PIPER by Jay Asher


by & ; illustrated by
Age Range: 12 - 17
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Asher collaborates with Freeburg and Stokely for a new take on the mysterious medieval tale of the “Pied Piper of Hamelin.”

White, red-haired Maggie feels isolated in her village of Hameln. Deaf since childhood, she speaks and reads lips to communicate but feels lonely due to the callousness of the townspeople. Her only solace is telling stories to her loving guardian, Agathe, and dreaming of romance. Prejudice isn’t the only problem in Hameln—the village is overrun with rats that destroy the village’s resources and rapidly spread disease. Things play out much as in the original tale with the addition of a romance that ends in tragedy—and a twist on the familiar ending. Unfortunately, the representation of disability lacks attention to detail; there are multiple panels in which a character is not in Maggie’s sight lines but Maggie responds as if she has read their lips. Stokely’s art is otherwise friendly and approachable, full of earth tones and individually rendered characters. Framing the graphic novel with an opening authors’ note titled “Seeking History in a Legend,” Asher and Freeburg attempt to situate their retelling as revelatory: “And we’ve waited over seven hundreds [sic] years to find out what [happened].” While Asher and Freeburg lean heavily on magic rather than history, in contrast to their opening, their interpretation may pique the curiosity of readers new to the story.

Neither illuminating nor truly inclusive. (Graphic fantasy. 12-17)

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 2017
ISBN: 978-0-448-49366-4
Page count: 144pp
Publisher: Razorbill/Penguin
Review Posted Online:

Kirkus Interview
Jay Asher
March 10, 2015

Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why is the gripping, addictive international bestseller that has changed lives the world over. It's an unrelenting modern classic. Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a strange package with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush, who committed suicide two weeks earlier. Hannah's voice tells him that there are 13 reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out why. Asher has recently been on a 50-state tour talking to teens about suicide. We ask him about the tour this week on Kirkus TV. View video >


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