Published by Hardie Grant Egmont on September 4th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Amazon | Book Depository | Publisher | Angus & Robertson
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Alba loves her life just as it is. She loves living behind the bakery, and waking up in a cloud of sugar and cinnamon. She loves drawing comics and watching bad TV with her friends.
The only problem is she’s overlooked a few teeny details:
Like, the guy she thought long gone has unexpectedly reappeared.
And the boy who has been her best friend since forever has suddenly gone off the rails.
And even her latest comic-book creation is misbehaving.
Also, the world might be ending – which is proving to be awkward.
As Doomsday enthusiasts flock to idyllic Eden Valley, Alba’s life is thrown into chaos. Whatever happens next, it’s the end of the world as she knows it. But when it comes to figuring out her heart, Armageddon might turn out to be the least of her problems.
Jeann and I decided to buddy read The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl together this past weekend. It’s a novel that we were both really excited to pick up and it sounded like a really fun book to read together. So let’s start off with some general thoughts about the book.
Slightly boring plot…
Jenna: I went into the book with a little bit of a distorted view of what it was going to be about. From my very quick skim of the synopsis at the bookstore, I thought it was going to be about superheroes and baking… and it was, but there was a lot less baking and even less superhero action than I thought there would be. This is really an Aussie contemporary, coming-of-age story about a girl who is struggling to decide what to do with her life. She’s very comfortable being a country girl and she doesn’t necessarily think that she has to move away to a big city as soon as high school is over. But when you throw in an impending apocalypse, the decision gets even more difficult. My problem with this book was that the plot fell very flat for me. In part, this was probably due to my misguided view of what the book was going to be about. I just struggled to get into it and found the first half of the book to be quite boring. There wasn’t really anything happening and I didn’t have a good idea of what the book was about. It did get better as I progressed through it because the coming-of-age aspects were really well done, but it was really hard to come back from that bland beginning. What did you think Jeann?
Jeann: Oh man, I actually thought it was going to be a lot more exciting going into the book, seeing as I love superheroes and all. I didn’t even get the gist of the coming of age story until halfway through the story, but I found myself quite bored at times as well. I don’t know if I would’ve continued reading if we weren’t buddy reading Jenna! What did you think of the characters?
Interesting characters and friendship dynamics
Jenna: Yeah the buddy read was definitely a good motivation. In terms of the characters, I didn’t really connect with Alba. I loved that she loved comic books and that she loved to eat and bake. And I loved the struggle that she went through to decide what she wanted to do. But while I connected with and could relate to her situation, I couldn’t connect with Alba as the main character. She wasn’t dislikeable by any means but I wasn’t able to fully understand or relate to the way she approached the whole situation. I did like some of the side characters but they weren’t featured enough for me to really get to know them.
Jeann: I didn’t connect to the character either, Jenna! I liked how she was kind of quirky, how she’s taller and not afraid to dress how she wants without people judging her. But I was pretty annoyed with how every single guy liked her, she starts off having some platonic friendships with her two male best friends from childhood but lo and behold, of course they’re going to develop feelings for her. Her indecisiveness was also annoying as well because it’s obvious to everyone, including us reading the book that she’s in love with her best friend Grady. Alba also spends a lot of time whining and moping in the book which I found really annoying.
There were also so many side characters who we were introduced to at the start that I didn’t get a good feel for them either! What did you think of the friendship and the characters?
Jenna: I actually did like the friendships in the book and thought they were great. It was perhaps the aspect that I liked most in this novel. It was approached in a really authentic and genuine way, and I thoroughly enjoyed how close all the characters were to each other. I do have to agree with you that the romance in the book was like the biggest elephant in the room. It was impossible not to see it coming and I know the both of us were waiting for it to happen before we even got to the halfway point of the book. Ultimately, it was really sweet but it also felt a tiny bit cliched and predictable to me.
Jeann: LOL I was laughing when you called it halfway through and I was like duh, it’s so incredibly obvious! After all, Grady and Alba were way too touchy feely for just friends – they kiss each other on the cheek and also regularly sleep in the same bed together. Actually, I remember Alba kissing two other guys on their cheek or forehead and I’m like, wow I have lots of guy friends and I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that! I wasn’t a fan of Daniel though, I thought he was a douche and how many times did they need to mention his abs? That was so annoying it even became an inside joke with the characters! *eye rolls*
Jenna: Yeah I felt exactly the same way! Grady and Alba were definitely way too touchy feeling. And she did definitely kiss other guys on the cheek, including Daniel, who I didn’t like either. He was a massive jerk and I definitely don’t need to hear any more about his naked chest or his six pack.
Jenna: Okay, let’s recap our thoughts on the book. I found The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl to be a little bit boring and hard to get into but it did start to redeem itself at about the 200 page mark. I thought the ending was adorable and wrapped up the story really nicely. The writing was quite easy and quick to read but the chapters were long and it dragged at times. I loved the coming-of-age and friendship aspects of the novel but I didn’t feel connected to the characters enough to really love the book.
Jeann: Yeah, I found it pretty boring too. Although that being said, as predictable and cliche as it was, I actually really liked the ending and got all the feels for Grady and Alba. I love best friend romances and this one felt really authentic, as frustrating as it was at times. The coming of age aspect was pretty lost on me, because it was annoying that Alba was so indecisive. It was also weird how they talked about the future a lot when there’s an impending apocalypse. Like why would that be relevant?
Jenna: I felt that way too. But I guess it was because of the uncertainty of the whole situation. Nobody was sure if the apocalypse was real and it added to Alba’s indecision. Overall, I think I can recommend this book if you’re looking for a coming-of-age story that feels very Aussie. But the first half to two-thirds of the book was flat and boring for me. I’d rate this 3 out of 5. How about you?
Jeann: Yeah, I think I’d give it a 3 too. The ending and quirkiness really made it for me, even though it was kind of boring at times.
Rating: 3 out of 5