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32 Candles

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4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  2,299 ratings  ·  484 reviews

32 Candles is the slightly twisted, utterly romantic, and deftly wry story of Davie Jones, who, if she doesn’t stand in her own way, just might get the man of her dreams.

Davie—an ugly duckling growing up in small-town Mississippi—is positive her life couldn’t be any worse. She has the meanest mother in the South, possibly the world, and on top of that, she’s pretty sure sh...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published June 22nd 2010 by HarperCollins e-books (first published June 8th 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jennifer Barbee
I swallowed this book whole, skipped a couple of showers and showed up late to work after casually starting to read this two days ago, and being so thoroughly sucked in that my life dimmed a little around the edges. What a wonderful, sparkly surprise this book was! "Chick Lit" is such a nasty phrase that's bandied about and hurled at some of the most politically backwards, uninspired novels I've had the misfortune of reading. Oh, if only there were more novels like 32 CANDLES to reclaim the woma...more
K
Oh, man. This book. “That shit was funny, but it ain’t right.”

We’re introduced to an elementary school aged Davidia. I liked and was nervous for her from the start. She was a combination of a Luna-esque loveable weirdo and smelly kid. It doesn’t get much better as we follow her through to high school. The first 70 pages of the book were interesting, but I really started to enjoy the story when she abruptly transforms into Davie. She paints a picture of her new life in LA, complete with new peopl...more
jo
Jun 15, 2014 jo rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who love crazy-smart romantic novels
Recommended to jo by: Jean
Shelves: african-american
if you discount jane austen's Pride and Prejudice this is my first ever romantic novel. actually, i read a couple of queer YA ones, which makes this is my first adult heterosexual romantic novel after P&P (does Emma count as a romantic novel?). i am pointing this out for the double reason that 1. i am clearly no expert in the genre so my opinion of the book must be read with this in mind and 2. i want to bring to people's attention the fact that i read it and finished it. in fact, i read it...more
Maggie Desmond-O'Brien
Sometimes a book doesn't need to shake up my world to make an impression on me. Sometimes it just needs to make me smile. At least, that's the conclusion I've drawn after finishing 32 Candles, which made me smile more than any book (adult or YA) I've read in recent memory, and has charmed its way straight into a permanent place on my bookshelf.

In the wake of books like The Help by Kathryn Stockett (which I personally thought was disappointing after all the hype), there's been a lot of discussion...more
Stacie
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Toni
The other day on Twitter, a friend asked my how do I fit in time to read with all of the television that I watch. In an earlier post I talked about doing most of my reading on my commute, which pretty much guarantees me about 10 hours of reading a week. When I get home I am usually watching tv and surfing the 'net (is that term still relevant?). Rarely do I pick up a book at home because the television will always distract me. But last Thursday & Friday, I was so engrossed in 32 Candles, tha...more
Steph Su
Sep 18, 2012 Steph Su rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who enjoy a funny and swoonworthy romance
I have been hearing unequivocal love for this book for, oh, about two years or so before I finally had the opportunity to participate in a blog tour for 32 CANDLES. First stop: dive into the book that a small but important contingent of the blogging population has been raving about ever since its publication. And I wasn’t disappointed. I so wasn’t disappointed, in fact, that 32 CANDLES is easily one of my favorite books of 2011 so far, and one of the most adorable books I have ever read.

The star...more
Blu
I absolutely loved this book! From page one I was enchanted with Davidia Jones, an ugly duckling who learns to finally be comfortable in the skin she's in. I identified so much with Davidia! I saw the end coming from page one but still I cried and jumped on the phone to call as many people as I could to share the warm and fuzzy feeling I got at its conclusion.

Plenty of laugh out loud moments, memorable characters, and quotes I will forever remember ("I will never let a man hand me an Invitation...more
Fani
The heroine is a girl growing up in a small Mississipi town with her abusive mother. Her mother doesn't care for her at all, she has no friends in school and everyone laughs at her because she's black as the night and ugly compared to her beautiful mother who's more or less the town whore. At some point she even stops talking and she becomes known as the town's weirdo. Her only consolation is Mollie Ringwald's movies, where the ugly duckling may suffer and get ridiculed, but in the end she alway...more
Debra
Absolutely loved this book. Highly recommend! This book was very hard to put down. The story is broken down into Then, Now and the In between sections. At times sad, at times funny, but all the time engaging and well written. Davida Jones has a rough life. She yearns for more as she grows up Mississippi. All she wants is to have her "Molly Ringwald" happy ending. Will she get it? I wont give that away. But this book does read sort of like an 80's feel good John Hughes type of movie/book. There i...more
Ari
Aug 11, 2010 Ari rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Ari by: Reads4Pleasure
32 Candles is my favorite adult fiction read of the year and one of my favorite books of the year. Everyone should read it. I don't know what else to say. Can I just leave it at that? I wish I could list 32 reasons you should read 32 Candles but I'm not that creative. The list would end up simply saying 'read it' 32x. Instead I'll do 16 reasons

1. Davie is one of the most unforgettable heroines ever. She's funny, crazy, a bit vindicative and vulnerable. I was so proud of her (you can tell I'm rea...more
Latiffany
I was so disappointed after reading this book. The reviews sounded great. The blurb on the inside jacket of the book seemed promising and Terry Mcmillan tweeted that it was a great read. I don't agree. At. All. The book starts off kind of interesting, but midway through the reader is handed an invitation to crazy (you have to read the book to understand the reference). I cannot recall ever reading a book where I started off liking the main character and was totally annoyed with him/her by the fi...more
Jeanette Nicole
Davie Jones broke my heart while reading this book from the beginning to the end. There were times that I felt so sorry for her and others when I wanted to throttle her. I went into this book w/ preconceived notions and they were all flipped within 50 pages of this novel. I don't know how she did it, but Carter manages to tell an unpredictable tale that is comprised of predictable subject matter. Definitely one of my favorite books I've read this year.
Melanee
The absolutely most perfect comedic love story ever!! A must read! That is all!!!
kisha
Three words for this book...PREDICTABLE, PREDICTABLE, PREDICTABLE...Oh yeah and did I mention...PREDICTABLE!!! I hate predictable books and most romance novels are in fact predictable which is why I don't like romance novels. This book is filled with romantic cliche's (hints the 16 candles spin). However Ernessa Carter had managed to make me stand against everything I believe in when it comes to literature! how did you do it Carter?! I really enjoyed this book. There were things that I didn't li...more
Jacqueline
John Hughes's Sixteen Candles has long been a favorite of mine. When I heard that Ernessa Carter's debut novel would be a take on it my initial reaction was elation. Anything Sixteen Candles-related had to be good, right? Then, I started thinking about the few encounters that I've had with re-tellings, adaptations and spin-offs lately. That's when dread entered the picture and caused me to put of reading, for a little while, a novel that I had been itching to get. All of that's to say that Carte...more
Alexis Villery
This should be a mini-review because I can't talk about the book much without giving anything away. However... I don't follow my own rules sometimes. Davidia, or Davie, Jones has a rough upbringing and much of her child and young adulthood isn't fun. She escapes her life by watching a few 80s movies like 16 Candles and hopes for a similar ending. Unfortunately life happens and Davie realizes that these endings aren't easy to come by. Claiming to move on, she attempts to pick up the pieces and es...more
Sarah Clark
Davie grew up with a mean, alcoholic mother in Mississippi. Between her mother and the kids at school who call her Monkey Night (ugly as a monkey, dark as night), Davie receives so much emotional abuse that she shuts down and stops talking. All the while, Davie dreams of finding love and happiness like Molly Ringwold in 16 Candles.

This book shifts between past and present, and we come to know Davie the ugly duckling child and Davie the beautiful singer swan. What is billed as a romance is (with...more
Rachel
I found this book in the new fiction section of the library, where I like to look for a new read but don't know where to start looking. This was by far one of the most enjoyable books I have read in awhile. I loved the references to the iconic 80s movies I grew up watching: 16 Candles, Pretty in Pink, The Breakfast Club, etc., and how they influenced Davie, the main character. Carter's writing style flowed from the page much like a movie, complete with flashbacks that shared information to make...more
Victoria
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer
32 Candles is author Ernessa T. Carter's first novel. I loved this book! It made me smile, laugh, question the heroine's sanity, and even tear up a little bit. The book's synopsis described this book as "slightly twisted, utterly romantic, and deftly wry" and I couldn't agree more. There is a huge plot twist that made me throw everything I thought I knew about the lead character Davidia "Davie" Jones out the window. It definitely gave the story some drama and suspense as the storyline went in a...more
Lulu
I absolutely loved this book! It is my newest favorite.
Sara Strand
You know what else I loved about this book? Is that the main character Davie was really bullied in school and she just suffered quietly. And after she runs away and starts her new life, it eventually follows her back in some sick twist of fate. But what impacted me was that people don't always appreciate what their behavior as a young person does to a person all through their life. I know I didn't have it easy in high school but I certainly didn't have it as bad as other kids. And at our reunion...more
Necia
A book that compelled me to leave a review. 32 candles is the story of Davie Jones, a girl being raised by an abusive alcoholic mother. Davie was always the ugly/weird girl growing up, and the butt of many merciless and cruel jokes. Like most girls, Davie develops a crush on a guy in high school. Unfortunately the guy doesn't know she exists. Davie spends her time escaping reality by watching mushy romantic movies like 16 candles, which is her absolute favorite. She ultimately desires her Molly...more
Nandi Crawford
First of all, I came across the book by accident, but promised myself once I read the synopsis that I had to have it; Davidia's story is like mine except without some of the aspects. I was brought up in love; My mom and I clashed from time to time, but she had my best interest at heart. In this Davie had NO ONE. The one person who she could turn to, her mother, she only beat and accused her of stuff. On the night of the big party by the home of her secret crush, she buys a pretty dress, gets to...more
Tiffany Gathers
I was instantly drawn to this book since 16 Candles is my favorite movie. Knowing that it was a black chick as the main character created by a black author made me feel like I wasn't the only black girl who loved 16 Candles.

I strangely liked this book for the fact that it was entertaining. I would have liked to see some clarity with a few things. One, I wondered why she was okay with the fact that James did not remember her from high school. She did show a few qualms with issue, but it seemed r...more
Shannon
Originally posted at Bungalow Books

Initial Thoughts:
I am a lover of all things John Hughes, so this book was a must read for me.

The Pros:
I absolutely adored the style of writing in this book. It was funny and intelligent. There were many laugh out loud moments, yet moments that left me teary eyed.

Davie works HARD to get away from her past. But then her past shows up knocking on her front door. You have to admire the girl's work ethic.

The way Davie idolized John Hughes' movies reminds me of myse...more
angie
32 Candles is funny, touching, saucy at times, and very well written. It deals with some of my favorite things: Molly Ringwald movies, legendary singers, high school crushes reappearing 15 years later, and getting over the past once and for all.

In Ernessa T. Carter‘s delightful novel, Davida is a high school freshman who looks forward to the smallest glimpse of her crush as he walks through the hallway between classes. The feelings she has are hardly based on anything substantial. But, she dares...more
Beth
This "girl wants boy, girl (finally!) gets boy, girl loses boy" story starts strong, and finishes strong, but is little muddy in the middle.

32 Candles is the story of Davidia Jones, whose mother entertains a variety of gentleman callers -- none of them her absent father -- for a fee. Davidia, a homegirl in hand-me-downs, earns an unfortunate nickname and is bullied at school. Impersonating Tina Turner, and later, John Hughes films, are an escape from her poverty and torment, and when the local o...more
Victoria
An APB BOOK CLUB PERSPECTIVE REVIEW. ...

THIS was a Great Read....it was a stage reading and not only because the author told in in stages but because it gripped your heart in stages. I felt angry, sad hurt, happy shocked, enlightened, vindicated and then happy again. Davie was the caterpillar turned butterfly and example of a sick mind healed and a broken spirit mended. .. Thanks Tasha and Deloris... great recommend once again.
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Ernessa T. Carter has worked as an ESL teacher in Japan, a music journalist in Pittsburgh, a payroll administrator in Burbank, and a radio writer for American Top 40 with Ryan Seacrest in Hollywood. Shes also a retired L.A. Derby Doll. A graduate of Smith College and Carnegie Mellon Universitys MFA program, 32 CANDLES is her first novel."
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“That's the thing people never warn you about with breakups. It's the good times that really get you. In fact, they hurt worse than the bad times.” 24 likes
“I will never let a man hand me an Invitation to Crazy.” 23 likes
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