The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil

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The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil

Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: What would you do if you thought the end of the world was nigh? Congregate in a rural Australian town? But how would the adolescent inhabitants of said town feel about that? Fab coming of age story with an original backdrop. We loved it.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: February 2016
Publisher: Stripes
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 1847156835

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Alba and her friends have just finished high school. Now they must decide what to do with the rest of their lives. Move to the city? Enrol at university? Get a job and make a life in their rural Australian backwater? Pair off? Stay single? Alba herself must decide whether or not a career in art and comic books is possible. And if it is, is it worth leaving a happy life and a friendship group for? It's a frightening choice. Is she good enough? And in any case, the friendship group might disappear whatever she decides. Because each member of it has the same choice before them.

And then a strange YouTube video goes viral. An end-of-the-worlder is predicting an apocalypse. And the only town to survive it will be Alba's town. Before they know it, Eden Valley is swamped by apocalypse tourists, wanting to escape impending doom. It's mayhem. And not the ideal situation in which to make important life decisions.

Oh, honestly. I defy you not to enjoy this story, I really do. At its heart, it's a simple coming-of-age story in which a group of teenagers, headed by a relatable central character, must decide what path to follow to impending adulthood. But the setting is inspired. Against a backdrop of the capacity for bonkers behaviour carried by all humans, the erratic behaviour of adolescents who both want to grow up and are terrified by the very idea of growing up, seems so commonsensical. And of course, it is commonsensical. Rites of passage are. So, while hundreds of truly ridiculous adults converge on Alba's quiet home town to await a coming apocalypse, Alba and her friends navigate a real apocalypse of their own. I love YA stories whose laughs are directed at the grown-ups and so it is here with Cinnamon Girl. But the laughs are loving, not mean - another virtue of this thoroughly enjoyable story.

Alba is a great central character. She. Is. Not. Thin. And. This. Does. Not. Worry. Her. Hooray! She enjoys dressing up but in a kooky kind of way: to please herself, not an imaginary cohort of boys. She loves comic books and I think Keil must love them too, because the passages describing comic book panels are a delight. I'm not a fan of comics particularly but I felt like one by the time I'd finished this book, so vivid are these passages. Alba is also stubborn. She spends a lot of time navel-gazing but she never sees what's right in front of her. You can't help but love this girl who has so much going for her but who is so awfully afraid of making any decision in case she can't take it back later. The supporting cast is also beautifully drawn with every character rising from the pages in three, fully-rounded dimensions.

We don't get much in the way of Aussie YA here in the UK. Going by Cinnamon Girl, this is a shame. It's a fab coming-of-age story with a glorious sense of the absurd and just the right amount of romance - that is to say, not too much romance. More like this, please!

If Cinnamon Girl appeals, you might also enjoy Drawing with Light by Julia Green or That Summer by Sarah Dessen, both of which deal with coming to terms with impending life changes.

Booklists.jpg The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil is in the Top Ten Teens Books of 2016.
Buy The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil at Amazon.com.


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