Book Review: Cherry Money Baby by John M. Cusick

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Cultures clash and stereotypes are laid out and torn down in John M. Cusick’s Cherry Money Baby, a poignant study of life in middle America and what happens when it collides with Hollywood glitz.

cherry money babyCherry Kerrigan loves her simple life, her family’s tiny trailer, even working at Burrito Barn. Forget college — she’s marrying her sweetheart from next door. But here comes Ardelia Deen, a glamorous starlet who sweeps Cherry into a world of fast cars and penthouse parties. Now Cherry’s small-town life just seems so . . . small. When Ardelia drops a bomb of an offer — one involving a baby — Cherry knows her life will change forever, no matter what she decides. John M. Cusick focuses his signature wit on Hollywood royalty and the wide-eyed dreams of Small Town, U.S.A. in a novel about discovering who you are . . . and changing your mind.

On writing Cherry Money Baby, Cusick has said he wanted “to explore how our assumptions about money, sophistication, and self-worth can cloud our vision.” With this book, he accomplishes his goal with aplomb — and also delivers a charming and quirky coming-of-age story that is unlike any other I’ve encountered.

Unlike the disenchanted loners looking to break out of their humdrum life for something Bigger! And! Better!, Cusick’s Cherry is a small-town girl who likes the status quo. She likes her little world, and her little camper trailer home, and her job rolling burritos, and her literal boy-next-door boyfriend. College? The world? Adventure? Cherry wants none of it — and that not only makes her a refreshing new perspective in YA literature, but she becomes another type of character for readers to relate to. Not all teen readers fit into one category, and Cherry fills a void I didn’t even realize until now that we were missing.

Beyond that, Cusick has crafted a believable, realistic setting — and populated it with characters that are engaging and vibrant, each in their own unique way. Certain events may prove to be the catalyst for the events that unfold in Cherry’s life — but it’s the people she encounters along the way that really make for an enjoyable and intriguing ride.

Look for Cherry Money Baby in stores on September 10th. It’s a contemporary YA charmer you won’t want to miss.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Cherry Money Baby by John M. Cusick

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  1. This does sound like a book that offers some sharp contrast to the rest of the books on the shelves–and that’s always a good thing. I like the fact that it’s contemporary as well as the fact that it has a unique main character who doesn’t share the same priorities as nearly every other YA main character. I’ll definitely be watching for Cherry Money Baby. Love the premise!

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