The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil

What do you get when you mix comic books, a coming of age story, a tiny town in Australia, and one viral end-of-the-world prediction? The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl by Melissa Keil, of course.

incredible adventures of cinnamon girlAlba loves her life just as it is. She loves living behind the bakery and waking up in a cloud of sugar and cinnamon. She loves drawing comics and watching bad TV with her friends. The only problem is shes overlooked a few teeny details. Like, the guy she thought long gone has unexpectedly reappeared. And the boy who has been her best friend since forever has suddenly gone off the rails. Even her latest comic book creation is misbehaving. Also, the world might be ending– which is proving to be awkward. As doomsday enthusiasts flock to idyllic Eden Valley, Albas life is thrown into chaos. Whatever happens next, its the end of the world as she knows it. But when it comes to figuring out her heart, Armageddon might turn out to be the least of her problems.

There’s so much to love about this book. Let me tell you all about it:

1. A kick-butt, body-positive heroine — with curves, crazy hair, and a sassy sense of style that slays. Alba is full of confidence when it comes to who she wants to present to the world, but not so sure about who she actually wants to be in the world. (And also not so sure she wants to experience the world outside the comfort zone of the tiny town she’s always called home).

2. The boy next door, and the former boy next door-turned-soap opera star. But this isn’t really the love triangle you’re expecting. These guys have a lot going for them, and as a reader, you’ll want to discover the whole unexpected twist on your own. But trust me when I say, it’s a delight to read about.

3. Summertime Christmas. Okay, as a U.S. reader, this is more of a novelty to me than it would be to readers in Australia, where the book takes place. But it is bizarre and cool and so fascinating to read about Alba’s hot, sweaty, summer days leading up to Christmas in the southern hemisphere.

4. Comic books. Alba is obsessed with them, and besides getting some great trivia and references to some classic graphic novels, the entire book is also sprinkled with (1) references to Alba’s own comic book creation, Cinnamon Girl, and (2) comic book-style illustrations at the beginning of every chapter. The result is a sort of traditional novel/graphic novel hybrid that is just so cool.

5. Doomsday hippies. The people who flock to Alba’s hometown in the wake of an apocalyptic prediction — which claims the town is the only place that will survive the coming end times — are wild. The characters are so varied and fascinating in various ways, it’s a hoot to read about them — and the havoc they wreak both on Alba’s town and in her life.

6. Coming of age du jour. I love a good coming of age story, but what sets this one apart is how it focuses on the transition between high school and whatever comes next (career, college, etc.). That can be a rough and confusing time period, and more than anything else, I think that’s what The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl is REALLY about. Apocalypse, romance, whatever … the real heart and grit of the book is what Alba plans to do next.

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl isn’t exactly a fast read — it’s got a comfortable, moseying pace — but it’s certainly a charming one. And as I’ve just described, it’s got lots to love — and lots to set it apart from other contemporary YA novels out there. Read it for its uniqueness alone, and love it for all the charm and wit you’ll find within.

The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl is in stores April 1st (but you might be able to get it now).

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