Thursday, 20 December 2012

Review & Joint post: The Boy on Cinnamon Street by Phoebe Stone

Hello everyone, today on the blog I have a joint post with the lovely Donna from Book Passion For Life. Donna is an enthusiastic reader like I am, and her passion definitely shows in her gorgeous reviews. We decided to tackle a book together that we had on our shelves for sometime and get our general thoughts on it. Here's a bit about the book we decided to pick up:

The Boy on Cinnamon Street by Phoebe Stone
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication date: 1st February 2012
My rating: 3.5 stars


A story about a wounded girl and the boy who won't give up on her.

7th grader Louise should be the captain of her school's gymnastics team - but she isn't. She's fun and cute and should have lots of friends - but she doesn't. And there's a dreamy boy who has a crush on her - but somehow they never connect. Louise has everything going for her - so what is it that's holding her back?

Phoebe Stone tells the winning story of the spring when 7th grader Louise Terrace wakes up, finds the courage to confront the painful family secret she's hiding from - and finally get the boy.

My review

Sometimes to get the best reading experience you just need to go into a book with no expectations what so ever. That way when you fall for the book so hard and fast it leaves you with an unforgettable reading experience. Show me a pretty cover and I go weak at the knees; I want the book straight away without even reading the blurb. That’s what I did with The Boy on Cinnamon Street, I saw the gorgeous cover and decided spur of the moment to buy a copy. So when picking it up I was surprised to find the mc was quite young, my fault really for not reading the blurb, I prefer my mc’s a little older, so I did at first find it hard to get with the mindset of Louise or Thumbelina as she preferred to be called, but I’m glad I stuck it out, as Louise bloomed into this lovely character with such a mature head on her shoulders. Reading the first third I assumed the book would be about a young girl with a school boy crush, and it did seem that the book was going in that direction. Some Random person leaves Louise a note declaring his interest, the note seems to appear at the same time the pizza delivery boy Benni McCartney does, so Louise puts two and two together and assumes it’s him. With encouragement from her best friend Reni she decides to pursue Benni anonymously.

It was cute seeing Louise’s infatuation with Benni develop, she was unsure what these weird feelings she started experienced recently were all about, as the only person she’d liked before was Frosty the Snowman! Despite liking this aspect of the story, I enjoyed the direction the book took about a third way through. Were given all these little clues and hints about Louise’s life; she’s living with her grandparents, but why? Why did she move in with them, she mentioned a mum and dad but where are they? And it was interesting delving into the mystery surrounding Louise’s life. I wanted to know why she’d given up gymnastics, a sport she’d been so passionate about but also really talented at. Stone in my opinion did a fantastic job at exploring this, with her own personal touch, she was able to bring about such a bittersweet and realistic story of Louise tinged with humour and hope.

The Boy on Cinnamon Street was definitely a book which took me by surprise. If you’re in the mood for trying something different; a story with the voice of a younger mc but still manages to leave a heartfelt impression, then you should definitely give this book a try. There’s also a fantastic bunch of secondary characters who will keep you entertained! 

Joint Post

What surprised you the most about this book?
Jasprit: Louise’s voice, she is only thirteen years old which I forgot numerous times when reading this book. By the second half of the book she was speaking like a grown adult. I loved watching her grow mentally, it was like she was finally shedding her skin, opening her eyes and seeing her life for what it really was. At first I did find her voice quite immature (I don’t normally pick up books with younger mc’s) but she really grew on me as the book progressed. Her childish observations became a lot more mature, it was interesting watching her grow up.

Donna: I have to admit, I wasn’t expecting so many emotions to come from a girl of just thirteen years old. Honestly, reading this book kind of took me back to when I was a thirteen year old and it had me questioning what I was like at that time. Some things I could agree with and some I couldn’t, however Louise is a very well developed character. She’s young and immature but she grows so much during the book and as a reader, we see her struggle and deal with so many different situations. I believe she handles them as best as any thirteen year old can.

Favourite Scene
Jasprit: When Louise found a camera in the park, she’s left with these beautiful photos of the clues that were left for her, such as someone drawing a big heart on the cement with a pink chalk and underneath is written “Thinking of You”. These photo’s were so beautiful, and as she continued to flip through the photo’s they definitely left me with an achy feeling in my chest, by the end of it I had a big smile on my face when I realised who they were from.

Donna: I have to agree with Jasprit. I adored the scene with the camera in the park and Louise shouting out her answer to Henderson for anyone listening. It’s touching and really shows you the love between the characters.

What I enjoyed about this book
Jasprit: I loved the little messages that Louise received; the Thumbelina book, the cute notes. I quickly clicked on who they could be from even though it wasn’t clear to Louise, but it was fun anticipating what Louise’s reaction would be, seeing her stumble around in the dark for a bit and not realising the boy who she was meant to be with was in front of her the whole time.

Donna: I loved the mystery surrounding Louise’s secret admirer – even though to the reader it was pretty clear who is was, to Louise it wasn’t though. To see her recognise her feelings for Henderson was a highlight of the story and I loved seeing her discover who was behind all the secret notes.

Favourite character
Jasprit: I didn’t mention Henderson in my review because I thought he deserved his own separate paragraph. Henderson was so quirky and funny. He reminded me a bit of Sherlock Holmes (* coughs* Robert Downey Junior) he was super clever; always figuring things out and was also in the process of writing his own book. He was so cool too, some people may have found him as a strange boy for his age; he was always intense about writing his space murder mystery. He also had a funny sense of humour; coming out with random facts and quotes and the fact that he actually loved his name, he thought it sounded like a cool butler’s name in an old fashioned movie. He totally imagined people saying, “That will be all, Henderson”. But what I loved the most was that he didn’t really care what others thought of him, and I like that in a character, one that is so confident in themselves that they just get on with things. Plus he was super sweet, it was as clear as day how he felt, but I think everything that was going on with Benny he decided to hold back, but one of his scenes in the end is my all time favourite, the effort and his consideration he put into it. I wish the guys I knew when I was that age were more like Henderson.

Donna: I have a few favourite characters – firstly I loved Louise’s grandparents. They were supportive, loving and caring towards Louise. They try to give her everything she needs but then of course, I love Henderson. He’s a geeky love interest that like Jasprit said, he doesn’t care what others think of him. He loves writing stories and he loves getting lost in his own little world but of course, he wants Louise there with him. He’s a very cute character and a little swoon-worthy if I do say so myself.

Favourite quotes
Jasprit: “Everybody has a story, a fairy tale in their heart they adhere to”

“He puts on his dark plaid wool cap that looks like some dog took it and ran with it around the block five times, dropped it in a puddle and then brought it back to grandpa”

“Henderson looks at me, he has a train-expression on his face, the kind of expression people have when they’re holding suitcases and are about to say good-bye and climb aboard”

“So I stand up against the wall, my heart beating inside me like a sorrowful drum all alone in the cave of my being. Will I ever grow up? Will I ever be big and tall? When I go back to the gymnastics team next fall and we do a team photo, will I be the medium height girl smiling in the second row? Will I walk out one day into the world and know is it mine?”

Donna: “I told you growing starts from the inside first, honey, and in that way, you've been growing like wildfire.”

“Thumb, I hope I will not bore you with how totally, totally I adore you. The funny way you have of talking, the cute way you have of walking. Please do not feel that I am stalking you. ”

“Actually everybody has a story, a fairy tale in their heart that they adhere to.”

General thoughts and final rating
Jasprit: The Boy on Cinnamon Street was a book which took me completely by surprise; I was expecting a super cute and funny book but Stone managed to provide a whole lot more. It was a book with a much deeper meaningful story behind it and really left a great impression on me. 

Donna: While reflecting on this story, I tried to put myself into a younger readers mind because in my ‘older mind’ (and while I knew before I read it that it was for a younger audience) I wasn’t actually prepared for how young the story actually was. I did struggle to deal with the immaturity of the characters to start with, and I would have definitely enjoyed this more had it of been for older readers.  However, for a younger reader I can’t knock Phoebe Stone’s work because she has created a perfect read for them.

Thank you Donna, for doing this joint post with me, I had so much fun. Despite The Boy on Cinnamon Street not being our typical read, I like how we agreed on many aspects especially regarding Henderson. You can read Donna's lovely review here.

13 comments:

  1. I can't tell you how much I agree with you. When I see a nice cover and few great reviews I want the book...like now! Sometimes I'm happy for not having books in english here because I'd be broke all the time. I also like when mc are older cause I can't read more teen's thoughts. But you're right this cover does look great and I want the book.
    Great review Jasprit! Thank you for opening my eyes :)

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  2. The cover is absolutely cute! And awww, those quotes you both posted are wonderful, Jasprit and Donna :) I will be sure to check this book out and hopefully get the chance to read it soon!

    Awesome joint review, Donna and Jasprit ♥

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  3. I don't mind a younger protagonist if written well - Amelia from Good Oil proves that being in a young teen's mind isn't necessarily a bad thing. Jasprit, I totally go crazy over beautiful covers too and always read them without even checking the basic info.
    I totally love the idea behind this post, ladies. Being able to compare opinions is the best way to find out everything there is to know about a book.

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  4. I've read a few good things about this book and I must say I'm quite intrigued by it, especially by the super cute cover. Great review and joint post! :)

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  5. This reminds me a bit of Confessions of an Angry girl with the younger MC who comes across as a bit older. I was not expecting the emotional complexity of that book, and I love that this book surprised you guys in the same way:) Normally 13 would be too young for me, it's harder for me to get on board with someone so young, but I do really like the sound of Louise! Also, love this joint review, it's fun to get two opinions at once:)

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  6. What a fun review! This does seem like a story I would enjoy. I do prefer my MCs to be older, especially when they seem so mature. One thing I've noticed lately is that I've had to learn to separate my adult "knowledge" from my reading of YA books. If I can observe and feel the growth, like you did, then I'm much happier.
    Lovely review, ladies. Oh, and I love the cover!

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  7. Great review, ladies! I love it when a book proves to be deeper and more complex than you'd anticipated. It's so fun that you read and reviewed this together, too! I have wanted to do that forever, but it's never quite worked out.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  8. When I saw the cover of this book I thought it was one of those really cute fluffy contemporaries. I'm surprised to hear that it's actually a lot deeper than that. I'm so glad that you seemed to have enjoyed the book, Jasprit. Henderson sounds like an interesting character. I'm looking forward to meet him if ever I get to this book. :)

    I love that you reviewed the book with Donna. It seems like both of you had similar thoughts on the book.

    Lovely reviews, Jasprit and Donna! :) I had fun reading this!

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  9. I have a copy of this and haven't read it, yeah I know so many books. I didn't know though that it featured a thirteen year old protagonist. I agree with you two, I prefer my heroines to be a little older but all in all I am glad that she matures and that it extends beyond the young audience. This does sound like a lovely feel good read and I am looking forward to jumping in and reading it! Great post!

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  10. I haven't heard of it, but it sounds like it is def worth a read, I esp love reading abotu character growth.
    Happy reading,
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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  11. Aww, this sounds like such a lovely tale! I'm glad it managed to be deep, despite the cute-sy cover, and I'm very curious to pick it up now. Amazing review, ladies! :D

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  12. I really love the cover of this too but when I found out the MC was so young, I decided to pass on it, but I don't always mind a younger read so I'll have to get this now!

    I really enjoyed the joint review ladies, it's fun when you agree on the book and I'm glad Louise ended up working out as a great MC!

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  13. *happy sigh* This one sounds sweet and utterly ADORABLE, Jasprit! I'm not a huge fan of younger main characters narrating stories, but the fact that Louise has a more mature nature appeals to me greatly. Also, fun title & cover! Great review and joint post, ladies :)

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