by Ernessa T. Carter
List Price: $24.99
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Amistad (June 22, 2010)
Language: EnglishFrom the publisher: 32 Candles by exciting newcomer Ernessa T. Carter is the slightly twisted, utterly romantic, and deftly wry story of Davie Jones, who, if she doesn’t stand in her own way, just might get the man of her dreams. For fans of John Hughes’s “Sixteen Candles”, 32 Candles is a fresh and fun fiction debut for every fan of romantic comedy.
From Publishers Weekly: This debut novel of longing for family, love, and acceptance finds some interesting territory before settling too early into inevitability. Davidia Jones, a nerdy child of poverty, is abused by her alcoholic mother and despicable father and is the subject of merciless taunting at her high school. But it's the "Molly Ringwald Ending" that guides this fragile 15-year-old when she bolts town with a lesbian trucker named Mama Jane and lands a gig as a '40s-style chanteuse in L.A. With a little Hollywood stardust, she redefines herself and begins living the life she's dreamed of--until James, the rich golden boy she had a crush on back home, walks into her nightclub. Not knowing their connected past, James promptly goes gaga for the overhauled Davie, whose need for sweet revenge adds a welcome dark edge to an otherwise predictable trajectory toward self-empowerment. New Agey embellishments (an "atonement list") seem like a misstep for a spirited heroine stuck in a middling narrative.
My take: At 39, I'm not that far from 32 years old but I am very far from 16 and the angst of the teenage heroine of the coming of age movie "16 Candles." And I can promise you, Davie Jones is about as far as you can get from Mollie Ringwald's character; in fact, Davie is like no other fictional character I've read. What makes her different is what made her so real to me - Ms. Carter wrote Davie as a multi-faceted individual, not your typical "summer" easy read fiction protagonist who is in search of life long life and happiness. No, Davie is in search of revenge first. Now THAT is a real woman. I found myself pulling for her page after unpredictable page, even after all she had done had been revealed. And her redemption, several chapters in the making, made the whole book worthwhile. If you've ever been in love, especially from afar, you need to read this book. ★★★★
The giveaway: One lucky winners will win their own copy of 32 Candles, courtesy of Harper Collins Publishers [US ADDRESSES ONLY PLEASE].
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This review was sponsored by theHarper Collins Publishing who provided the book for review and giveaway. I was not compensated in any way except for the complimentary book.