Review and Giveaway: Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral

Publication Date: February 2nd, 2012
Format: Unknown binding, 272 pages
RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars
After her mother died, Glory retreated into herself and her music. Her single father raised her as a piano prodigy, with a rigid schedule and the goal of playing sold-out shows across the globe. Now, as a teenager, Glory has disappeared. As we flash back to the events leading up to her disappearance, we see a girl on the precipice of disaster. Brilliant and lonely, Glory is drawn to an artistic new boy, Frank, who moves in next door. The farther she falls, the deeper she spirals into madness. Before long, Glory is unable to play anything but the song “Chopsticks.”

But nothing is what it seems, and Glory’s reality is not reality at all. In this stunningly moving novel told in photographs, pictures, and words, it’s up to the reader to decide what is real, what is imagined, and what has been madness all along….

This book said so little yet showed so much of its soul. It would make you stare at its wordless pages and  hypnotize you into believing that you were watching a movie where the characters do not speak. Reading this book is like putting together a puzzle, wherein the pieces are emotions and thoughts of a person you’re trying to construct because it’s the only way you’d learn who the character is. Chopsticks is beautiful and brilliant. Frustrating and insufficient.  But in the end, all you’re left with is a raw wanting that only a repeat of the entire experience could sate.

There’s a line in a song of an old 70’s band that goes like this:

“If a picture paints a thousand words, then how could I paint you?”

This book is a brilliant combination of scant words and profound images. If you’ve ever complained about a book and its ambiguity, then perhaps this book may not be suited for you. The author will not take your hand and guide you every step of the way. She will leave you in the dark hallway of this story so you can learn to fend for yourself.

The thing is, the synopsis hinted of madness. But is it really madness? I’m more inclined to disagree. I saw a girl who never really got over the grief of losing her young mother. I saw a girl who struggled to be a daughter and a prodigy. I saw a girl who grew up bypassing childhood. I saw a girl hopelessly in love with a passionate boy. And finally, I saw a girl so alone in her thoughts that even her music could no longer fill the void of isolation. I don’t think it’s madness. It’s a pressure that reached its tumultuous point. The authors forewarned that the reader would have to decide what is imagined and what is reality. Well, in my opinion, Glory’s madness is nothing but a product of her imagination. Her reality is waiting for her in South America, and unfortunately away from the source of that pressure – her father.

It would take a certain type of reader to fully appreciate its uniqueness.  I have been trying to write this review in my head and really, anything I say would be less deserving of this artistic, poetic, visual masterpiece. I know I’ve tried and failed to piece together some words to illustrate how Chopsticks made me feel and how I could convey those to whoever reads this review.

I’ll tell you this…Chopsticks is avant-garde, ambitious and daring. This book is a feast for the eyes and for the soul. It’s stunning, evocative, thoughtful and moving. But don’t listen to me, I think you’d have to read this and decide for yourself. All I can say is that, nothing could’ve prepared me for its minimalistic beauty and powerful words.

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  • I've been really curious about this book since I saw the title “Chopsticks”. Thank you for this awesome review. I will get a copy of this.

    Personalized chopsticks

  • This book looks awesome! Thank you for the giveaway!

  • Thanks so much for this giveaway! This book sounds so cool.

  • This sounds different from anything I've ever read but I'd be willing to give it a try. Thanks for the giveaway Joy! 🙂

  • Sounds intriguing! Thanks for the giveaway!


  • I've never heard of this book before but it sounds amazing! Thanks for reviewing it!

  • Anything you rate 5/5 I know is worth the read! You had me hooked at “brilliant combination of scant words and profound images.” Thank you for such an amazing review and I will add it to my TBR/To Buy pile lol

  • This sounds ahh-mazingly strange and could give a new kind of experience O_o
    Thank You!


  • Jo

    Me thinks someone missed this one. *grins* Should I tell her? LOL
    Awesome giveaway. As always.
    Think it's time to read for a while. I'm reading “the pledge”.

  • I really like the cover because it looks like an old photograph. Great review as always.

  • This book sounds really cool, and right up my alley. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Wish me luck and thanks!

  • This sounds utterly fantastic! I absolutely cannot wait. Definitely going on my wishlist.

  • Ahh this sounds brilliant! I'm really curious how the story comes together and I love the ambiguity and uniqueness you describe. Thanks for the chance to win a copy. I just might have to buy it either way!

  • Good luck, Carina! 🙂

  • Isn't it amazing? I was quite surprised when I saw copies of them in my local bookstore and even more so when I flipped through its pages! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  • Awesome! This book is a breath of fresh air. I hope you'll have the chance to read it. Good luck, Ro!

  • You're welcome! and good luck!

  • I hope you'll have the chance, Valerie. It's definitely a different pace from the usual YAs. Good luck!

  • Food for thought and a buffet for the eyes! Good luck 😉

  • Good luck! 🙂

  • Musical reference galore! I'm curious about the songs on Francisco's playlists. Good luck!

  • Heh. We're dating ourselves here, aren't we, Miss Wendy? 🙂

  • You're welcome, Natalie! Good luck 🙂

  • Thanks, Fara! I love music in books too. I hope you'll get to read this.

  • It wasn't what I was expecting, for sure! 🙂

  • Thanks, Precious. I agree with you. Same old, same old but this one is different, IMO. I hope you'll get the chance to read it. 🙂

  • It's quite unique. Good luck!

  • Ohh, this seems like a very interesting book 😀 I would love to win; and see if I will love it too. <3 Thank you for the chance :)
    Love, Carina

  • Awesome review! You described it beautifully. I finished reading CHOPSTICKS last night and adored it. I wish more books had unique formats like this. It's totally not what I expected when I ordered it from B&N (the formatting anyway), but I really really enjoyed it.

  • Thanks for the giveaway and the review /been on my wishlist

  • Thanks for the awesome giveaway- this book sounds fantastic!!! :))

  • I'd love to read this one. Thanks for the chance to win it.


  • Na

    Thank you for the review. I definitely liked how you looked in to mental thinkings of the characters. Madness or not? Hmm! Good food for thought.

  • 5 out of 5, oooh. Definitely interested. Thank you! 🙂

  • As a musician, I'm really curious about this one…thanks! 🙂

  • Um, I love the title, the cover, the MENTION OF THAT SONG, and I love you for hosting this giveaway, hah. Thank you!


    Author Gail Carriger shares her favorite romantic book scene at The Midnight Garden!

  • I've been curious about this book since I saw the trailer. Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • Music? Hello? Who wouldn't want to read this? This definitely goes to my TBR pile:D Great review, btw=D

    Fara @ Tumbling In Books

  • Tee

    I have had my eye on this book for sometime now. I cant wait to get it and start reading

  • I love the way you review this! “Ambitious and daring” – Wow. I like daring novels! It feels good to read something fresh and GREAT. Sometimes the patterns in YA wear me out, I look for gems in the YA pile. Great review!

  • Flo

    Seems an interesting book. I'm very curious about it! Thanks for the giveaway 🙂
    – Flavia