coming of age

Book Review: The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil

19403811

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl is a perky and entertaining coming of age story featuring Alba, a one-of-a-kind, very funny 18-year-old girl from a small Australian town. Alba and the close-knit group of friends she grew up with have recently graduated high school and are about to embark on the next phase of their lives. Alba is uncertain what path she wants to pursue. The discoveries she makes about herself during the course of the story are reflected in the way she chooses to draw the comic book character she’s developed, Cinnamon Girl.

“. . . her [Cinnamon Girl’s] face materializes on my page, I can tell she’s not at all happy with me. She plants her hands on her hips, her solid thighs busting out of her star-spangled shorts, and I swear she’s glaring at me with contempt.”

Each chapter of this book opens with a one-page comic-style drawing, but The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl is not a comic book or graphic novel.

Alba’s observations throughout the book  are often pleasantly tinged with comic book references. For example, when Alba becomes irate at an annoying stranger she thinks, “I’m visualizing myself soaring into the air with a backward tumble and punching Penny-Farthing Man in the neck.”

When asked what she wants to do with her life, Alba responds, “Me? I have no idea what powers I’ve got hiding underneath. Maybe something cool, like optic-blast eyeballs.”

And in another passage she thinks, “I’m already halfway down my bluestone path at a speed that would make Captain Marvel herself proud.”

Alba is funny! She’s a unique girl devoted to her collection of garden gnomes, and if she’s in a foul mood might wear her black dress decorated with pink skulls, a signal to her loved ones to beware. The story, told in Alba’s 1st person POV, offers lots of smile-inducing lines like these:

“This house looks like the place personality came to die.”

“I. . . kissed a boy partly out of curiosity, partly to make him stop talking.”

“I graciously decline to participate in a nudie dance-off.”

Bonus points for the small town Australian setting. Minus points for something I can’t specify because it’s too big of a spoiler. Suffice to say I was mildly disappointed in one major aspect of the plot. Overall, The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl was a pleasant read.

— Eve Messenger

Advertisements