Another Little Piece: review

another little piece kate karyus quinnTitle: Another Little Piece
Author: Kate Karyus Quinn
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Release Date: June 11, 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
Age Group: YA
Source: ARC from publisher

Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn is a deliciously dark and savage debut. Please don’t mistake this for a typical YA paranormal story: it does not feature any screeching heroines, cliched scenarios, or last-minute romantic rescues. Instead, this is a strange, startlingly original horror novel that is beautifully written, thoughtfully considered, and yet somehow leaves you longing for more. Its fractured structure and ambiguous nature mean that it’s not a story that will work for everyone–but holy hell, did it work for me.

Annaliese Gordon is not who you think she is. A year ago, she was found on the side of the road, screaming and covered in blood, before she disappeared. Now she’s mysteriously come back, and can’t remember what happened to her–but one thing she knows for sure: the name you’re calling her is not hers.

With shifting timelines, shocking acts of vengeance, and the uncomfortable sensation of being constantly unbalanced, this oddly dreamy book captures the unsettling sensation of not being in your own skin–and despite its violence, despite its bloodshed, it somehow manages to make you feel pity for the cursed as well. I felt confused, and I occasionally felt frustrated, but what I felt most of all was incredible excitement at reading such an unusual story. It’s impossible to predict most of the events that unfold, and I loved that I was never entirely sure that I understood what was happening. It’s a book that practically demands a reread so you can pore over the fragmented pieces, although even then I don’t know that I’d come away with a clearer picture.

This book will not appeal to those who are impatient, those who need all their loose ends tied up, or those who need pesky explanations for absolutely everything. But for the reader who appreciates a finely rendered tale or relishes the macabre, this is a gloriously satisfying reading experience. Kate Karyus Quinn knows that to drag the monster screaming into the daylight is to rob it of its power–and that’s the very last thing that a good horror novel would ever do. Sign me up for whatever she’s writing next.

Strongly recommended for mature YA readers, and for fans of:  unreliable narrators, Nova Ren Suma‘s subtle, lyrical style, Kat Rosenfield‘s unusual story structure, Let the Right One In‘s antihero POV, and yes, the master of horror, Stephen King. But please, please ignore the comparison to Pretty Little Liars on the jacket copy.

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