Book Review: The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl

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Author: Melissa Keil
Published: Hardie Grant Egmont, 2014
Pages: 294
Genre: Fiction, Young Adult, Contemporary
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4.5 out of 5 stars

Alba is an aspiring artist, living in a small town in Australia – which she loves. She thought she had it all figured out but lately things seem less clear and then the end of the world is foretold and throws her life slowly into chaos; out of that chaos though, things start to become clear.

For a while I have been trying to get my hands on a copy of this book. I have tried online retailers and searching bookstore catalogues, but all I can seem to find are Kindle editions, which makes me sad because I love to have physical copies of books; in the end, I had to cave and buy it in ebook format – it seems to be impossible to get a copy outside of Australia. Although, I still want a physical copy, I wish I had caved sooner, because I love this book!

First of all, I love the comic book vibe. Alba is an aspiring comic book artist and reading from her POV was mesmerising at times; from the first page I was captivated. I wish I could quote the whole first page, but here’s a little teaser:

“With the light glinting off her tiara, and the half-smile on her lips, Wonder Woman is so alive I swear you can see her breathing. The panel is a perfect, paused moment in time – it could be from the end, or the beginning of her story.”

It would seem I am a sucker for art in books and this book made me want to bury myself under a mountain of comic books and admire all the art. Alba’s sketches of Cinnamon Girl being portrayed as having a life of their own, the way in which Cinnamon Girl has a whole personality of her own, I adored.

The narration style in first person I love; this always gives it a more personal feel for me and I really feel as though I am being told a story. Alba was a joy to read about because as a character she was really well rounded – I could totally see myself being friends with her. The way in which art was infused into the way in which she thought was clever and well, just really cool I thought.

“It’s the weirdest thing to remember, like a tiny fragment of his picture I’d erased from my memory has drawn itself back in the frame.”

It wasn’t just Alba that I really liked either but also all the others as well. The other characters were fleshed out as well – as well as they could be in under 300 pages – and I liked their eclectic little group of friends. My heart is full of joy – which sounds really mushy, see what books do to me? – for the relationship between Alba and her best friend Grady. Seriously, I can’t even… It’s just beautiful.

Apart from the writing and characters, what I loved about this book so much is the fact that it’s so relatable. Here is a group of friends, whom live in a small town, having just finished school and things are about to change. Change plays a big part in this book and well, change can be scary.

“… but I know, with a certainty my stupid brain has done its best to ignore, that this moment – right here, with the people I love most – is not going to last.”

It’s that relatability of things having become so comfortable that the thought of something new is terrifying, even though you aspire for more.

“I know what I’m doing here. I like this version of me. What if…I’m no good at the rest?”

It was refreshing to read a book set in Australia and even though I loathe the sun and heat, I found myself wanting to visit this place – it may be a fictional place, not sure, but who cares? – just so I can meet the people and eat some apple strudel. There are baked goods, people – score!  The possible Armageddon element was a little bizarre but interesting to see how people behave and in the wake of the world possibly ending, what surprising and happy results can occur. The only one little thing I would say is that there was once or twice that I felt it slowed a little and more needed to happen but apart from this tiny issue I love this book.

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl is funny, endearing and relatable. With characters you will root for and a beautiful and engaging writing style, this book has become one of my favourites.

Whose read this awesome book? Did you manage to get a physical copy outside of Australia? Who loves art in books? I do! I do! What do you think you’d do if someone predicted the end of the world? Would you believe them?

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