Piper Perish by Kayla Cagan
Publisher: Raincoast Books
Publication Date: February 28th 2017
Source: ARC from Raincoast
Link to the author: on Twitter
BUZZ WORDS: Art, Best Friends, New York City, Dreams
“Art is the only way to run away without leaving home”
This reminded me of The Carrie Diaries TV show if it was about fashion instead of art. Did anyone else watch that show? Something about the characters makes me think if you liked it, you’d enjoy this book.
Piper is a high school student who knows what she wants when she graduates, New York, and she has big plans for the future. Those plans involve her best friend Kit and her boyfriend Enzo, but those plans are quickly unraveled despite Pipers attempts to hold them together.
There were some typical high school clichés but for the most part it avoided them. For instance, romance isn’t the focus, the main character isn’t bullied at school despite her quirky nature and isn’t trying to figure out who she is or what she wants. In fact I thought it was a rarely found, authentic depiction of the high school experience. I liked that Piper was full of passion, making her strong if also emotional. There was drama, but it wasn’t the typical highschool stuff. The story focuses mainly on the relationships between Piper, her friends, and her family. I think Kit and Silas were my favurite characters, probably because they both loved Piper so much and tempered her emotional side. I wanted Piper to stop going on with Enzo and wise up about CJ, but that’s because I’m an adult now and I know better. It’s to be expected that a main character of that age is going to make poor choices, so I don’t feel I can hold that against the author. The one relationship that did annoy me was between Piper and her sister Marli. The mean older sister routine was so over the top. There’s no way parents would allow that kind of behavior, even the biggest push overs. At times it seemed like the author used the drama between Piper & Kit and Piper & Marli to teach her that she blows things out of proportion. But honestly, I don’t think Piper was ever out of line when it came to her sister, she was every bit as bad as Piper described her. I also didn’t feel the reconciliation between them was adequate. I’m really not sure what the theme or lesson was in this story but regardless I ended up really enjoying it. Mostly because of Pipers strong voice and the focus of the story didn’t follow the usual tropes.
It started out poor but became great. I even wish there had been less of the beginning and more about her life in New York, or even a sequel because it ended when it was starting to get really good.
In the beginning, I was going to DNF this story but I decided to keep reading. I’m really glad I did because it grew on me like a pretty little weed. (Quickly and full of color!) I’ve always been artistic and creative so I found it easy to relate to the main characters. Pipers obsession with Andy Warhol didn’t add to the story in my opinion. (It was never explained why he, in particular, was such an inspiration to her.) It is a diary entry writing style, which I don’t often enjoy but in this case, I think it really worked. The entries were fun, fast and Piper’s voice comes through loud and clear. Any artist is going to love and relate to this character and her story.
A big thank you to Raincoast for sending me a copy of Piper Perish for this review!