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Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  513 ratings  ·  88 reviews
House Parties. Pick-Up Trucks. Cherry-Vanilla Ice-Cream. Prom Night. Unrequited Love.

Welcome to the spring of 1987 and the world of Stephen Shulevitz who, with three months of high school to go in the small town of Riverside, Nova Scotia, has just realised he's fallen in love - with exactly the wrong person.

Welcome to the end of the world.

As Stephen navigates his last few
Paperback, 373 pages
Published March 1st 2013 by Hachette Ireland
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Janet Cameron Well, I'm happy you liked the inside of the book! To answer your question, authors who go with publishing companies instead of publishing their books…moreWell, I'm happy you liked the inside of the book! To answer your question, authors who go with publishing companies instead of publishing their books themselves have very little control over book covers, so I can't change it. There are actually two covers for Cinnamon Toast, the 'toaster' and 'the feet'. I'm okay with both of them, but the paperback cover ('the feet') is the one I like better. (less)
Janet Cameron Really? I never would have pictured him as Stanley. Someone once asked me who my ideal actors for this would be and all I could come up with was…moreReally? I never would have pictured him as Stanley. Someone once asked me who my ideal actors for this would be and all I could come up with was Adrien Brody for Stephen's dad. Unfortunately, there are no plans to make a film that I'm aware of.(less)
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Average rating 3.86  · 
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 ·  513 ratings  ·  88 reviews

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Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A coming of age story told from the point of view of Stephen a teenage boy struggling to accept his sexuality and his love for his best friend Mark. Amazing characterisation, razor sharp and very witty. A stunning debut.
Kim Trusty
Dec 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm feeling too many feelings, so I can't write anything - not even a sentence - about this book right now. Except to say that my heart aches but so does my face from smiling. So go read this.
Leigha Craig
Feb 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Despite planning my weekend to allow for a slow, careful reading of this book I ended up plowing through it at warp speed. However, my headlong rush through the pages often came to a screeching halt so I could pause to admire a certain scene, sentence, phrase, or even a particularly well-chosen word. Then, I would begin flip, flip, flipflipflipping the pages all over again. This rough pace was entirely my fault but Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World was well worth it and I'm already looking ...more
The title and cover of this YA novel are a bit deceiving; this is not the whimsical or light-hearted tale you might be expecting. What I really liked about this book was how vividly it brought (80s) rural Nova Scotia to life. Emotionally it was also very vivid, but quite tense and exhausting at times. Not surprisingly given the setting, Stephen's coming out narrative involves encountering a lot of homophobia. There are funny and sweet moments but overall it's a fairly heavy, although beautifully ...more
Penny McGill
Feb 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canadian
With a title like this I hoped for something lighter. The text on the back of the book promised "House parties - Pick-up trucks - Cherry-vanilla ice cream - Prom night - Unrequited Love" and all of those things were actually in the book, but not in the cheerful way I had hoped. It's a coming of age tale that is filled with misunderstandings and miscues but the voice of Stephen comes across loud and clear through Janet Cameron's writing.

It's not a light read but it is so worth reading. I'm sure
Zoe Carney
I expected to really like this book - the premise was interesting, and the blurb made it sound like something I would connect with (young person coming to terms with his sexuality in a small town).

Sadly, the execution left me a bit cold. Sure, it was an interesting story, but it felt a little bit like 'story by numbers', like something a student would produce in a writing class having closely studied all the elements of how a story should work. And the characters, while potentially intriguing,
Brian Finnegan
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
At the beginning of Cinnamon Toast and The End of the World, Stephen Shulevitz’s world as he knows it comes to an end. He’s reached the sudden realisation that he’s in love with his best buddy, Mark, and that he desperately wants to kiss him.

This is a ‘coming out’ novel. You know from the opening scene that Stephen will have to overcome a series of emotional obstacles before eventually coming to terms with his sexuality; that towards the end he’s going to tell Mark that he fancies him, for
Jun 12, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written book. Like life, it's full of as much pain as laughter. A truly incredible first book and a story that speaks volumes about the complexity of growing up gay in a small town. Not only to be enjoyed by the LGBT community - we can all relate to being an extreme outsider at some stage in our lives. Read it; you won't regret it.
Feb 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
I was able to read an advance of this book prior to its publication and I really enjoyed the read! Even though the character is in his last year of high school and lives a very rural life that is definitely unlike mine, I found him very relatable. Great book, I hope it does well!
Mar 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book is amazing!! . It captures so well the experiences of being "different" in a small town, and coming of age in a place that is both stifling and small minded, as well as community-oriented, and dismissed by the big city as "full of hicks". I couldn't put it down!
Kathryn Mullin
Jun 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
Very good, captures perfectly what it's like to be an outsider in high school.
Jodi R.
Aug 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I ADORED this book. I loved the story, but also loved Janet Cameron's use of language. Beautiful. Love, love, LOVE this book!
Sheena Lambert
Feb 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If you've ever been a teenager, you will enjoy this. I missed Stephan when he was gone.... great book about growing up. Not for the very faint-hearted, but a great story, really well written.
Actual rating: 4.5 stars

I can't believe how good this book is–and I can't believe it's this good and yet so few people have read it or even heard of it. It's keenly observed, achingly beautiful, shockingly real. I fell in love with every moment of reading it. It's a coming-of-age, coming out story, and–I don't consider this a spoiler, really, because it's important for me to know these things going in–there's homophobic violence. The gay guy gets beaten up. But it doesn't feel trite in the
Jun 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
I felt drained, lifeless. I was sure that everything was ruined. I'd never feel the same way around Mark. It would never be easy and comfortable between us again.

I was right, as it turned out.

Now you tell me that's not the end of the world.

What a bittersweet read. I'd say it was way more bitter than sweet. It'd be polite to start off with a warning: the synopsis and design of the book does not prepare you for how quietly heartbreaking this story is. Not at all.

Stephen Shulevitz is on his last
Feb 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
5/5 stars!!!!

I just don't know how to write this review in a way that will carry across how much I love this. Cinnamon Toast follows seventeen year old Stephen Shulevitz at the end of the world- AKA when he realises/accepts that he's in love with his best friend, Mark. And this is just the first chapter. What follows is a look at Stephen's life as he graduates from high school and starts college/university, with a large part of the book centring around Stephen's struggle with sexuality.

Orla McAlinden
Apr 21, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Hey" shouted a lady in the playground yesterday, "Isn't that your little girl crying at the top of the climbing frame?"
I pulled myself reluctantly out of "cinnamon toast and the end of the world" and back into my own humdrum world.
I started the book at 10 am and finished it at 10 pm, standing beside the Easter Sunday Roast, reading with one hand and basting with the other, and I think that's all I really need to say about it.
It's not nearly as literary as the books I tend to read, but it
Sep 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
It's been a while since a book has surprised me, but Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World did just that.

Going into the novel, I was expecting a coming out story with some strife but more humor and lightheartedness than drama or danger. Was I ever wrong. Cameron delivers a gut-punch of reality to the reader, brutally and unflinchingly portraying 1980s small-town homophobia. Combine that with some deeply flawed but ultimately likeable characters and a fast-paced narrative, and Cinnamon Toast
Oct 01, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love a well-crafted coming-of-age story with a tough and intelligent protagonist. Cameron delivers beautifully. I loved the complexity of the characters and their reactions, and I was comforted by the hopefulness of the ending. All around, an excellent story.
Aug 19, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
oh yay he fell in love with his homophobic best friend
Jul 05, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: escape-reading
I was at the library, staring at the shelves and bemoaning the fact that I couldn't find anything to read! And there on a trolley, lying on top of several books waiting to be shelved was a book with a drawing toast popping out of a toaster and the words, Cinnamon Toast and The End of the World a novel Janet E. Cameron

I opened it and read the first paragraph:

'It's not the end of the world.'
That's what people will tell you. That's what people will tell you when they want to say, 'Your problems
Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World


“Cinnamon Toast” was a surprise. Someone had said it was the best book they’d read that described being a gay guy, so I picked it up and had a scan of the first page. After that I think I just swallowed the book whole. You know how sometimes you don’t recall reading at all, because you’re so busy living and breathing with the characters?

Stephen was like that. I’m still surprised he doesn’t have physical hair, or that he’s not somewhere reading Donald Trump
Jonathan Sprung
Jul 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was excited to find a story set in rural Nova Scotia, because I had taken my family for a vacation in the Maritimes last summer, and I’ve been searching for good Canadian novels all year. Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World is the debut novel of Janet E. Cameron, a first-person story of Stephen, a confused kid trying to get through his last year of high school. His world is thrown into chaos when he discovers difficult truths about his parents, friends, and about himself. It is a delicious ...more
Jason Stamp
Nov 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
I'd give it somewhere between a 4 and 4.5 out of 5.

I really enjoyed this one, the second half of the book was really excellent. I wanted the main character of Stephen to have more internal conflict going on in his head about being gay, denial, coming to terms with it, coming out. As a young, confused teen surrounded by negativity towards gay people, he probably would have been questioning himself a lot more, being in deep denial about the situation, and it would probably be constantly on his
Aela Maxwell
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5-star
Spoilers ahead. So, I went into this expecting a lovely, light-hearted coming of age story. That is not what I got at all, but I am not sorry for it. What I did get is an incredibly honest and emotional story that challenges the idyllic idea that everything will work out how you want it to in the end. Which I think is really important. So many of these coming of age stories end on a hopeful guy-gets-the-guy (or any variation of gender) note, but part-way through this, I knew that wasn't going to ...more
Jul 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This, for me, was a coming-of-age story full of the awkward joys of NOT being the most popular kid in school complicated further by the protagonist, Stephen, coming to terms with being gay and what that means for the rest of his life. His parents are characters that have been truly well explored and some of the dialogue with his estranged father is sad, it will really hit home for anyone who comes from a divorced family. There were a few moments in the book where I experienced ...more
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So i had to read this book for Grade 10(ISU, you get to choose your own book from a list of Canadian author books and then write an essay answering a question that the teacher assigns you). I choose Cinnamon Toast without knowing much about the book so it was kind of a shock that this book was centered around a gay teen who was in love with his best friend. Although i have nothing against the LGBT community, this was the first book i read that contained this particular subject matter. But the ...more
Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When Stephen realises at the age of 15 that he is in love with his best friend Mark, he knows he’s in for a bumpy road ahead, but no-one could foresee just how bumpy. Growing up gay is not easy in the small Nova Scotia town of Janet E. Cameron’s making and the author does not hold back from exposing us to the full extent of the cruelty and violence of Stephen’s journey. There are times I found myself clutching my belly as I read this book!

Stephen is a very real hero. He is naïve in terms of
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
This book kind of broke my heart. It was sad and a little happy and bittersweet towards the end. Stephen is a bit of a misfit and has a lot of internal struggles that just eat him alive and the way he handles it isn't always the best. He's not the best decision maker and he makes a lot of mistakes but I was rooting for him. I wanted him to find some happiness and in a way he sort of does. I did enjoy the book a lot, but it just made me sad. Maybe it was too relatable or Steph's story was just ...more
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Janet E. Cameron was born in 1970 in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and grew up in the beautiful Annapolis Valley. In 1991 she graduated from Dalhousie University with a BA in English and spent the next ten years at a number of pursuits: living in a cabin in Nova Scotia, slopping coffee in Vancouver, getting qualified as a teacher in Montreal (specialising in English as a second language), teaching ...more
“I realised I really was shy. And once I was in it, I couldn't escape. I'd go to talk and find my face was made of cement. Nothing would come out. On winter days, I'd feel myself turning grey at the edges and fading into the walls.

Was this defensive strategy? It was paralysing. And it went on for years.”
“It's not the end of the world.'
That's what people will tell you. That's what people will tell you when they want to say, 'Your problems are stupid, your reaction to them is laughable, and I would like you to go away now.”
More quotes…