Book Review: The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl – Melissa Keil *****

UK Publishing Date: 1 Apr 2016. 384 pages.

Sarah Jane, known as Alba, lives in a small Australian town called Eden Valley. Nothing ever happens there and she loves it like that. Her mum runs the local bakery and she spends her life in a cloud of cinnamon and sugar drawing comic book picture strips. It would be cool if things could stay that way but then this wouldn’t be the best coming of age story since Pretty in Pink.

Year twelve is over and all of the high school graduates are making plans for their future. Colleges and design courses and moving to a big city. It’s all a bit a scary and there are big decisions to be made. She could stay at home and work in the bakery or there is a whole world out there to be explored including the possibility of Design school. Here in the Valley Alba is surrounded by the friends that she has known all her life and of course, her best friend Grady.

In the heat of a scorching Australian summer a crackpot presenter announces the world is going to end on New Year’s Eve and the only place that is going to survive is Eden Valley. In no time at all the small town is starting to fill up with hippies and strangers all waiting for the apocalypse to happen. One of the visitors to town is a minor celebrity. An actor in a small soap opera who had left town at the age of ten, Daniel used to be best friends with Grady and Alba. His presence in the group causes a bit of friction and forces Grady and Alba to rethink the plans that they were making for their futures.

Cinnamon Girl is a beautifully written book. The entire town of Eden Valley comes to life at Melissa Keil’s fingertips. You can feel the heat and smell the unwashed campers at the farm or the scent of the apple strudels cooking in the bakery. All of the characters are so vibrant and fully fleshed that you feel like part of the group. It is a rare find to have a sassy lead female who isn’t the slimmest or prettiest girl in town but she is happy as she is and comfortable in her own quirky style. And of course there are the comic books and the pop culture references. In my head I am already casting the movie because it WILL happen.

Supplied by Net Galley and the Publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl

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