Genre: YA Paranormal/Horror
Release date: June 11 2013
Source: e-ARC via Edelweiss
In a word: gorgeously written, full of complex relationships, cleverly revealed mysteries, and heartbreaking moments.
It was a poem. They all were. Three little scraps of poetry. Three little bits of Annaliese, crumpled and hidden away where no one would ever find them. Except I had. The last bits of Annaliese. Maybe the truest parts of her. And they fit into the palm of my hand.
Another Little Piece is a perfect title for this story. Quinn doles out clues in pieces, giving the reader just enough to raise more questions about what the heck is really going on in this book. This is not the kind of story you can breeze through, and if you’re easily frustrated by plots whose mysteries are not revealed until the end, you may not enjoy or appreciate Another Little Piece. But for the discerning and patient reader, this is a skillfully written story with lots of emotional depth, several terrifying moments, and some poignant relationships between parents and their children.
I can’t give you too much of the story without spoiling it, but here’s a quick run-down of the basics. When the story opens, Annaliese Rose Gordon finds herself in a strange family’s trailer in the middle of Oklahoma, unable to remember who she is or what she’s doing thirteen hundred miles away from home. According to her frantic parents who come to collect her and take her back to New York, she’s been missing for a year.
As Annaliese begins to try to re-acclimate herself into a life she doesn’t remember filled with people she doesn’t recognize, memories start bubbling to the surface, frightening memories with bloody images that don’t make any sense. Many of these memories seem to belong to someone else, another girl with a different name. Several kids at school seem familiar and trigger feelings of unease and familiarity, especially a boy named Logan who follows her around and wants to apologize for something that happened between them. She runs into an sinister boy named Eric who appears to be linked to her in some way. He knows all her secrets, especially the ones she can’t remember, and he seems determined to force her into a diabolical decision that she just isn’t ready to make.
At home Annaliese has “the mom” and “the dad” to deal with, who are reluctant to let her out of their sight. But she is strangely drawn to the mom in particular and manages to forge a bond with her, even though she doesn’t feel like her daughter at all. She also meets the enigmatic boy next door named Dex, a boy with his own secrets. Dex makes Annaliese feel safe, but as they grow closer and her memories start to return, she begins to fear that she will never have a normal life.
The story, narrated by Annaliese, jumps back and forth between the past and the present, as the reader gets glimpses about her true nature. I was confused at first by the author’s subtle clues that eventually add up to who—or what—Annaliese really is. When I was finally able to stitch these clues together, I had new questions that needed answering: why are these things happening to Annaliese? How does Eric figure into her life? And who the heck is The Physician? But after a while, I decided to stop asking questions and just go with it. Quinn’s words flow so beautifully and evoke such sad and horrible images that I honestly just wanted to keep reading them. Annaliese is a poet, at least that’s what certain clues are telling her, and the author begins each chapter with one of her poems, which are not only beautifully written but give us a peek into her past. Many of the relationships that she’s forgotten about are made a little clearer with each poem.
Some odd references to 70s and 80s pop culture had me baffled, and at first I thought maybe the story was taking place during one of those decades. But luckily that mystery is solved later in the book during one of the “ah ha!” moments when things started to click into place.
The relationships are what really stood out for me in this book, and the author explores all kinds: the sorrow of parents and children growing apart, the breathless feelings of budding romance and sexual discovery, and even the destructive kind where one person clearly has control over the other. Because Annaliese isn’t always sure where she stands with her friends and family, most of her relationships are tense in one way or another. It is only when she spends time with Dex that she feels like she can be herself, even though she suspects their time together is almost over.
Did I fully understand what was happening in Another Little Piece? No, and it really didn’t matter. What I was left with at the end was a broken but beautiful pastiche of events, which when looked at from afar creates a fractured glimpse into the complicated lives of these characters.
Many thanks to the publisher for supplying a review copy. The above quote is taken from an uncorrected proof and may be different in the finished version.
And check out the spooky trailer: