Thursday, September 16, 2010

REVIEW: Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn

"I have promised to be a model citizen daughter....I have confined my Shrimp time to making out with him in the Java the Hut supply closet and quick feels on the cold hard sand at the beach during our breaks, but enough is enough....Delia and I are planning a party at Wallace and Shrimp's house and I am spending the night whether Sid and Nancy notice or not. I will be as wild as I wanna be."

After being kicked out of a fancy New England boarding school, Cyd Charisse is back home in San Francisco with her parents, Sid and Nancy, in a household that drives her crazy. Lucky for Cyd, she's always had Gingerbread, her childhood rag doll and confidante.

After Cyd tests her parents' permissiveness, she is grounded in Alcatraz (as Cyd calls her room) and forbidden to see Shrimp, her surfer boyfriend. But when her incarceration proves too painful for the whole family, Cyd's parents decide to send her to New York to meet her biological father and his family, whom Cyd has always longed to know.

Summer in the city is not what Cyd Charisse expects -- and Cyd isn't what her newfound family expects, either.

I had a massive stack of paranormal YA books on my TBR pile today, some that needed to be finished pretty urgently for whatever reason. And I just wasn't feeling it. There's only so much I can take, right? So I went to my shelves and picked the slimmest realistic fiction book I could find to give myself a break. And oh boy, am I glad that my hands landed on Gingerbread. I'd had this book for awhile, but never gotten around to it. Partially because of that cover. I thought it was more of a pre-teen type of thing with the rag doll, and I really couldn't be more wrong about it. And the rag-doll turned out to be quite central to the story.

I really loved this book right from the first page. Cyd Charisse is such a fun character with a very unique voice and personality. She really had me laughing. Especially as she's so bold and at the same time really quite vulnerable. She gets kicked out of her East coast boarding school for bad behaviour and is sent home to San Francisco. Her only friends are an old woman in a nursing home and her short, surfer-boyfriend, Shrimp. Cyd Charisse's relationships with her mom and step-father (Sid and Nancy!) are tested beyond the limit and she's sent off to her biological father in New York.

Oh Cyd Charisse. She's off-the-rails a bit, with the sex and the attitude, but you can see how much it stems from the events that led to her getting kicked out of boarding school and her weird family structure. What Cyd Charisse is going through? The only YA novel I've ever read which has dealt with it in this way. I don't want to spoil it for anyone, even though it's told quite early on. But I approve. And I loved the journey that Cyd was on.. even with her confusing familial relationships and the decisions and mistakes that those around her made, she was able to grow up a little bit and put things more into perspective.

I love being surprised by a book like I was with Gingerbread and I cannot wait to read the other book in this series, Shrimp and Cupcake. More Cyd Charisse please!


  1. Does Rachel Cohn normally write with someone else? This sounds fabulous. I love the character names and the first paragraph had me.

  2. Vivienne - yes, she's written several books with David Levithan - Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, Naomi and Ely's No Kiss List (I think it's called?) and I think they have a new one out as well. But she also wrote Gingerbread and two sequels, another series and a couple of one-offs!

  3. I read this a couple of years ago and loved it. Glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Sophie - did you read the others in the series? Are they just as good?

  5. Haven't really heard of this one before, but it sounds fantastic. And I love the cover for this too. Will be on the look out for this one if I see it at a store near by!

  6. thebookfairyhaven - Ooh, definitely look out for it, it's fantastic!

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