Melissa Keil is the author of the CBCA shortlisted My Life in Outer Space and the 2014 recipient of the Australian IBBY Ena Noel award given to an outstanding young writer or illustrator. So my expectations were high. The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl did not disappoint.
Alba wants things to stay the same. She is comfortable and content with her small town life in Eden Valley, her close group of friends and even herself. She doesn’t want anything to change.
But change is inevitable. School has ended and after one last holiday break, some of her friends will be leaving town. Job offers, study plans and hooking up – nothing is staying the same – no matter how hard she tries to keep it that way. Her best friend Grady, who she thought she knew inside-out, is acting strange. Even Cinnamon Girl, her latest comic book character, won’t do what Alba wants.
When the self-styled prophet Original Ned announces the world is about to end and provides Eden Valley’s co-ordinates as the place to be, even greater changes engulf Alba. The town’s population swells and a never-forgotten childhood friend returns. Dominic is no longer a chubby boy but a muscled soapie star. Alba welcomes a return to the friendship triangle but once again, something is shifting.
The world might not be ending but the world as Alba knows it, definitely is.
There’s so much to love about this book. It’s easy to identify with Alba who is both gutsy and vulnerable. The small town setting of Eden Valley comes to life in a personally familiar way for me. Eddie makes me laugh and Grady makes me sigh.
Finally, no review of this book would be complete without a shout-out for the cover – absolutely eye-catching.
Reviewed by Sandy Fussell
Title: The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl
Author: Melissa Keil
Publisher: Hardie Grant Egmont $19.99 RRP
Publication Date: September 2014
Type: Young Adult Fiction