more and get comfortable with throwing herself in the middle of the mix. It also causes an identity st…