Book Review: Gingerbread by Rachel Cohn

GINGERBREAD by Rachel Cohn
Series: Cyd Charisse, #1
Publication Date: May 25th 2004 by Simon Pulse

Summary: “I will be as wild as I wanna be.”

After getting tossed from her posh boarding school, wild, willful, and coffee addicted Cyd Charisse returns to San Francisco to live with her parents. But there’s no way Cyd can survive in her parents’ pristine house. Lucky for Cyd she’s got Gingerbread, her childhood rag doll and confidante, and her new surfer boyfriend.

When Cyd’s rebelliousness gets out of hand, her parents ship her off to New York City to spend the summer with “Frank real-dad,” her biological father. Trading in her parents for New York City grunge and getting to know her bio-dad and step-sibs is what Cyd has been waiting for her whole life. But summer in the city is not what Cyd expects — and she’s far from the daughter or sister that anyone could have imagined.

Review Overview:

  • Initially, Cyd Charisse is difficult to relate to but I grew to like her as the novel unfolded
  • New York City is truly magical; Cohn paints New York City beautifully
  • Out of the secondary characters, Aaron and Danny stood out!

After a plethora of dystopian fiction, I wanted a light refreshing and quick read so I decided to pick up GINGERBREAD. Other than reading a few other Rachel Cohn novels, I had no idea what to expect before I picked this one up.

Initially, Cyd Charisse is one protagonist who makes it very difficult for readers to like her. Cohn’s voice is authentic and shines out amidst other contemporary novels, but Cyd Charisse is a bit whiny and annoying. She’s also difficult to relate to because she is a bit spoiled and childish. Throughout the whole novel, I tried to guess exactly how old Cyd was. Cohn might have mentioned her age in the novel, but I would think that she is around 15 – 16. Cyd also has a tendency for rebellion and it had been only a matter of time before she is shipped off from San Francisco to meet her biological father in New York City.

Since the novel is a bit old for contemporary standards, it could be the reason why I had a rough time getting used to the way Cyd spoke. Is it a west coast thing? Because I don’t think I ever grew up talking the way Cyd did, but maybe that’s just something that is completely unique to her.

There are a handful of secondary characters in GINGERBREAD, and of them all, Danny and and Aaron stood out to me the most. Danny, Cyd’s half-brother, is an excellent cake decorator and co-owner of a little cafe in Greenwich Village with his partner Aaron. The cake part was enough to win me over, but the fact that he and Aaron make the cutest couple made me yearn for more scenes with the two of them!

The novel did not stand out to me until Cyd Charisse got to New York City. There is something about the way Cohn writes about New York City. She captures the city through the eyes of a teenager just right and it makes me want to cross over the Hudson River right at that moment so I could wander through the streets and find a little cafe to read. The writing came alive in the second half of the book.

There are mentions of sex and teen pregnancy in the novel, but there is nothing vulgar or obscene about it. There are no racy scenes so this book will be appropriate for teens of all ages. This novel is recommended to those who love contemporary novels with spunky female leads, fans of Cohn’s novels, and lovers of New York City.


    1. I’ll keep it in mind! I have way too many books to tackle at the moment. Trying to slim down my TBR! :P

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