Publication: March 8, 2017, by Chronicle Books
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
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?
If you have never seen Piper Perish before (by seen, I mean its GORGEOUS cover), YOU ARE CRAZY. If you have never heard of this masterpiece of a novel, YOU ARE CRAZY. You, we, I am crazy for all sorts of reasons, but Piper Perish by the phenomenal Kayla Cagan has literally made me rethink of a definition of crazy. YOU NEED TO HEAR/SEE/READ THIS BOOK. When I first read the synopsis, I knew it would be a keeper. Little did I know that it would become a total jewel/gem of a story that I will remember forever. It kind of reminds me of the point of my life that I am currently in: that point of your life where you're just starting to get everything together. Where you're pulling/pushing the pieces, wondering what you really want to do in the future, what's worth keeping. This lovely novel has such a huge focus on art and friends: two brilliant things that I myself am so lucky to have an abundance of in my life. This will become everyone's favourite 2017 novel, I feel it.
It has been a wwwwhhhhhiiiiillllleeeeee since I read a book that was this raw, this intriguing. Yeah, you know, we constantly read contemporary romances or chick-lit novels about girls/guys finding themselves, figuring out their purposes in life. In this case, our protagonist Piper was the one finding herself. But this story was different. I think it's because it wasn't just about the romance. It was a 75% focus on the contemporary part, the more realistic beautiful part. Kayla Cagan just mastered that. I felt myself melting into the story and it's rare for me to feel this way, especially in the midst of a horrifying reading slump. Now that I look back at this, I think it definitely brought me out of this treacherous slump that's been active for a year probably.
Piper Perish is a story you can ramble about forever. There was just so much that happened in this big chunky story. (IT'S A HUGE STORY SO YOUR MONEY IS WORTH IT IN EVERY WAY. BUY YOURSELF A BEAUTIFUL HARDCOVER.) It begins off with us getting to know Piper, who is dumped by her boyfriend who literally streaks in the middle of a dance floor on New Year's Eve. It's quite messed up. We learn about how much she loves art and how she wants it to become a big part of her future as she applies to a New York art school. I LITERALLY FEEL THE SAME WAY SHE DOES. (Minus the art part and boyfriend part... it's all about university my friends.)
SO the best part of this book is that it's relatable. Any teenager can find something in this gorgeous story that they could relate to. Whether it is the problem Kit (Piper's best friend) and Piper had surrounding their friendship, or even the problem with just liking something (art) that others do not find interest in, this is a coming of age novel that will hit you. It has all of the elements we are seeking, like LGBTQ characters (Enzo!!)!! The only reason why I did not feel that this was perfect was because it lacked a fast pace. It was intriguing, but at points I felt that it wasn't really moving anywhere. ANYWHO, we must get back to the positives.
This is a happy, feel-good story that will just make you smile. That's the final result. A MASS OF EMOTIONS HIT ME SO HARD that I decided that the best way to write about this book is to just ramble about how much we can all relate to it and find beauty in it. There: it's your turn to explore it. ENJOY AND GRAB THIS INSTANTLY. No one will be disappointed.
*A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for a honest review. Thank you so much!*
HI. I was VERY VERY VERY fortunate to be a part of Raincoast Books' blog tour for Piper Perish, and I was also fortunate to ask the author, Kayla Cagan a question! Here it is and her response:
Hi Kayla! Piper Perish has a big focus on art, so what inspired you to write about it?
My inspiration came in four parts, throughout my life. One, I am an avid reader of biographies and watcher of biopics of great writers and influential artists. These are my creativity teachers - How did they persevere in times of failure and success? How did they have and hold on to relationships? Why were they the ones who specifically came up with a way of writing/creating/making, surpassing others? I just 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…
Two, I grew up in my mother’s ceramic shop. She was a professional ceramist and potter. She has always continued to create in several ways, most recently in mosaic tiles. But growing up in a storefront introduced me into a world much bigger than my own school and neighborhood. I felt like a grown up in her tiny shop. The one thing that united people there, besides my mom, was art. They built beautiful pieces, they painted and glazed and watched their pieces become toasted and strong in mom’s kilns. They made gifts for their families, they made gifts to celebrate successes, they made emblems of themselves. They broke and smashed pieces there, too. They were all creators, and I felt creative there, though I was more prone to theater and writing. I still did my fair share of ceramics. Art was such an early part of my life, and always encouraged, and I never knew you couldn’t have a way of life. I knew I would be in the arts one way or the other since I was a kid. My biggest heroes have always been and continue to be artists. So, I guess you could say I wanted to write Piper as my up and coming super hero. I wanted to give Piper a superhero origin story.
Three, my best friend in high school, Amy, was an art kid. She was so talented she left “regular” high school and was accepted into HSPVA, my dream school at the time. HSPVA - The High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston. Part of Piper is part of Amy. It took my mom pointing that out to me to realize I had written a small tribute to her. Another close friend of mine, Paul, is now a teacher there. And it’s still one of the best schools in Houston.
Fourth, I love journaling. I’ve been doing it since I was 10 and haven’t stopped. I wanted to write a book like a journal. I love fiction that reads like a diary or journal. I’m a sucker for that structure. So, I allowed myself to write one.