Gingerbread / Rachel Cohn.
Booklist Monthly Selections - #2 April 2002
Gr. 9-12. Sixteen-year-old Cyd Charisse's parents call her "Little Hellion." When she's kicked out of an exclusive boarding school, she returns to her privileged home in San Francisco, where she fights constantly with her mother and stepfather, who don't know about her recent abortion. She finds her place with new friends: a boyfriend Shrimp, a sexy surfer, and Honey Pie, an elderly woman who understands her secrets. After a broken curfew escalates into bitterness, Cyd is sent to her biological father in New York City. "Frank real-dad" isn't what Cyd had imagined: nor are his two grown kids. Cyd's New York experience helps her confront her most painful questions. Written in Cyd's hilarious, contemporary voice, Cohn's first novel is a fast, uncomfortable read. Bratty, spoiled, and prone to tantrums, Cyd is often unlikable and is all the more realistic for it. Some characters, particularly Cyd's parents, and details about the world of wealth occasionally collapse into stereotype, and Cyd spikes her honest, revealing speech with such aggressively hip words as crazysexy, which may date quickly. But teens will recognize themselves in Cyd's complex, believable mix of the arch and the vulnerable, the self-aware and the self-destructive, and also in her struggle between freedom and the protective safety of family. ((Reviewed April 15, 2002)) Copyright 2002 Booklist Reviews
Horn Book Guide Reviews 2002 Fall
Coming to terms with a recent abortion while still holding tight to her ragdoll, sixteen-year-old Cyd is kicked out of her boarding school and eased out of her mother and stepfather's fancy San Francisco home before landing in the Manhattan apartment of the biological father she barely knows. Like its heroine, this coming-of-age story is smart-mouthed and testy, sometimes a little too determinedly hip but ultimately appealing. Copyright 2002 Horn Book Guide Reviews
PW Reviews 2002 January #3
The 16-year-old "recovering hellion" (as her stepfather refers to her) who narrates Cohn's debut novel, breathes a joie de vivre into this story of her bicoastal family. Cyd Charisse (named for the dancer/actress), a wealthy and wild love child, begins her story after being booted out of boarding school. Nearly the first half of the novel is set in San Francisco, where she's having trouble settling back into life with a mother obsessed with weight and a perfect house, and a boyfriend, Shrimp, who suddenly wants his space. Her mother and stepdad agree to send her to her biological father in New York City, whom she's only met once (when he gave her Gingerbread, a still-treasured rag doll). Cohn creates a vivid sense of place and culture on both coasts and, although Cyd doesn't find the perfect family in either place, she is able to find a more mature version of herself. Plus, she learns to appreciate both sides of her family; she's even able to finally tell her mother about her secret abortion. Cohn covers a lot of ground, from prep school flashbacks to Cyd's discovery of the secrets on her father's side of the family. Some of the characters and plot points are more developed than others; for instance, Cyd's elderly hip and clairvoyant friend, Sugar Pie, and Shrimp may seem more vivid to readers than Cyd's younger West Coast half-siblings. In the end, it's Cyd's creativity and energy that keep the story on course, and her magnetic narrative will keep readers hooked. Ages 13-up. (Mar.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.