Review: Piper Perish by Kayla Cagan

Piper Perish inhales air and exhales art. The sooner she and her best friends can get out of Houston and into art school in New York City, the better. It’s been Piper’s dream her whole life, and now that senior year is halfway over, she’s never felt more ready. But in the final months before graduation, things are weird with her friends and stressful with three different guys, and Piper’s sister’s tyrannical mental state seems to thwart every attempt at happiness for the close-knit Perish family. Piper’s art just might be enough to get her out. But is she brave enough to seize that power, even if it means giving up what she’s always known?

Debut author Kayla Cagan breathes new life into fiction in this ridiculously compelling, utterly authentic work featuring interior art from Rookie magazine illustrator Maria Ines Gul. Piper will have readers asking big questions along with her. What is love? What is friendship? What is family? What is home? And who is a person when she’s missing any one of these things?


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Just finished reading Piper Perish, I have dried tears in my cheeks and it’s 3:30 am (at the time I’m writing this). I was planning on going to sleep and writing my review when I wake up in a few hours with one heck of a book hangover but I HAD to write it now.


“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.” —Pablo Picasso


Piper Perish is an eighteen year old girl who’s dream is to go to art school in New York City with her two best friends, Enzo and Kit. She’s a big fan of Andy Warhol, such a fan that she even looks like him. Her last months as a high school senior are bananas. The book begins on New Year’s Eve, Piper has a terrible first day of the year. Let’s just say it involves someone getting out of a closet (who may or may not be her boyfriend), a whole lot of nudity in front of a whole lot of people and a very, very strange dance with some scarves involved. I would be lying if I told you her year got better from that moment on. For about seven months it is just one unfortunate event after another. And I’m not saying more because I want to keep this as spoiler free as I can. I will only add that she has the coolest art teacher ever (I need an Adams in my life ASAP). And she has the worst, THE WORST, sister ever. I can’t even tell you how many times throughout the book I wanted to kick her butt. Go read the book so you know what I’m talking about.


Now, onto the things I like about this book. Wish I could write just one big I LOVE EVERYTHING. But I want this to be longer than three words so I’m going to mention some of the things that like the most.

Piper Perish is written as if it was her diary. It is very emotional and raw. I like it because I feel as if I was actually sneaking around reading someone’s diary, LOL. And that makes it very easy and fun to read.

Art is my life. So I fell in love with the art theme of the book. Love the cover, love that she’s an artist, love that her friends are artists. It also has some of Piper’s paintings/drawings and streaks of paint and doodles here and there and it makes everything feel very real.

There are a lot of moments during the book where I felt connected to Piper. I felt her anger or her sadness. Maybe because I’ve gone through some of the things she went through in the book or maybe because Kayla Cagan has some secret super power to make you feel as I you were actually living Piper’s life.

I cried like a baby at the end of the book. Don’t worry, it’s not a sad ending and I think most people won’t shed a single tear and but I ADORE the ending so much that I had to cry some happy tears.

When you finish reading it with dry eyes you’ll think that I’m a crazy cry baby (that’s 100% true).

WHY did it have to end?! I wanted this book to last forever.


Reading Piper Perish is such an amazing experience. It doesn’t have a lot of laugh-out-loud moments, not that I remember anyways. Then again I have the worst memory. Just know that you are for sure going to have a fun time reading it. There are zero boring moments in Piper Perish’s life.

I do think people who are no longer young adults (sorry, my old folks out there) might not appreciate and/or like this book as much as a young mind would.

If you are a teenager then I suggest you go to your nearest bookstore (right now) to buy this book and then go back (running as fast as you can) to your house and settle in your favorite place to read and devour this lovely book.


Tiny warning: Piper’s sister may give you murderous thoughts in some (read: most) scenes. Don’t you hate not knowing what I’m talking about? Go read this book.

5 / 5 flowers


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