Wednesday, March 1, 2017

PIPER PERISH BY KAYLA CAGAN - BLOG TOUR + BOOK REVIEW

Hello everyone!

I am back with another blog tour! I am so excited to work with Raincoast Books and share a little Q&A for the book Piper Perish by Kayla Cagan!


First, the review. Thank you so much to Raincoast Books for sending me an ARC of this book for an honest review, as always, all opinions are my own.


Going into this book, I was expecting it to be about a pretentious art student, but what I got was so much better - so much deeper.

The story follows a girl named Piper in her senior year of high school. She lives in Houston with her parents and painfully annoying older sister. Focusing on her goal of leaving her hometown far, far behind, Piper channels her energy into her art. In the synopsis, it says she "inhales air and exhales art," which I think is a bit of a stretch - there's no magical realism, and Piper struggles to create a masterpiece more than she breathes. She is good, though - good enough to get her teacher's recommendation to a conservatory program in New York City. But when her sister moves home from college, Piper has to face the idea that even if she is good enough to get into the program, her family may not be able to afford it.

Like I said, when I first started the book, I was expecting some snotty teenaged hipster who is decent at art and expects the world handed to her on a silver platter. But what this book actually is so different. Piper does have her diva moments, but for the most part, she's pretty down to earth.

A major part of the story deals with Piper's family, and I was really (pleasantly) surprised to see how well developed they were. Even her friend's "absent" parents were around some of the time. Piper's family is fairly typical - struggling to make ends meet, but making it. However, Marli, Piper's older sister moves home  and the family has to stretch themselves even thinner. I liked that the parents didn't try to hide their problems from Piper, and that when there was something they didn't like, they called her out on it. This was a refreshing break from the usual YA parents who let their kid do whatever they want. They had some genuine concern for Piper.

Of all the characters, my least favourite was Marli. I'm not sure what behavioural disorder she has - there was some speculation in the book, but she is so mean, and really, for no reason. Yes, little sisters can be annoying sometimes, but I'm not sure Marli ever said one nice thing to Piper the whole book. That's just such a strange concept to me, sisters who literally hate each other's guts, that I didn't like it at all. I know Marli has her issues, but there were times when enough was enough and I was exhausted just reading about the conflicts.

This story does take a good chunk to get into the rhythm, I'm not sure if it is because it is told in journal entry forms (with some art and emails thrown in) or what. I think you also have to get into the groove of being told more than seeing firsthand what is happening - that adds a layer of disconnect to the story. I liked the journal entry style because it is something different, and I can definitely see Piper sitting around, writing in a journal, but I'm not sure what it added to the book as a whole.

After you get into the swing of things, and get over how annoying some of the characters are, the story gets better. I did want to put it down a couple of times, but I was able to push through, and I'm glad I did.

I only wish we got some sort of epilogue or something after the ending - I'm happy with how it ended, but I think things could have been stretched a little bit further.

Overall, I enjoyed this book - it was better than what I expected.

Now, the Q&A. We each got to ask Kayla Cagan one question - make sure you check out the other blog tour stops to see their Q&A's as well, but her is mine:

Why did you decide to write the book in the form of journal entries instead of the “traditional” novel format?

I’ve been journaling since I was 10 years old and I always wanted to write a story using a journal structure. Journals are the safe places where most of us can be our true, unguarded and somewhat unedited selves. I love reading fiction, and what better way to know a character than through her own words? I also like having some flexibility. Obviously, like a traditional story, a novel structured like a journal still needs some basic storytelling elements – namely a beginning, middle, and end – but I just wanted to take a chance and see if I could do it. So, I allowed myself to try it. I also wanted to read what was in the mind of a young Picasso or a young Warhol or young Dickinson or young Plath. I wanted to see who they were before the world had an idea of who they were and should be, how they should act etc… the journal format helped me do that for Piper!

Thanks again to Raincoast Books and Kayla Cagan - definitely check this one out, it just published yesterday!