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Reading Between Classes

A unique perspective on YA Literature from a junior high teacher. 

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Another Little Piece

Another Little Piece - Kate Karyus Quinn This and other reviews can be found on Reading Between ClassesCover Impressions: I like the cover image and the muted shades. The font is well done and reflected just slightly in the pink of the cover model's tutu skirt. I do think it reads as fairly contemporary and worry that it may be missing out on the primary audience. Paranormal fiction readers may simply pass this one by on a shelf and contemporary fiction readers may be disappointed upon discovering that their mystery has taken a very strange turn.The Gist: Annaliese Rose Gordon has been missing for a year. When she emerges, she has no memory of her life, her parents or where she has been. As her memories begin to emerge, they are more gruesome than she ever expected and feature the faces of other missing girls, girls whose blood is on her hands.Review:Confession time: I do not read book blurbs. Well, that's not exactly true, When I discover a book name or cover that piques my interest, I read the blurb in order to confirm or disprove my first impression. However, there is usually a span of a couple of months in between requesting an ARC for review and actually reading it. In that time, I tend to forget anything that the blurb said other than the most basic facts. I also actively avoid re-reading the blurbs as they set up undue expectations or leave me waiting for a particular even to happen and ruin my entrenchment in the first part of the novel. Not reading the blurb is usually not a problem.In Another Little Piece, however, I was expecting a very different novel. The first few chapters had me settling in for a contemporary fiction/mystery novel about how an abduction victim re-gains her memory of the horrific events of the year she disappeared. When the paranormal elements took over instead, I was pretty much blindsided. I went back several times to re-read the passage and make sure that I was not missing something. That is not to say that I was disappointed. Quite the contrary. The change, while unexpected, led to an incredibly unique story that examined the blurry line between good and evil and the desperate lengths to which the soul will go in order to maintain self-preservation.I love that Anna was a self-proclaimed monster. I really enjoy reading books that turn the reader's idea of evil upside down and leave you siding with, essentially, a murderer (I'm looking at you Anna Dressed In Blood!). In recovering her memories, Anna discovers that she has been the perpetrator of some truly gruesome deaths and that she has made selfish choices time and time again. Despite this, and perhaps a little bit because of it, I loved her. I could see the great potential in the character and the horror of the choice that she is faced with.In a YA novel with a great female lead, I am often disappointed by the boy(s). But not here my friends. There was a great connection between Anna and Dex, who had his own super-special stuff going on. I also really appreciated that the OTHER BOY, Logan was just a great guy and that, despite this, it was clear from the beginning that he was not the one for Anna. No love triangle here folks! I did feel like the choice to keep Frankie in child's body for most of the book made him a little laughable and not the frightening character that he could have been. This did take a little of the tension out of the story.I am not sure if this book will lead to a series set in this world, but there is certainly room for expansion. There are a couple of side characters who could easily lead their own novel and I would love to see more of the mysterious Physician who acts as puppeteer behind the scenes.A note on content: this one is gruesome folks. Blood, bodies and cannibalism just to start. There are also a couple of scenes that feature sex between teenagers, though nothing is really described graphically.Highly recommended, buying it in hardcover, putting it in my classroom and highly anticipating anything else by Kate Karyus Quinn!Teaching/Parental Notes:Age: 15 and upGender: BothSex: Multiple instances of sex between teenagersViolence: LOTS OF BLOOD! Cannibalism, Physical Fighting, Attempted RapeInappropriate Language: Shit, Fuck, Whore, Fag, BastardSubstance Use/Abuse: Smoking, underage drinking, alcoholism