Go on and take it

Title: Another Little Piece

Author: Katy Karyus Quinn

Publisher & Release Date: Harper Teen, June 2013

The Hook: When a teenage girl stumbles out of the woods hundreds of miles from her home and a year after she was last seen, all she knows is that she is not the person everyone believes her to be.

The Lowdown: Annaliese Rose Gordon was last seen at a party, screaming and covered in blood. She disappeared moments later.  When she turns up in an Oklahoma trailer park almost a year later, with a horrible scar and no memory of what happened to her, her loving parents do their best to to make things as normal as possible for her.  But nothing feels normal to Annaliese.  She feels no connection to the people who are supposedly her parents.  Her home is unfamiliar, her favorite foods don’t appeal to her, and she feels no attraction towards the boy who she was once crazy over.  The memories that slowly begin to come back to her seem to belong to a different person altogether.  With the help of a neighbor, poems written by the old Annaliese, and an ominous presence from her past, she begins to piece together a picture of the horrific, violent act of dark magic that shattered her previous existence, and that threatens to destroy even more lives if she doesn’t stop it in time.

Overall Impressions: I didn’t know what to expect from this book.  I picked it up on a whim, and was almost dissuaded by the atrocious cover (which, incidentally, has approximately NOTHING to do with the story).  But oh, was I ever pleasantly survived.  The story was well-paced, creepy and wonderfully original, despite borrowing elements from myths and fairy tales.  The terse, present-tense narrative kept me engaged, and the tough-as-nails protagonist quickly won me over.  Although some of the pieces of the puzzle that is Annaliese’s disappearance and return fall into place quickly, there were plenty of details that kept me guessing till the end.  I really liked the way Quinn paced her reveals; this was one of those books that I couldn’t put down because I simply HAD to know what question would be answered next.  I also love the mythology that Quinn created for this book.  The comparisons she’s gotten to Stephen King, while a bit premature, are not entirely unfounded; she seems to have some of his talent for pulling together bits and pieces from numerous sources and doing something new and interesting with them.

The Highs: In addition to all of the above details, there’s a strong streak of feminism in Quinn’s writing that I really appreciated.  This is not a damsel-in-distress story.  This is a damsel-kicking-ass-and-taking-names story.

Buzzkills: *sigh* There’s poetry in this book.  It’s not awful, as poetry in YA novels goes, but that’s not saying much.  Although it serves to further the story, I just don’t want to read poetry written by fictional teenage girls.  Ever.  Poetry written by real teenage girls is plenty bad enough.

Also, I would have loved to have seen some of the invented mythology developed a little further.  I recognize that the pace and perspective didn’t always leave room for all the details that I might have wanted, but I really hope that Quinn writes a sequel or companion novel that delves a little deeper into the forces at work in the story.

The Source: Advance Copy from the publisher

Disclaimer: No chocolate or love spells were provided by the publisher for this review.

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