Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl
Written by Melissa Keil
Contemporary, Coming of Age
Published September 2014
320 Pages
Thank you to Hardie Grant Egmont
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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.
Nothing ever changes in Eden Valley where it's always been childhood friends, Alba and best friend Grady against the world. Then chaos descends. An online clip featuring a self proclaimed doomsday prophet, has given the country coordinates to the sleepy town and it isn't long before the flocks of media and believers arrive en masse, destroying what could be the group of teens final summer together.

Along with her single mother, Alba lives behind the family bakery, immersing herself in cinnamon rolls and her graphic illustrations while the town is plunged into an end of the world party. Alba has always wanted to study art ever since her father introduced her to Wonder Woman comics, but the thought of leaving town t forge her own path, has her hiding out in her bedroom. Her only solace comes in the form of Grady, her best friend who lives next door. In what may be their last summer together, Grady is leaving for the bright lights of the city to study law, while Alba can't find the motivation to bring her latest character to life, Cinnamon Girl, the bakery mascot.

In with the hordes of doomdayers, comes long lost childhood friend Daniel. Daniel was once part of a trio, along with Grady and Alba, leaving town only days before her father passed away. Still children, Daniel never looked back on Eden Valley until now. One of the stars of a cheesy soap opera, Daniel breezes back into town on a publicised visit and assumed that his only childhood friends had also moved on. His reappearance brings a wave of nostalgia and seemingly Grady's sudden sullen mood. As Grady pulls away, Alba can't help but feel his already distancing himself to ease into what will be a painful goodbye. Time is running out, either the world will end or Alba will need to make a decision on her future, stay and she may never make it out of Eden Valley, or take a chance on a life she's too scared to live.

Kelly's Thoughts

I really enjoyed Melissa Keil's debut novel Life in Outer Space, but I absolutely adored The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl. Alba, a nickname derived from her surname, isn't your typical small town girl. She dreams of taking her comic book characters to the world, but as her circle of friends and best friend Grady graduate from school, she realises that she may only have a few months before she is forced to say goodbye. She struggles to leave the only life she's known behind and venture out into the world, which is something I too experienced when I finished school all those years ago.

Her sidekick is best friend Grady, the two of them growing up together both being raised by single mothers. He's the typical boy next door with a twist. He's not perfect, but he complements Alba's personality, it's a pity his drive and ambition has yet to encourage her to see the world outside of Eden Valley. Life is seemingly perfect, until Daniel breezes back into town. Daniel isn't the same overweight child that left the valley, and now returns as a low grade soap star. The secondary characters were incredibly vivid and well developed, and although don't play a pivotal role in the storyline, they provide sassy banter and each bring a unique and charming element each in their own way.

Alba is brilliant. She's sassy, strong and has an offbeat and unique sense of style, a rockabilly pinup girl who lives for her characters. She's not flirtatious, she doesn't expect compliments, she knows she's an attractive girl with curves that draw attention. But besides from doubting her own future, I loved that she was confident with a healthy and realistic body image. Something we don't generally see in young adult today. She doesn't need a boyfriend and doesn't seek the approval of others for validation. She's what teen girls should be portrayed as. Young adult authors take note, this is how you create a quirky and off beat young adult contemporary that no doubt readers will fall in love with.

17 comments

  1. Ah. Okay. This is such a great review, Kelly! I fell in love with the 50's-style cover as soon as I saw it, and now I NEED to read the story! I'll hopefully be able to pick this up relatively soon.

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    1. I know, it's just gorgeous isn't it. And it's a big reflection of Alba herself. She's a comic drawing rockabilly girl who's just fabulous! She's such an incredible character, can't wait for you to grab a copy.

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  2. I SOOO NEED THIS BOOK. I need to buy a copy of Life in Outer Space as well, so I can reread it (I loved that book!). I really like that she has a great body image, and I remember loving Melissa Keil's writing. Your review has convinced me even further that I need to read this book :D

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    1. Think of My Life in Outer Space, but even more brilliant. It's absolutely flawless,

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  3. This looks like such a CUTE book haha :D

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    1. It's lovely Jillian, hopefully you can pick up a copy and see for yourself.

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  4. I like how you described it as quirky and offbeat - the covers of her books are certainly eye catching! I haven't read her books yet but the characters sound like dears. Lovely review Kelly!

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    1. You haven't read My Life in Outer Space either? She's a brilliant Aussie author Jeann, her characters are incredibly realistic. She's a born storyteller. Definitely grab a copy of both, they're well worth it.

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  5. This actually sounds really awesome! I'm really drawn into the cover, and I rarely read contemporary novels, BUT THIS ONE SOUNDS COOL. And I really love how Alba draws and writes comic books! :D

    Thanks for the review Kelly! I will get this one way or another!

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    1. She's one of the few contemporary characters you could probably call ├╝ber cool, although she doesn't know it. The characters are all so lovable and well developed that you actually feel as though the reader is included in their circle of friends.

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  6. I absolutely want to read this!!! EEEEEP!! I adored Life in Outer Space. It was like one of the best debuts ever and this looks and sounds adorable. Also: sassy characters? I'm in.

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    1. You'll love Alba, she's just super cool, down to earth and is one of those low maintenance girls that's sassy and sarcastic. I loved her to pieces! Can't wait for you to grab a copy and review it, I can almost guarantee you'll love it just as much as I have.

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  7. THAT COVER IS SO AMAZING AND PRETTY AND I JUST WANT TO HUG IT. Ahem...

    This book was not on my radar until your review. I love Alba already and just really appreciate the author for creating a character that is not obsessed with body image and what people think of her. I love a girl that can stand on her own, and doesn't need no man for support. A true superwoman I'd say.

    I will be adding this one to my TBR stack immediately. Wonderful review Kelly xx

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    1. The cover draws you in, but I just couldn't put this one down Joy, it was just that fabulous. Alba is everything I look for in a young adult character, strong with a brilliant personality, great body image, and not without her faults, but she doesn't complain about what she doesn't have. She's so incredibly realistic that even I could see myself in her at that age, even now. Buy or borrow a copy, it's fantastic!

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  8. I absolutely love the cover of this. As soon as I saw it I wanted this book. I am so glad you enjoyed it. I am certain I will love it and can't wait to get my hands on it. Great review, thanks for sharing :)

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    1. Thanks Rochelle. I really hope more readers will pick up a copy of this one too. My Life in Outer Space was such a fun and awesome read, but I adored this one. Certainly deserves worldwide attention.

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  9. I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH I JUST WANT TO THROW RAINBOWS, SPARKLES AND CUTE THINGS EVERYWHERE. AND FOOD. LET ME THROW FOOD AROUND AS WELL.
    *hugs book tightly* Alba was just so frabjous, and I absolutely adored how comfortable she was with how she looked and how she didn't care about her weight! *pumps fist* WE NEED MORE MAIN CHARACTERS LIKE THESE. Also, I LOVED Grady. He had his moments, but he was like a big caramel puppy that you could EAT, and he was just OH, so adorable! And the scene near the end when he tells Alba how much he loves her and how he can't live without her almost made me CRY. Romeo can get stuffed, I want a Grady.

    Frabjous review, sweets! <333 So glad we both adored this one!

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