The Chopsticks I read, is an unusual novel as it’s told mostly through photos, IM messages, and improbable letters and brochures for performances. It’s the story of a teenage romance between a piano prodigy and an Argentinian exchange student who moves next door. Gloria, the prodigy, loses her ability to perform after her romance starts. She seems to have some sort of break down and she can only play “Chopsticks.”
The novel suffers for lack of prose, we never know more than the superficial. Frank, the love interest gets kicked out of school. Somehow he got into an elite private school that suffered a lot of bullying. His grades in most classes except art and ESL were low, which is hardly surprising given that he needed ESL. I know that’s a minor point, but why would anyone think someone from another country, who needs to take English as a Second Language would do well in American history in a class of elite native speakers. It was frustrating that so little of these conflicts was fully described. None of the characters seemed anything but cardboard. The only saving grace is that it reads fast as there’s so little to read.
The photos are okay, but nothing spectacular. Most graphic novels offer much more with their drawings.
The book may interest teens, but it’s not the sort of Young Adult work that appeals to older readers as well.