Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn (HarperCollins, June 2013)-When the 17 year old girl that looks like Annaliese Rose Gordon emerges from the woods, covered in a trash bag, she has no idea who she is. Soon the authorities are alerted and she finds out that indeed she is Annaliese Rose Gordon. DNA doesn’t lie, and Annaliese has been missing for a year, ever since she came out of the woods covered in blood, then vanished without a trace. Her parents are ecstatic to have her home, but don’t know quite how to deal with her apparent memory loss. Annaliese doesn’t remember anything about her life, her parents, any of it, but one thing she does know: she is most definitely NOT Annaliese Rose Gordon. Soon, she starts having disturbing visions, visions of other lives and bloody encounters, but what does it mean? As Anna (as she now calls herself) begins to settle uneasily into Annaliese’s life, she also, through the visions, discovers a horrible truth. For many years she’s been jumping from one teenage girl to another, each year, in a gruesome exchange. This always happens on the girls’ eighteenth birthday, and Annaliese’s birthday is right around the corner. Her next door neighbor, Dex, has secrets of his own, and may hold the key to who, and what, Anna really is, and her attraction to Dex surprises no one more than Anna.
When I started Another Little Piece, I expected suspense, but I didn’t expect the clever supernatural twist. Anna has been jumping bodies for many, many years now, and by all rights, jumping to the next girl after Annaliese should be the easy choice, but things are changing. She gets to know the real Annaliese through a series of poems the girl has written, and the fierce love “the parents” have for their daughter is something Anna has never experienced. It’s obvious Anna didn’t have happy beginnings, and we get a glimpse of that, and slowly, the author reveals what led to the start of this soul exchange, and the man behind it. He brings creepy and obsessive “love” to a whole different level, especially when Anna meets him for the first time in Annaliese’s body. It’s a standout scene in the novel, among many. Anna’s narrative is tense and the story pulls you inexorably toward Anna’s final choice, before she must move on to the next body, and it may not be what you expect. Creepy, suspenseful, and surprisingly tender, teens and adults will find much to love (and be chilled with) in this unique thriller, and very unusual love story.