Review Blog

Nov 05 2014

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil

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Hardie Grant Egmont, 2014. ISBN 9781742978307
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Melissa Keil has written a lively narrative of a vibrant community in country Victoria. She has set her heroine as a feisty, intelligent, artistic young woman who is torn between keeping things as they are in her home town, and leaving to study in Melbourne. This tension informs the action but there is a second challenge to the people of the small community!
In an online post, Original Ned predicts the end of the world and the centre of the co-ordinates for its implosion is Alba's town. The arrival of hundreds of doomsday 'followers' creates havoc in the town, but also enlivens the townspeople's businesses and lives.
Keil's protagonist is quirky, deeply concerned for everyone's well-being, loyal, artistic, and relishing the possibilities of life after Year 12. The disruption of this is the core of the narrative, and we witness her challenges, discovering whether she is ultimately still attracted to the third member of their primary school trilogy, Daniel, currently starring in a hit television show. Grady, the other 'third', seems to be waiting for Alba to really 'see' him, and this awakening is watched avidly by all of their young friends, and her mother.
Delightfully true to the vernacular of her characters, yet able to capture and retain an audience of any age, Keil's writing is wonderfully uplifting, touching as it does on adolescent angst, how to find out who you are, and how to find out if someone actually does really love you. Writing with an honesty and attention to detail, capturing a warm sense of the goodness of the characters, particularly the lovely Alba, who, after all, is the 'cinnamon girl' of her comic strip, Keil has written an uplifting story that leaves the reader with a deep sense of well-being.
Coming-of-age novel, fairly sophisticated interactions, and language appropriate for 14, years and older. Not limited to adolescent readers!
Liz Bondar

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