Monday, 2 January 2012


Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn
Paperback, 176 pages

Published March 8th 2011 by Simon Pulse
(First published March 1st 2011)

My shelves: books-i-own, contemporary, read-in-2012, realistic-fiction, young-adult
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads
"I will be as wild as I wanna be."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.

My Review
I didn't really know what I expected of this book and upon finishing it, I'm still not quite certain of how I found it. I can appreciate Cohn's message and the potential of Cyd as a character but I don't think that the execution of these things were handled as well as they could've been. I thought that writing style was one of the biggest issues for me as I found it slowed me down - I wasn't used to the dialect which felt very superficial.

Cyd Charisse is our protagonist and she has traits that both annoy me and that I can admire. I felt as though there was a bit too much effort to make Cyd appear to be an outspoken and outlandish girl, which bothered me. Initially, she comes across as rather obnoxious, whiny and petulant. It is clear that Cyd is a difficult character and only as I read more of the book did I adjust to her personality and become more understanding of her. As I progressed throughout the story, I began to realise that a lot of what Cyd had gone through did contribute to her sometimes harsh thoughts and actions. 

I admire that there was a big message that we shouldn't judge people by our first perceptions, but there was also a lot of other lessons that Cyd could have potentially learned, but I don't feel that she completely realised this. Cohn tries to tackle a lot of subjects in this short novel and I think that she would've been more successful by trying to discuss fewer things, but in more depth. 

I really liked Cyd's friendship that she had with Gingerbread, an old doll that she had since her last meeting with her biological father. It may sound strange for a teenager, but it helped me as a reader to connect more with her and her sentiments. Both Cyd's romantic and familial relationships were intriguing. Though some of the characters felt unnecessary, such as Leila the housemaid, and some were very stereotypical, such as Nancy, her mother. Shrimp, Cyd's boyfriend, seemed like an interesting character and I can see that he could be developed well in the next novel in this trilogy, but the romance between them both became a little obsessive and tedious.

This isn't a book that I'd particularly recommend, but it isn't something that was disastrously bad.I'm not eager to read the next instalment of the Cyd Charisse series and I feel as though I may have liked it slightly more as a younger teen. 


  1. Hmmm, doesn't sound like a great book and that's unfortunate. I have a feeling that Ms Cohn relies a bit too much on the setting (New York City) for her stories. It's not a bad thing when the goal is to explore said city... but in a story of growth?

    Is there a lot of monologues in this book? I find that's another flaw in her writing.

    Oh wait, this is going to be a trilogy?!

  2. I definitely liked this book back when I read it in 7th grade. Thinking back on it, that was so long ago. Haha. It's still sitting on my shelves but I'm not sure if I'd ever get to it again or not.

  3. Good and honest review. I'm not sure that I like the name Cyd Charisse for a character, as the real Cyd C. was a movie actress from long ago and this might be an attempt to entice older readers like myself :) But that ploy doesn't always work!

  4. Very thoughtful insight into what you didn't like, and superficial dialogue is also what I struggle with as well when reading a book. It has to feel genuine, it must be comfortable and natural, otherwise it's just forced and not pleasurable to read. I like the idea of this story, though, so it's too bad the execution didn't work out. A lot of times, it feels like that's where the editing needs to come into play :(

    Thanks for swinging by my blog! I look forward to interacting with you and feel free to connect with me anytime!

  5. Never heard of this one, but I don't think it'd be the kind of book for me. Cyd doesn't seem like a character I'd be able to connect to. And the name "Shrimp" immediately puts me off. I just think of food :P. Great review, thanks! :)

  6. I had no idea Rachel Cohn already had a published book! I only know her because of her book Beta, which I assume will be targeted at an older YA audience, so maybe that will be more to your liking?

    A lovely detailed review. :)

    Sam @ Realm of Ficton

  7. Thanks for the honest review! I read this one (as well as the other two) a couple a couple of years back, and while I remember liking them overall, I don't remember much else about the series. However, I do agree on really liking Cyd's character as well as being intrigued by Shrimp. Hopefully you'll enjoy the series more as you continue with it!

  8. Interesting use of the name of the famous of the dancer from way back when, Cyd Charisse.

    On to a better book, I hope.

    Happy New Year!

  9. Thanks for the follow! I'm returning the love :-)
    This book sounds interesting... gotta love the title :-) haha!
    I hope you enjoy the next book you read better thank this one!

  10. Hmm, I wasn't the biggest fan of her writing style either when I read Dash & Lily's Book of Dares, so I think I'll pass on this one.

  11. I wasn't sure what to expect either from the summary but your review sort of gives me a better idea. I think I'll probably skip this one because it sounds like a lot of the issues that were tackled weren't done so in depth. Great review though!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog. I'm now following you back :)

  12. I was curious about this book, so I appreciate the honest review. The "younger teens" observation probably means I can take this off my list!

  13. I really enjoyed this book, but I listened to it as an audiobook. The narrator was perfect - she hit that tone of "older than her years" slightly sarcastic teen exactly right.

  14. Ack! Half my comment is missing... okay, I can't remember exactly how I worded it, but I also wanted to say, I don't know if I would give this to younger teens - because of the abortion that the character gets and some of the really emotional moments later in the book when she reunites with her (crappy) dad.


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