Piper Perish

Piper Perish inhales air and exhales art. The sooner she and her best friends can get out of Houston and get to New York City, the better. Art school has 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 when it means giving up so much? Debut author Kayla Cagan breathes new life into fiction in this dynamic, 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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Praise for Piper Perish

Andy Warhol once said, “Art is what you can get away with.” Kayla Cagan just got away with a smart, complicated, emotionally-mature, coming-of-age story that leaps off the page and reminds you why you ever dared to dream. Bonus points for every Houston shout-out. (Rothko Chapel 4Eva)

Pamela Ribon

Piper Perish is the heroine I didn’t even know I was waiting for, so specific and unique, and yet universally relatable to anyone who’s ever longed for more. Kayla Cagan’s beautiful debut novel about art, friendship, and family resonated with me in the biggest and smallest ways. This book is for anyone who’s felt inspired, who’s felt rejected, who’s felt trapped where they are–yes, it’s possible this book might just be for everyone.

Amy Spalding, Author of The Reese Malcolm List, Ink is Thicker Than Water, Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys), and The New Guy (And Other Senior Year Distractions)

PIPER PERISH brings spark, originality, and artistry to a story about family and friendship, love and envy, and the place where dreams and reality clash. You’ll want to curl up inside this fresh, creative debut.

Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan, best-selling authors of The Royal We and Spoiled

With Andy Warhol as her muse and art school as her dream, Piper Perish is a character readers will root for. Style and wit, intelligence and heart, genuineness and longing: this girl is a gem. If you’ve ever yearned to be part of a bigger world than the one you were born in, you’ll find a home in this book

Jennifer Buehler, Ph. D., 2016 President of Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of NCTE (ALAN)

At once a glittering high school dream and the gritty reality of small-town life. It’s the Cinderella story for any artsy kid stuck in a dead-end town dreaming of life in the city, a life in which art surrounds you.

Marika McCoola, bookseller, educator, and New York Times bestselling author of Baba Yaga’s Assistant, Winner of the Eisner Award for Best Publication for Kids

Meet your new favorite book. Kayla Cagan brings a vibrant, irresistible new voice to YA fiction, and Piper Perish is engaging and beautifully real, from start to finish. A story that will break, heal, and warm your heart.

Sarah Skilton, Author of BRUISED and HIGH AND DRY

Get ready for all the feels! Urgent, funny, and achingly real, Piper Perish will pull you into her artsy, messy, and love-rich world on the first page and hold you tight until the very end. The voice is so fresh and intimate you’ll swear you’ve known Piper your whole life. I read this book on a tear and when I finished–breathless and teary and hopeful–I not only knew I’d discovered an amazing author, I also felt like I had a new friend. Stop what you’re doing and go read Piper Perish now!

Leila Howland, author of Hello, Sunshine

[Piper Perish is] A love-letter to the artistic life, filled with glamour, passion, hunger and heartbreak.

Hope Larson, New York Times best selling author, graphic novelist and two time Eisner Award Winner

Piper Perish is smart, fresh, and utterly engaging. Infused with a love and respect for art that that shines through on every page, Kayla Cagan’s debut is equal parts funny and heartbreaking. Once you get a peek into Piper’s diary, you won’t put it down.

Brandy Colbert, Author of POINTE and LITTLE AND LION

After reading Piper Perish I want to start my own handwritten, doodle-filled journal full of creativity, dreams, and adventures. This book captured that excitement I felt when I was a young artist full of hope tackling a big city. If a book could be my BFF, it would be this one.

Bonnie Burton, author “Crafting with Feminism” and “Girls Against Girls”

Piper Perish is like a season of Project Runway mashed up with Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give You The Sun. In Piper, Kayla Cagan has given us a fallible but ultimately lovable new heroine. It’s a portrait of the artist as a young woman, one likely to inspire anyone lucky enough to pick it up.

Tommy Wallach, NYT bestselling author of WE ALL LOOKED UP

Booksellers Love Piper Perish

Whether looking at her life, her artwork, or her outfits (and really, what’s the difference), Andy Warhol is Piper Perish’s idol.   Stuck in a small Texas town with a messed up sister, Piper’s dream has always been to head to NYC for art school with her two best friends. But dreams have a way of crashing down around you and Piper’s is no exception. A break-up, a failing friendship, and her family’s circumstances hack away at Piper’s dream. Will she be able to salvage the pieces? 

Piper’s life is at once a glittering high school dream and the gritty reality of small-town life. And it’s this dichotomy that ultimately fuels her art. It’s a novel that would’ve hooked me on contemporary realism as a teen; the Cinderella story for any artsy kid stuck in a dead-end town dreaming of life in the city, a life in which art surrounds you.

Marika McCoola, New York Times bestselling author of Baba Yaga’s Assistant, bookseller and educator.

Kayla Cagan has utterly captured the teenage voice in Piper, whose creativity and big dreams know no bounds. I loved the realness to her relationships with her friends and family – this isn’t something rife with teen angst, but rich with exploration, love, and change.All the subtle emotional complexities of being almost grown-up, almost independent, almost knowing yourself, are right there, just right, and it’s truly impressive to read.

Shoshana Smith, Bookseller, The Reading Bug, San Carlos, CA

Get ready for a hilarious peek deep in the heart of a Texan—funny and flawed Piper Perish. Her obsession with Andy Warhol and art leave her desperate to get to NYC for college with her best friend and her boyfriend. The fresh and immediate first person narration grabbed me right away, and I couldn’t wait to find out what was next. Fans of The Serpent King and I’ll Give You the Sun shouldn’t miss it!

Tegan Tigani, Bookseller, Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, WA

Cagan’s stellar debut follows hugely talented teen artist Piper Perish as she navigates love and heartbreak, the complicated nature of success, family crises, and the consuming worry of life after high school. Written with a delicate awareness of the concerns of the modern teen, PIPER PERISH is one the most absorbing contemporary YA novels I’ve read in recent years.

Sara Grochowski, Bookseller,  Brilliant Books, Traverse City, MG

Readers will fall in love with the fallible Piper Perish, for she’s learning how to fall in love with herself while navigating the intersections of family obligation, boyfriend betrayal, best friendship, and her own drive to create art. The ups and downs of her journey are part of the experience of (young) adulthood, and with Piper’s help, readers will learn to cherish each the same.

Niki Marion, Bookseller, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

Piper Perish is set to exchange Texas for New York as soon as she graduates. Off to a prestigious art conservatory with her two best friends it never occurs to her that NYC wouldn’t happen. Then one of them pulls out of the plan and the other doesn’t get in and suddenly Piper’s entire future is thrown into upheaval just when she needs to get out of Texas the most. Told in a series of diary entries, Piper Perish perfectly depicts the evolving heart of a girl on the edge of growing up and starting over.

Amy Brabenec, Bookseller, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA