Author: Lara Zielin
Published: Putnam, August 6 2009
Recommended to: Readers 13 & up
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Cover Rating: A
Overall Grade: B
Emma has been born and raised in the evangelical church. Seeing as her parents are pastors, she couldn't imagine a different life, even though sometimes she has different ideas. But when her mom makes a rather, er, mind-boggingly different sermon, Emma finds her parent's jobs in jeopardy. Add onto that a major fight with a former friend, a new crush on an old aqquaintance, and a man who's trying to get her parents kicked out of the church, and Emma's got her hands full. Enter the Crispy Dream donut camp full of people waiting for the hot new store to open and to get their first dibs on the donuts, where Emma meets born-again bikers and donut fanatics. Even better, the Crispy Dream will be giving away a college scholarship to anyone who writes the best piece on the opening, and Emma hopes it'll be her ticket out, especially since he parents will only let her go to a Christian school. It's a holy mess!
My thoughts: I have a lot to say about this book, half good, half not-so-great. First, I just want to say that this is a funny, honest, clever and lighthearted read, overall a very impressive debut from someone who seems to have a good sense of humor! I really liked Emma's voice. It was sincere, clear, and realistic, grabbing me and pulling me in for an entertaining read.
I just didn't know where this book was going at first. By the third chapter or so, I started understanding more, but still, the whole aspects of evangelism and the donut camp were kind of confusing. I'm not a religious person, and I was surprised by how much of the book was consumed by religion, which, for someone who knows nothing about it, could be very bewildering. Some of the dialogue was kind of unnecessary in my opinion, and parts of the book dragged along so that I couldn't tell where it was headed.
I loved all of the characters in this book. They were cool and realistic and funny. It seems as if the author spent a lot of time working on the character development, and it shows. Good job!
I also loved all of the subplots worked into the story. Even though sometimes it was hard for the plot to flow smoothly, it added depth to the novel.
Overall, I'm glad I read this book. It was an engaging read, and I hope to see more from Ms. Zielin in the future. PS. Bonus points for the awesome cover and Lara's hilarious video "Editing Letter"!
Must-read! Check it Out Don't Bother