Tuesday, February 14, 2017

piper perish: stardust arc reviews

Piper Perish
Kayla Cagan

Pub Date: February 28


Piper Perish inhales air and exhales art. The sooner she and her best friends can get out of Houston and into art school in New York City, the better. It's 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, even if it means giving up what she's always known? Debut author Kayla Cagan breathes new life into fiction in this ridiculously compelling, 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?

 I have a question for you guys. Are you always looking for a fun contemporary that isn't centered around romance, that is fun and a breath of fresh air without being fluffy, and that has to do with teenagers who are passionate and unapologetic about who they are and what they like? Then I have news for you! You should definitely definitely try Piper Perish! Thanks to Chronicle Books for allowing me to read this one a lil early,  because I had a total blast with this one, and I will recommend it to anyone who is even slightly interested :) If you love art and fashion and wonky family dynamics and best friends that will die for you, then this one is for you. If you love a fresh voice from a character that is so utterly believable, then this one is for you. This book is so much fun. It isn't perfect, of course (what is?), and there were parts that I was a little overwhelmed by all of the drama, but in the end, I have such a positive impression of this one.

This is Piper Perish's story. Piper is a high school senior, and this book picks up at the very beginning of her second semester. Piper is part of a three person friend group: her best friend Kit and her boyfriend Enzo. The book picks up when Enzo very publicly breaks up with Piper, leaving her devastated and with tons of questions about her life and her future. She, Kit and Enzo have always planned to go to New York after graduation, to a small art conservatory. These three characters are obsessed with art, whether it is in the form of painting, sketching, jewelry making, fashion, or anything else. I loved how colorful their lives were because of it. But Piper's senior spring doesn't go smoothly at all. After Enzo breaks up with her – for a boy named Phillip – Kit finds out that she didn't get into art school, while Piper, who is going to struggle to afford it, did. Also, Piper's older sister, who (i got the feeling) is borderline sociopathic, moves back home from college because she is pregnant. So Piper is left to navigate how crazy her life has gotten, with everything changing even before she graduates. 

Piper was an amazing protag. She has such a strong voice, and I loved how this book is in the format of a journal, but it was kind of different from the other journal style books that I've ever read. I love that there is art and drawings throughout this one, it adds something special to the book. I also loved how Piper was always getting herself into things. She was unafraid to go to the party, to wear the costume, to say the thing that everyone is thinking but is too afraid to say. That got her into a lot of trouble, but it made the plot basically nonstop. At first, I was confused by the fact that everyone was calling Piper super dramatic, because I just didn't see it, but as the book went on, I got it. I loved her relationship with Kit, it was such an easy friendship that had to shift and change when these big things happened to them. I also liked how Piper was able to forgive Enzo and go back to being friends with him. I was a little confused by her relationship with Marli, her sister, honestly. I think it's just because I wasn't expecting Marli to be as mean and spiteful as she was, and it surprised me every time. 

Basically, what made this book for me was that some really key things combined to make the pages fly by super quickly and in an entertaining way. Firstly, the fact that it was in journal style made it read faster than a book that is in just normal prose style. Secondly, there were a ton of conflicts that could be played off of, and you never knew when one was going to explode. First there was the breakup with Enzo, then it was Enzo's sexuality and the fact that it was a secret, then it was getting into school, then it was Kit not getting in and Piper keeping her own acceptance a secret, then it was their senior art project and all of the stress from finishing that, then it was Marli's baby and all of the bombshells from that experience, then it was worrying about the fact that Piper's family might not have enough money for her to go to New York, then it was a fight with Kit about Kit not feeling good enough at art, then it was dating a guy that none of Piper's friends liked, then it was the super dramatic ending that was crazy but awesome. I was kept really occupied by all of the little conflicts along the way, and then the bigger arcs were also interesting. Like I said earlier, sometimes the events and reactions of the characters would steer into the melodramatic, but with teenaged artists, what do you expect? But really, I did notice when it went a little too dramatic, but it didn't bother me as much as I would've thought. I really adored all of the art and mentions of art in this book, that was another thing that kept me hooked. 

In the end, I really wanted this book to be just like ten pages longer, because it ended at a really good moment, but it was already pretty long and I understand Cagan ending it when she did. I have a few small problems with this book, which I've already mentioned, but overall I had a really great time getting into Piper's crazy head and crazy world. I was captivated by her passion and love for art, and I was rooting for her in her relationships.  I would definitely recommend this to fans of contemporary, and someone looking for something that doesn't follow any sort of formula that they've seen before. 


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