Book Review: Piper Perish by Kayla Cagan

Piper Perish cover imageFor years Piper Perish has had a plan to follow in the footsteps of her idol, Andy Warhol, and go to art school in New York City. She plans to escape her hometown of Houston with her two best friends, who are also artists. But everything starts to fall apart midway senior year when her boyfriend breaks up with her, her older sister becomes pregnant and moves back home, and several issues put a wedge between her and her best friend Kit. Channeling her stress into art saves Piper when she needs it the most.

Piper Perish by Kayla Cagan looks at a stressful time in life, graduating from high school and moving towards adulthood. Piper is a portrait of contradiction. She loves her parents, but she can’t stand the dynamic at home, where her sister’s mental issues take center stage. She wants to get away, but other than actually getting accepted into the only school she applies to, she doesn’t know how to make that happen. She wants things to go back to normal with her friends, but she takes actions she knows will make them mad and assumes they’ll get over it.

For someone so desperate to leave her current circumstances, I found Piper to be naive about the financial resources it would take her to do so, and unrealistic in limiting her opportunity for escape to one option. Her lack of planning meant only a fairy-tale-like solution would solve her problems.

I found Piper a hard character to like, and I would have preferred to know more about how she created her art and what made her so good at it. But I believe many teens are apt to identify with the conflicting emotions she experiences, which she communicates through diary entries that detail her life from New Year’s Day until the summer after graduation.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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