Wednesday 17 October 2012

Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn

Pages - 205
Published by Simon Pulse in 2002
My own copy.

My so-called parents hate my boyfriend, Shrimp. I'm not sure they even believe he is my boyfriend. They take one look at his five-foot-five, surfer-shirt-wearin', baggy-jeans-slouchin, Pop-Tart-eatin' spiked-haired-head self and you can just see confusion firebombs exploding in their heads, like they are thinking, Oh no, Cyd Charisses, that young man is not your homes.
Dig this: He is.

After getting tossed from her posh boarding school, wild, willful, and coffee addicted Cyd Charisse returns to San Francisco to live with her parents. But there's no way Cyd can survive in her parents' pristine house. Lucky for Cyd she's got Gingerbread, her childhood rag doll and confidante, and her new surfer boyfriend.
When Cyd's rebelliousness gets out of hand, her parents ship her off to New York City to spend the summer with "Frank real-dad," her biological father. Trading in her parents for New York City grunge and getting to know her bio-dad and step-sibs is what Cyd has been waiting for her whole life. But summer in the city is not what Cyd expects -- and she's far from the daughter or sister that anyone could have imagined.
This book was like a big slice of New York pizza with a side order of California. I jumped eagerly into this book and found myself drooling at the places I have only dreamed of visiting. This author made me want to go to America NOW!
I 've wanted to read a book by Rachel Cohn for some time, so I was pleased to pick up the first book in this series. 
I loved Cyd Charisse even though she gave her parents hell - if she was one of mine I might have given her up for adoption by now, but luckily her parents don't. Cyd has a lot of things going on in her head.She is angry and is completely out of control in the beginning of the book, so her parents decide to send her to spend time with her real dad. Now from the way the book is described, I expected this visit to occur near the beginning of the book, but it didn't happen until over half way through, so I do feel the blurb on the back is slightly misleading. 
When Cyd finally meets her dad, it doesn't take her long to realise the grass isn't greener on the other side. Even though her brother and sister are just fabulous, she soon realises that her mum and step dad, Sid really do love her and only want the best for her. Her relationship with her mother has always been difficult, but it surprised me how well she got on with her step father - their relationship was much stronger than her relationship with her mother. I found that really lovely and very sweet; I do think step fathers are often under rated in books, usually portrayed as cold hearted and uncaring,  so Syd  was a wonderful alternative and definitely came out as Top of the Pops. (Sorry, couldn't resist) 
Cyd has a fixation with Gingerbread, which becomes clearer as the story progresses. She is just a little girl, remembering something  really important from her childhood.  
The main reason for Cyd's anger and bad behaviour is because of the abortion she suffered alone at a very young age, so it was lovely to finally see her relationship with her mother improve by the end of the book. As you can see, this book doesn't shy away from important teenage issues, such as underage pregnancy, drugs, sexuality and eating disorders, all of which are touched on within the book and dealt with comfortably. 
This is a tiny book, with really short sharp chapters told in first person by Cyd, who talks like a real teen, which I had to get my head around a little. She came across as a typical American teen who gets everything she asks for.  She is full to the brim of attitude to begin with, but that fizzles out quite a bit as she realises her life isn't so bad. She is really quite adorable by the end of the book.
This is a great contemporary YA read, set in stunning and droolworthing settings, with a cast of entertaining characters. A quick and easy read that will quickly establish Cyd Charisse into your life. 


  1. I read this trilogy a couple of years ago and absolutely loved it. Cyd is a brilliant heroine.

  2. Hmm, not too sure if I like the sound of this one or not though I do like the fact that it doesn't shy away from teenage issues. Great reviews, thanks Vivienne.

    By the way I posted my review of the Emily Windsnap book today.

  3. I need to go buy this book. Sounds fab. Great review.

  4. This sounds like a book I need to buy and soon, fab review :)

  5. Oh I love that you've read and reviewed this book! I remember reading this one awhile back and thinking how wonderful it was to read a book about abortion that's handled so well. Usually in tv programmes/films the only people who have abortions are evil and I hate that that is a message that people are coming across. I really loved Cyd as a character. I haven't read the next books in the series though, will you be reading them?


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