Reviewed by Jocelyn Pearce for TeensReadToo.com
I had high expectations for this book, the third Rachel Cohn has written about Cyd Charisse (the first two are GINGERBREAD and SHRIMP). The previous adventures of Cyd Charisse were absolutely brilliant. This book didn't quite live up to those expectations, but perhaps they were unreasonably high. But this was still a fabulous book!
In CUPCAKE, Cyd Charisse (or CC, as she now prefers to be called) has graduated from high school and moved to Manhattan. She's staying with Danny, her half-brother, and she's thrilled to finally be independent. She's not going to think about Shrimp; the two of them agreed to a clean break after she turned down his offer of marriage and a life with Iris and Billy, his pothead parents, in New Zealand. That's what she wanted...right? She's going to fill up her time and her mind with other things...like handsome delivery guys and maybe even a fling with Luis. She's starting her new life, and Shrimp's starting his--separately.
Unfortunately, all of CC's big plans come screeching to a halt when she falls down the stairs, breaks her leg, and is immobile in Danny's fifth-floor walk-up apartment for weeks. All she can do is order food, watch movies, spy on the neighbors...and think. Thinking is exactly what she didn't want to have time to do, but now there's nothing better.
Even though she can't forget about Shrimp, there are a few distractions in New York City. CC's playing matchmaker, hanging out with Autumn, ditching culinary school, visiting her grouchy old neighbor, getting a job, and even bonding with lisBETH, her older half-sister.
No book with CC would be complete without Shrimp. I was worried he wouldn't show up at all, and CC might have been secretly hoping he would, too. And so he does. Just when Cyd Charisse is getting used to her life in New York, Shrimp shows up, and she's forced to make a really hard choice yet again: follow true love or follow her own dreams in the huge city she's calling home these days?
This is a fantastically well-written, funny, and touching novel, as is to be expected from Rachel Cohn. It's quite possible that my slight disappointment resulted only from the fact that I was missing some of my favorite characters throughout much of the book, like Helen and Shrimp. Still, though, Cyd Charisse's voice in this book is as honest, fresh, and brilliant as in the previous two, capturing my attention just as easily. CC is a fantastic character; probably one of my favorite book characters ever. CUPCAKE, along with GINGERBREAD and SHRIMP, is a must-read!