by Kayla Cagan
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Just released: March 7, 2017
Publisher: Chronicle Books
Genre: YA, Art, Contemporary
Hardback: 416 pages
Piper Perish inhales air and exhales art. The sooner she and her best friends can get out of Houston and get to New York City, the better. Art school has been Piper's dream her whole life, and now that senior year is halfway over, she's never felt more ready. But in the final months before graduation, things are weird with her friends and stressful with three different guys, and Piper's sister's tyrannical mental state seems to thwart every attempt at happiness for the close-knit Perish family. Piper's art just might be enough to get her out. But is she brave enough to seize that power when it means giving up so much?
Debut author Kayla Cagan breathes new life into fiction in this dynamic, utterly authentic work featuring interior art from Rookie magazine illustrator Maria Ines Gul. Piper will have readers asking big questions along with her. What is love? What is friendship? What is family? What is home? And who is a person when she's missing any one of these things?
This novel takes a look at the tumultuous life of a popular teen, Piper, in her senior year in high school. In particular, a student who is talented in art, primarily painting. Piper's creative process and influences come to play. I liked these parts as I find it fascinating to learn about people's creative side in general including inspirations.
Piper's family relationships play a big unsettling part in the story. She suffers growing pains while contending with family dynamics.
Piper's friends are artists as well and represent other forms of art and experiences. One is particular is into fashion design. It was a treat to read about the various outfit ensembles and "looks" he created for Piper.
The story is told mostly by way of journal entries with lists and emails. Also, quotes from contemporary artists (especially from Andy Warhol) along with black and white doodles, sketches and brush strokes are sprinkled throughout these pages to pull you into an artist perspective.
1/1 1:04 pm
It was official: I was blind.
At least that’s what I thought until Kit rolled over and helped me pluck my puffy eyes apart. “I told you not to wear false eyelashes in bed,” she said.
I started crying all over again and pouted at her.
“Just help me unstick my whole face. My eyeballs hurt!”
“It’s not your fault,” she said. “It’s freaking Enzo.” (That’s why she remains my best friend and I will love her forever and ever because she always knows just what to say and also she saw the whole freaking thing happen.)
“I have eyelash glue on my eyeballs.”
“That’s impossible, and even if you did it would be dry by now, not wet. Does it feel like glitter?”
“Your eyes are all big and gluey and have gold glitter stickered on ’em because New Year’s Eve sucked, except for I ﬁnally made out with French Marcel, until we like, almost passed out. But,” she added, “that was before I saw the very worst breakup of all times.”
I couldn’t even begin to talk about it because my eyes hurt and my heart hurt and I refused for it to be true. Because this is not how my senior year will end. I’m not going through spring semester or the rest of my life without Enzo. Did he completely forget about New York? Is he really assuming Kit and I will go without him?
Andy Warhol said, “Everyone winds up kissing the wrong person goodnight.”
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* review copy and excerpt courtesy of tour