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Gingersnap

3.37 of 5 stars 3.37  ·  rating details  ·  606 ratings  ·  164 reviews
It's 1944, W.W. II is raging. Jayna's big brother Rob is her only family. When Rob is called to duty on a destroyer, Jayna is left in their small town in upstate New York with their cranky landlady. But right before he leaves, Rob tells Jayna a secret: they may have a grandmother in Brooklyn. Rob found a little blue recipe book with her name and an address for a bakery. Wh...more
Hardcover, 160 pages
Published January 8th 2013 by Wendy Lamb Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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Newbery 2014
68th out of 94 books — 364 voters
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Middle Grade Novels of 2013
252nd out of 328 books — 606 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,195)
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Alex Baugh
It is 1944 and Jayna's big brother Rob, the only family she has, is a cook in the Navy. Jayna and Rob were separated for years, placed in separate foster homes after the automobile deaths of their parents. But when Rob turned 18, he got custody of Jayna. Only now Rob has received his orders to report to his ship for deployment to the war in the Pacific. Rob have made arrangements for Jayna to stay with thier landlady Celine for the time he is away.

Rob may be a great cook, but Jayna has a way wi...more
Rose
Initial reaction: Despite this being a very quick read and for a young audience, I had a very difficult time getting into this book. Not that I didn't appreciate the characters and the storyline, but it just didn't grab and hold me in several areas of the narrative. I'd like to explore more of the author's work, considering there were parts of this I did like, but overall, it didn't really leave an impression on me.

Full review:

I feel bad in penning this review because usually I love period ficti...more
Arlena
Author: Patricia Reilly Giff
Published by: Wendy Lamb Books
Age Recommended: Children 10 +
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Book Blog For: GMTA
Rating: 5
Review:


"Gingersnap" by Patricia Reilly Giff was a very well written read that will give us some historical history that was going on during WWII. Along with this being a family read it does have some ghost issues. This author is a wonderful story teller being about to take you so a different time. This was during a time in history WWII when a brother (Rob)af...more
Susan P
I listened to this one, and I think I might have liked it better if I had just read it. I really didn't like the narrator at all. They used a young reader, and I think an adult would have gotten the dialog, and especially the accent that one character is supposed to speak with, much better. Bummer - this sounded really good and I was excited to read it.

It's 1945 and Jayna is sent to live with their landlady when her brother is sent to war. Every since he turned 18, Rob has taken care of Jayna (...more
Benjmin Torres
Benjamin Torres
9/29/14
Period 3/4
Gingersnap

Gingersnap was a great book. I gave it 3 stars because it had good details in the chapter, but sometimes in the end of a chapter, there was a cliff hanger. Also, the character was amazing, brave, and generous, but tells more about her. There is a ghost with her. Tell more about him/her. Was he/she helpful? Was he/she curious.
Kathy
Ok...this is a children's book and my daughters have advanced beyond this reading level...but I guess I have not. Pictures of Hollis Woods..Lily's Crossing...I loved reading these. When I read in a book review that Giff had a new book, I had to read it. I enjoyed reading Gingersnap. It was a good book, but it could have been a great book. Basically it is the story of a 10 year old girl who is in search of her grandmother, who may or may not exist. Jayna has one clue...a little recipe book. It i...more
Anna
I loved this book. Patricia Reilly Giff is one of my favorite Children's author. It is a great historical fiction read about a girl named Jayna during the second world war. All she has left is her brother and he is sent off to fight in the war. She is left staying with the land lady. Right before her brother leaves he tells her about a box in his closet with a recipe book in it. The recipe book has a picture and an address of a person who could be their grandmother. Jayna starts seeing a ghost r...more
Clover White
I love most of Giff's books, and I enjoyed reading another one of her historical fiction books (R My Name Is Rachel), but this one was really not that great. The ghost was pointless, and I'm still stuck over the fact that, at the beginning of the book, the brother mentions casually that he has a box of mementos, including information about a possible grandmother, in his closet. Hello, marvelous older brother, maybe we should have EXPLORED that possibility before we set off for war, leaving our o...more
Cindy
I've been reading a lot of foodie books during my kitchen remodel. This historical fiction/ghost story qualifies. Gingersnap is a soup expert and her story is peppered with her soup recipes. This WWII home front story of a young girl suddenly alone when her brother is called to service will make a good booktalk for my 6th graders. The ghost element and longing for real family and the box turtle who needs a real home too will be an easy sell. The Brooklyn bakery setting is a bonus although I will...more
Virginia Walter
Jayna's big brother Rob is her only family so when he joins the Navy, she is left in the care of their cranky landlady. She has a clue to her past, however, in the hand-written recipe book that belonged to her mother. She sets off to find the bakery whose name and address are in the book, hoping to learn more about her family. The answers are not what she expects, but she does make connections with people who love her and her brother when he comes home from the War in the Pacific. I enjoyed the...more
Lonna Pierce
I listened to the audio book of this WW II-era historical fiction novel for young readers. Orphaned Jayna (nickname:Gingersnap)is left with a landlady when her older brother, Rob, goes to war in the Pacific. Jayna is a masterful soup maker, like her mother & grandmother before her, and soup recipes fill the book. She locates a family friend who owns a bakery in Brooklyn (named Gingersnap!)with the help of a ghost. That plot device doesn't really work. But the characters and the history of th...more
Krista
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Michele
This was a lovely, short book about young Jayna (aka Gingersnap) during WWII. She and her older brother, Rob, were orphaned when their parents died years earlier. After being separated in foster homes, they are reunited when Rob becomes of age. However, separation happens again when Rob goes off to serve in the war. Jayna is distressed that she will now have to live with her unusual landlady. Before Rob left, he told Jayna that he thought they had a grandmother in Brooklyn. Missing Rob as well a...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
This was a rather delightful read, perhaps largely due to the audio recording. The narrator's soft voice helped push the little story along with the little voice of Jayna's ghost friend gently egging her on and into action. The plot line itself isn't an especially big draw but the mystery is intriguing and steps slightly beyond what you would expect. What is most interesting is perhaps the combination of historical fiction and improbable realism. The presence of the ghost isn't exactly magical a...more
Stacy
There's a nasty disease that attacks gifted writers. It doesn't manifest itself right away. In fact, the writer is somewhat immune to it at first. It's only after maybe the 5th or 6th successful story that it begins to rear it's ugly head (some extra special ones last much longer than just 5 or 6.) I don't know what the disease is called, but it attacks the writer's creativity and ability to grasp the reader right from the start. It causes the author to take shortcuts and abandon all they had do...more
Amy
A turtle, a blue recipe book, a ghostly presence -- these are the things that accompany young Jayna as she travels by herself to Brooklyn. How did she get to this point? -- lonely, desperate, plodding towards her destination lugging a turtle in a cat carrier with the blisters on her heels getting bigger with every step. Of course, Jayna knows how it all started -- the accident, her parents dying...suddenly, her older brother Rob was the only one she had left. Then World War II erupted, stealing...more
Brenda
recipes seasoned with herbs and care are always the best - even when ingredients are rationed and scarce.

Janea lives with her brother Rob. He’s nine years older than she is and has just become old enough to gain custody and take her from foster care. That’s been their dream since she’s been five and Rob has visited her every Sunday. Finally they can build a home together. It is a home of love, stories, shared meals, soup and change. Rob is a cook at the Navy base and he’s about to be shipped out...more
Ms. Yingling
Orphaned Jayna is in a difficult position when her older brother and guardian, Rob, is sent to fight in World War II. She's fortunate that their landlady, Celine, is willing to take her in, because Jayna has spent some time in foster care. Jayna isn't happy, though, and knows that having her is a hardship for Celine. Before he left, Rob gave her a cookbook he found that lead him to believe that they may have a grandmother in Brooklyn who is running a bakery. Armed with this book and a little mon...more
Roben
This is the second "tween" book I have read this week that had recipes. The first was "Pie". Both are going to appeal more to girls -- and maybe the do fill a gap after the "American Girl" series, as someone else suggested. Or in conjunction with "Little House"?

Set close to the end of WW2, Gingersnap is the nickname of a 12 year old orphan named Jayna. Her only relative is an older brother, a Navy cook, who has just received orders to deploy to the Pacific. Jayna is left with Celine, their land...more
Laura
Jayna and her brother Rob have finally created a peaceful life after their parents were killed in a tragic accident. When Rob is shipped out on a Navy ship during World War II, a kindly but difficult neighbor takes Jayna in. During this time, Jayna cares for a turtle in her pond and seeks help from an evasive but occasionally helpful ghost. Based on a family cookbook and a small hint from her brother, Jayna decides to go to Brooklyn to search for a long-lost grandmother after she learns that Rob...more
Tasha
Jayna’s older brother Rob rescued her from foster care but now he is called to duty on a destroyer during World War II. Both brother and sister love to cook: Jayna’s specialty is soup. The two don’t have any other family in the world, so Rob leaves Jayna with their landlady who is always lecturing Jayna about manners. Right before he leaves, Rob tells Jayna about a recipe book he found that may have belonged to their grandmother. It contains an address for a bakery in Brooklyn. When Rob is liste...more
Nancy
In 1944, Jayna is disheartened that her older brother, Rob (who began taking care of Jayna after the death of their parents and some time in various foster homes) is called to war in the Pacific. Rob arranges for her to stay with their landlord, Celine during his service, but before he leaves, he lets her in on a secret: that they may have a grandmother in Brooklyn who runs a bakery, and shows her a box with items related to their grandmother. Months later, when news arrives that Rob is missing...more
Nicole
Giff hasn't been this lazy since her entry in the Women of Our Time biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder for which research seemed to consist roughly of...reading Wilder's books and retelling the series in 60 pages. With few period details and stock characters, Giff takes an intriguing idea: what if a ghost helps an orphan whose brother has gone into World War II as a cook to find a new family? Unfortunately, the novel was just poorly executed and seemed "phoned in." The ghost was just like set dr...more
Shawn Lane


Patricia Reilly Giff is such a gifted story teller! From the very beginning, she weaves a beautiful story that invites the reader into the pages.

In Gingersnap, Giff tells of a brother and sister who have nothing left but each other. Rob, the brother, is going off to war, and Jayna is left to the care of Celine, a caring, but nagging landlady. Days go by, and Jayna makes her soups, with such poignant names, such as “Feel-Better Vegetable Soup.” She writes letters to Rob, goes to school, and wait...more
Lessa
Gingersnap is an orphan. After years of bouncing between foster homes, her brother finally becomes old enough to adopt her and they become a family of two. After a year, however, WWII breaks out and Gingersnap's brother, Rob, gets called into action, leaving her to live with the landlady. After Rob goes missing in action, Gingersnap, at the urging of a ghost, seeks something to hold onto, and goes in search of the family she never knew.

This book was beautifully written. There was ample descripti...more
Titanic Buff
Jayna, called Gingernsaps, has been "displaced" by World War II. Orphaned at so young an age that she doesn't remember her parents, Jayna has had only her elder brother to rely on for memories of their parents. When her brother Rob leaves home to become a cook aboard the USS Muldoon Jayna is saddened. She goes to live with a seemingly cantankerous landlady. By this time Jayna has become acquainted with a ghost who lacks an identity (she doesn't know who she is). After Rob goes missing in action...more
Jessica
First things first. I listened to this on audiobook two times, and I did not know *WHAT* was happening. I have a feeling that this is mostly an audiobook narrator issue. I've often listened to middle grade or YA books and wondered why they're not narrated by children or teens. It's just kind of strange to hear a deep baritone narrating the perspective of a nine year old boy. So at first it was a nice surprise to hear the voice of an actual kid (Olivia Campbell) narrating Gingersnap, Patricia Rei...more
Stephanie
I would recommend Gingersnap by Patricia Reilly Giff to anyone who enjoys historical fiction in grades four and up. I was lucky enough to listen to the audio of this wonderful book narrated by Olivia Campbell. She did an excellent job capturing Jayna’s voice and personality. The variety of voices for the different characters helped the book come alive for me. It was so fun stepping back in time and hearing about radio shows and actors from so long ago. This book reminded me how hard it was for t...more
Oak Lawn Public Library - Youth Services
Lexile Level: 540

Pages: 147

Summary: When her big brother, Rob, leaves to go to war orphan Janya must stay with their landlady, Celine, something that neither Janya nor the landlady seem to want. Janya begins hearing a voice speaking to her and is unsure if it is a ghost or her imagination. After Jayna receives news that Rob is missing in action, the voice urges Jayna to leave Celine's and head to Brooklyn to find a woman who owns a bakery, Gingersnap (Jayna's nickname), who may be Jayna's grandm...more
Sam
It's 1945, and Jayna's brother Rob has gone off to war in the Pacific. Since he's her only living relative, she's staying with the landlady during his tour of duty. But a mysterious ghost and an old recipe book lead her on a quest that takes her away from upstate New York and into the heart of Brooklyn in a search for family.

It's a winning plot idea, a supernaturally-tinged take on the classic themes of books like Cynthia Voigt's Homecoming. However, the book suffers from a number of the same pr...more
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PATRICIA REILLY GIFF is the author of many beloved books for children, including the Kids of the Polk Street School books, the Friends and Amigos books, and the Polka Dot Private Eye books. Several of her novels for older readers have been chosen as ALA-ALSC Notable Books and ALA-YALSA Best Books for Young Adults. They include The Gift of the Pirate Queen; All the Way Home; Water Street; Nory Ryan...more
More about Patricia Reilly Giff...
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