Another Little Piece was a strange and interesting book. This is Kate Karyus Quinn’s debut novel and as far as debuts go, this is very impressive. This is one of those rare books that creeps up on you as you are reading it. It starts off as something you picked up maybe on a whim, and before you know it, you can’t stop reading it. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
The book starts with the sudden reappearance of Annaliese Rose Gordon after being missing for almost a year. She has no memories except for the sense that she’s not Annaliese. Her own name sounds wrong, so she starts calling herself Anna, which sounds a lot like herself. She hears of the strange circumstances that surrounded her disappearance. She tries to piece her memories back together, both anxious and scared that she might not like what she remembers about herself. Meanwhile, she is also trying to adjust to life with her parents and the mundane task of attending school. Her pursuit of her memories reveals a horrifying truth that she must face if is she is to break free.
Another Little Piece was pretty ambiguous initially and this was to be expected since we followed the protagonist’s narration and she had no memories of her life. What was commendable was the sense of wrongness that ‘Anna’ feels immediately; there was no cheap twist at the end. Quinn built that sense from the very beginning, right up to the end. This made the end feel natural and the only possible outcome for Anna. The writing was compelling and it reflected the confusion that Anna must feel but it was also beautiful prose. It is also a somewhat slow book, Quinn takes her time revealing Anna’s past and while this did irk me initially, once I got used to the pace, it did not bother me anymore. In fact, I grew to like it, like I was reading a very carefully crafted tale that had to be told a certain way and could not be hurried up. The narrative also constantly shifts between the present and Anna’s memories, giving us only tantalising hints at what must have happened. I also liked that she used poems that Annaliese wrote to give us a sense of what the ‘real’ Annaliese was like. I was glad for that insight. And I loved the way it ended, it was a very satisfying end to an amazing story, it did not feel contrived or forced.
As far as characters go, I really liked Anna. She was believable and relatable. She was a very conflicted character, someone who desperately wanted to figure herself out. She knew that she did not belong with the people who had taken her in and yet she could not get herself to leave them, and this was both selfish and selfless. Selfish because she finally had someone, in her mother, who loved her unconditionally and would protect her from anything that would harm her and selfless because Anna could see that the mother needed her as much Anna needed her. Her relationship with ‘the mom’ was beautiful to see and I loved the way it developed. Anna’s parents were happy just to have her back.
One of the other notable characters was Dex, Anna’s neighbour and a bit of an oddball. I really liked him as well, he had the ability to calm Anna down and I loved him even more for accepting her even when she couldn’t accept herself. When she told him something that appeared to be outside the realm of possibility, he did not shun her or assume that she was still suffering from some sort of trauma, he genuinely tried to understand her. With him, she could be just Anna, she did not have to put up a show, did not have to pretend to be someone she wasn’t. Anna‘s relationship with her mother and Dex play a very important role in the way things finally played out. If not for them, perhaps things would have ended very differently.
Logan is another boy from school and he was also the last person to see Annaliese alive. The two of them have a history but they kept it a secret. When she returns, Logan is guild-ridden because he holds himself responsible for what happened to her. Though, he could be quite obsessive, there were moments where he was very sweet. I was also very happy that there were no annoying love triangles.
By far the most despicable person in the entire book was Eric. He was a jerk and a waste of space. He was absolutely vile, and yet, even with him, there were moments where maybe there was more to him. However, those moments were short-lived.
Another Little Piece has mystery and some elements of horror but it is never scary. It is one of those books that will have you emotionally invested in them without your realising it. It is not quite a page turner, rather something that needs to be read with ease, give the characters, give Anna, time to grow, gain more dimensions. I started this book with little to no expectations and it completely blew me away. I am now looking forward Quinn’s next book when it releases in June. If you like compelling characters, a great story and a tight plot, this is just the thing for you.