Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral: A YA Picturebook

Next month is crossover month and this book works perfectly as a segue to tomorrow. And yes, Chopsticks is literally a picturebook intended for a YA audience though of course it isn’t described as such. But let me start from a beginning:


Paperback, 272 pages
Published February 2nd 2012 by Razorbill

Chopsticks tells the story of Glory, a prodigal pianist, and Frank, a recent immigrant from some South American country that I cannot remember the name of now. Glory has lost her mother and her father is a protective sort who is one of those intense folk, determined to make their child reach all sorts of dizzying heights in the profession foisted upon them. In many ways, this is a typical YA romance novel, riddled with drama and a lot of angst but what takes away the predictability of such a book is the format the novel is told in.

Beautiful photographs, artwork and scrapbook cuttings showing tickets and other items that become important because of the sentiment attached to them. The novel (if one can call it that) allows the reader to parse out the story for themselves and, depending on the individual, can choose to derive the amount of drama they want. I liked the work because it was beautifully done. The pictures are gorgeously composed and I love the idea of a narrative in pictures instead of words. This is just one step in a very exciting direction that YA is taking: playing with different ways to tell stories. Books like Generation X by Douglas Coupland are examples of adult novels who have pushed the envelope in the way they shape their narrative but there aren’t many books in the YA genre that play around with the meaning of a book. Books that defy tradition are always so very exciting to me and I know there are some more releases scheduled for the next year or so that are going to do the same. I don’t know whether they will succeed but like with Chopsticks, I can’t wait to find out.

Here are some more pictures from Chopsticks. 



5 responses to “Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral: A YA Picturebook

  1. I really liked this book, and while I know it didn’t resonate with a lot of reviewers, the creative approach to storytelling in this really excites me. I’d love to see more of this sort of thing in both YA and adult books.

    • Right? I know that Jay Asher is “writing” a book with the one of the writers of These Broken Stars that is very much like The Night Film (which I haven’t read but which sounds really exciting). Though I don’t like the way Asher handled his “Japanese” fusion trilogy, I’m willing to check out this new book which seems as though it will push at boundaries.

  2. I saw this at the Lyceum and was drawn to it by its Instagram-ness. A real reflection of our teenage generation (which I was part of until just a few months ago!).

  3. I gave it 3.5 stars on GoodReads because I *was* enjoying it until the ending (thought the whole “buy the app to find out more!” was annoying). Curious to see some other authors take this concept and run with it though.

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