REVIEW: Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

anotherlittlepieceAnother Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn
HarperTeen, 2013
[Goodreads] [Amazon]

On a cool autumn night, Annaliese Rose Gordon stumbled out of the woods and into a high school party. She was screaming. Drenched in blood. Then she vanished.

A year later, Annaliese is found wandering down a road hundreds of miles away. She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know how she got there. She only knows one thing: She is not the real Annaliese Rose Gordon.

Now Annaliese is haunted by strange visions and broken memories. Memories of a reckless, desperate wish . . . a bloody razor . . . and the faces of other girls who disappeared. Piece by piece, Annaliese’s fractured memories come together to reveal a violent, endless cycle that she will never escape—unless she can unlock the twisted secrets of her past.

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How do you review a book that’s told in such a fractured way that every little thing you could mention would be a major spoiler? A book with such an unreliable narrator that you aren’t even sure which way is up for the majority of the story? One that was so brutal and gruesome and yet amazing that I was, at times, trying to read the words between my fingers? To be perfectly honest, I’m not sure, and that’s the conundrum I face while trying to compose this review for Another Little Piece. While I had been warned that this book was a bizarre one, nothing really prepared me for just how unique this story – and its method of storytelling – really was. Just like Annaliese is a fractured mess, so is this story; and I shall work extremely hard to try to make sure this review does not fall into the same category.

First of all, let me get this one warning out of the way first. This book is not for the faint of heart. Seriously, if strong and unapologetic depictions of violence and gore aren’t your thing, you probably want to steer clear of this one, or at least be well aware of what you’re getting yourself into. I am not necessarily one who shies away from gruesome descriptions, but fully admit that at times – particularly at a scene that’s referenced and re-shown several times throughout this book – I was cringing away from my Kindle and squinting at the words because I couldn’t quite believe what I was reading. And any book that can give me such a visceral reaction is clearly doing its job; I just want everyone to know that they can expect that sort of response because it kind of hit me over the head a bit and had me pretty much staring wide-eyed at the page.

When I called this book a fractured mess, I wasn’t really lying. It’s not a mess in the sense that it’s terribly written or even bad at all, because it’s not. This book is excellently written and achieves its goal – confusing its reader (ha!) – quite well. But the story is told through our narrator, Annaliese (or Anna), and she is suffering some significant memory loss thanks to having been missing for nearly a year. Her background – which is dark and horrible and (here’s that word again!) gruesome – is told via flashbacks that she has that are triggered by words or phrases or things she experiences. As Anna tries to piece together her past, so does the reader, because things don’t make a whole lot of sense at the start. As Anna tries to reconcile herself to Annaliese’s life, she soon realizes that she’s just not right, that she doesn’t belong, and that she has to figure out who and what she is if she’s going to try to fix things. There is an extremely fast pace to this story, which helped with the frenetic and crazy energy Anna has through most of the story, even when she’s completing mundane tasks like attending school. This pace also helped carry along the confusion which is with the reader pretty much from beginning to end, and – for me at least – really helped bring the book to life and keep me engaged. Even though parts had me cringing, I HAD to figure out what the heck was going on; calling this book compulsively readable wouldn’t be much of a stretch.

Another Little Piece is not going to be a book for everyone. The style of storytelling and its unapologetic nods to the horror genre – which this fits right into – will bother a lot of people, and I don’t just mean that because of the subject matter or content. I’m still not positive I’ve fully comprehended the ending, which I personally have no problem with because I like books that make you think and actually use an open-ending to its advantage, but realize is not something everyone likes. My one piece of advice is to go into this fully expecting the unexpected, because never has a title been more appropriate: Another Little Piece will leave you grasping at the pieces and guessing until the very end.

4stars

An e-galley was provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

EXTRA: Margot from The Real Fauxtographer has created a faux-to for Another Little Piece that pretty much captures the brutality of this book in a single snapshot. Check it out HERE, but be forewarned that, like the book itself, it too is not for the faint of heart!

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10 Responses to REVIEW: Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

  1. ChrissiReads says:

    Great review. This book confused me so much but I LOVED it. So unique.

  2. Candice says:

    This book was just… awful! I mean, in the very best way. It was heart-racing and cringe-worthy. I loved it! The story was fantastic and had me guessing up until the very last page, shuddering as I visualized all the horrific scenes. I’m so glad you liked this one – I really want to see more people enjoying it! Great review!

    • Merin says:

      It really was! I loved it, but at the same time was horrified by what I was reading. It was so different from what I usually read, but I’m really glad I took a chance on it!

  3. Jayd says:

    Seems like my kind of book! I will try my best to check this one out. Do you know when it is released?

  4. Pingback: Stacking the Shelves #57 | Read and Reviewed

  5. MsJohannah says:

    I can’t wait to read this one!

  6. Hmm I am not sure whether or not to read this book. On the one hand, I really love unreliable narrators and books that experiment with stream-of-consciousness and different narrative techniques. On the other hand, I don’t like being freaked out or grossed out. This story sounds like it contains both these aspects in large amount. I’m glad that it worked out really well for you. As for me, I think this may be one of those books I’ll read if it comes my way, but I won’t go out of my way to acquire it.

    • Merin says:

      I can totally understand your hesitation. When I first requested this one from Edelweiss, I had no idea how brutal it would be. It was worth it for me because the story was phenomenal, but I can definitely understand why others would be leery to read it themselves.

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