While I was meandering through the showroom floor at SIBA11, trying my hardest to be good and only take books that made my pulse race, I stopped by the Penguin table. And The Temptress, also known as Doni Kay, put this book in my hands and told me I had to read it. She gave me the top-line synopsis (young piano prodigy's descent into madness told via pictures, scrapbook items and direct messages) and off I went, predictably, with my pulse racing. I read the book that night in the hotel, despite my exhaustion. And came back the next day to talk about it. This book really WAS all that and an order of fries. Let me give you a little more info about this creative mind-twister...
Synopsis: Glory is a teenage piano prodigy that has been raised by her widowed father, and remembers her mother only through old photo albums and old wine bottles that she had collected. One day, a handsome artistic boy moves in next door, and Glory becomes infatuated with him, creating tension between her and her father. Glory steadily unravels and soon the only thing she can play on the piano is "chopsticks".
But as the story ends, the reader questions what is real and what is fantasy.
In a story told completely with photos, drawings, ticket stubs, Youtube links (that are real), direct messaging, and clipped newspaper articles, it is all about the power of observation and noticing the little details. Guaranteed to inspire multiple re-reads. (Publication date tentatively 11/1/11, marketed to ages 7th grade and up.)
My thoughts: My first regret is that I cannot show you pictures within this book...they are what makes this read something special. Unfortunately my copy is an unfinished one, and Penguin isn't releasing the illustrations until the book is officially published. But the concept is quite clever. It is part scrapbook, part graphic novel, part "I-Spy" game, all telling a story that is a mystery.
It may seem at first glance that you can flip this book casually, when you are killing a few minutes here and there. If you do, you certainly are not going to pick up on the subtle clues buried within the pictures. You are going to want to pay attention.
Which is, in fact, both the beauty and the downfall of this book. Once you figure out what is really happening in the story, you break out into a big smile and go "Ohhhhhhhhh", then immediately flip back through the pages. But the real question is, will the reader "get" it? My 8th grade daughter read it and had no clue what was going on. After Kathy finished it, she and I had to text awhile to talk through it. I almost think it would be best to market this book by emphasizing the twists hidden within, so the reader knows to look for it.
I'm thrilled at this concept of scrapbooking stories, and letting pictures talk. It goes beyond the graphic novel to something more visual, more intuitive, more tangible. I saw one other novel at SIBA11 that was very similar called "The Scrapbook of Frankie Pratt" by Caroline Preston (review coming next Friday) that equally engages both sides of the brain. I look forward to this new trend in literature.
4 out of 5 stars