Review: Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn
Published June 11th 2013 by HarperTeen
Another Little Piece is Kate Karyus Quinn’s debut novel. I read (Don’t You) Forget About Me last year, and it was one of my favourites of 2014. My expectations for Another Little Piece were very high, and I wasn’t disappointed.
They tell her her name is Annaliese. All she remembers is that she woke up five days ago in a shed. They tell her that she has been missing for a year, and there are whispers that she should have been dead. Annaliese tries to find out what has happened in the time leading up to her disappearance, and what happened during the time she was away.
When writing a summary for this book, it all sounds pretty normal. It could have simply been a contemporary novel about a girl that has lived through some pretty traumatic things. What isn’t instantly clear is that Another Little Piece has a kind of creepy magic realism setting. Think cannibalism and human sacrifice. Even though the setting is creepy, I wouldn’t say this book should be categorised as horror. I don’t feel like the intention of the writer is to scare the reader. The most scary scenes in Another Little Piece actually had nothing to do with the supernatural or gore – they were the ones about human evil, about rape and abuse. Ms Quinn really doesn’t keep anything from the reader, and the book is brutally honest.
The story is told through a combination of running narration, dreams, memories, and poems. Usually I’m not a fan of dream sequences because they tend to be too confusing and too crazy, so I liked that in Another Little Piece the dreams are kept short and sensible. I’ve read some complaints that the dreams contained too much plot, but honestly, I was glad for that. And it’s not all that far-fetched. I have dreamt entire book plots in the past; it’s not like every dream is messed up and jumbled. Some of them can seem incredibly credible.
I don’t want to say much about the magical aspect of the book, because that would spoil all the fun. I can only tell you that it’s weird, and it’s gross, and it puts our main character for an impossible dilemma.
If Another Little Piece is to be compared with Stephen King, it should be compared with Lisey’s Story and not The Shining. It deals with themes like identity, conciousness, and as aforementioned, rape and abuse. It has a sweet though slightly dysfunctional romance to lighten the mood. Though Another Little Piece didn’t pack the same emotional punch (Don’t You) Forget About Me did, it’s a great read and a fantastic debut.
On a cool autumn night, Annaliese Rose Gordon stumbled out of the woods and into a high school party. She was screaming. Drenched in blood. Then she vanished.
A year later, Annaliese is found wandering down a road hundreds of miles away. She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know how she got there. She only knows one thing: She is not the real Annaliese Rose Gordon.
Now Annaliese is haunted by strange visions and broken memories. Memories of a reckless, desperate wish . . . a bloody razor . . . and the faces of other girls who disappeared. Piece by piece, Annaliese’s fractured memories come together to reveal a violent, endless cycle that she will never escape—unless she can unlock the twisted secrets of her past.