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Rabbit Cake

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  10,237 ratings  ·  1,471 reviews
This is a darkly comic novel about a young girl named Elvis trying to figure out her place in a world without her mother. Twelve-year-old Elvis Babbitt has a head for the facts: she knows science proves yellow is the happiest color, she knows a healthy male giraffe weighs about 3,000 pounds, and she knows that the naked mole rat is the longest living rodent. She knows she ...more
Paperback, 332 pages
Published March 7th 2017 by Tin House Books
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Gabriella Readers are those to decide on Goodreads by placing them in the corresponding shelves. If you're like me, the cover, title, and summary seem that of a…moreReaders are those to decide on Goodreads by placing them in the corresponding shelves. If you're like me, the cover, title, and summary seem that of a children/pre-teen book. I can assure you that "young adult" is a good classification for this book. There are lots of darker and more mature aspects to it. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone under 14 or mature 13(less)

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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  10,237 ratings  ·  1,471 reviews

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Elvis Babbitt shares a birthday with the King of Rock ‘n' Roll, which is why her mother insisted they name their second daughter Elvis. On her tenth birthday, her Mom burned the rabbit cake, and warns Elvis that this might be an unpleasant year for her. Rabbits are an omen of good luck, and her mother liked to celebrate new beginnings with a bit of good luck – but a burnt rabbit…that might not be so lucky. Omens and belief in such things as spiritual rebirth and psychics might seem out of charac
Diane S ☔
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: lor
On their birthdays their mom would make them rabbit cakes from a special rabbit mold. That Is when 11 year old Elvis and her sister, Lizzie, fifteen, still had a mom, before she drowned in what they were calling an accident. Elvis believes there is more to the story, and is trying very hard to keep her little family together. Things are not going so well though, her sister is sleep eating and her dad walks around wearing her mom's lipstick and articles of clothing.

Elvis is one of those child na
Sujoya (semi-hiatus till the end of the year)
Annie Hartnett’s debut novel follows the Alabama based Babbitt family - ten-year-old Elvis, her older sister fifteen-year-old Lizzie, their father Frank and their family dog Boomer as they come to terms with the death of the girls’ mother and Frank’s wife, Eva Rose Babbitt who died from drowning in the Chattahoochee river after sleepwalking into it.

“Mom always said we needed a cake to mark every new beginning, and whether it was a birthday or a first day of school or a new moon, rabbits mean go
"That was what her rabbit cakes were about, celebrating every small good thing in your life. I know most families don't celebrate every new moon or every solstice and equinox, but maybe they should. You never know when someone you love will shoot themselves in the middle of their own birthday party, or be found dead in another state, caught in a river dam, so everyone might as well have their cake right now."
This quote is a prime example of this book's tone: emotional, honest, darkl
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at:

“We’re all different combinations of crazy.”

A book hangover, that is. It appears a handful of my friends read Rabbit Cake this past Spring, but GR must have been glitchy (or maybe I was sleep-scrolling then) because I don’t remember hearing anything about it until just last week when my real-life friend (hard to believe, but yes I do have like two of them) said she thought it might be right up my alley. If you’re reading this,
"Rabbit Cake" by Annie Hartnett has personality galore! I don't think I've ever enjoyed a protagonist more than 10 year-old, Elvis Babbitt. She's eccentric, (yes, she's a girl) compassionate, intelligent, hilarious, and simply adorable. This is a beautiful coming-of-age YA novel about grief and healing. Elvis's mother dies unexpectedly in a drowning accident (from sleepwalking), and Elvis is left with unanswered questions surrounding her mother's demise. Was it an accident or was it intentional? ...more
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook

I listened to this slim book start to finish on a long car drive and loved it. How can you resist a book that opens with this sentence:
“On my tenth birthday, six months before she sleepwalked into the river, Mom burned the rabbit cake.”

The narrator is Elvis Babbitt, a ten-year-old girl who has just lost her mother, Eva. I fell completely in love with her. She’s quirky and lovable, wise, yet naïve. Her weird and quirky family attempt to navigate the world and find their new normal after their mo
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I hugged this book to my chest multiple times while reading it; that’s how much I love it. Rabbit Cake is a sweet (and occasionally melancholic) tale of intrigue, full of heart, and with a lovable cast of characters. Elvis Babbitt is learning about grief after her mother’s accidental death, which she still isn’t convinced was a mishap. Her sister, Lizzie, has been causing trouble during her sleepwalking episodes, and her dad has replaced his deceased wife with a parrot that can perfectly mimic h ...more
Aug 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I completely fell in love with Elvis's voice and the way Annie Hartnett depicts the Babbitt clan's messy and weird yet compellingly truthful journey through their grief. It’s that perfect balance of hilarious and poignant that will make you laugh out loud while you have a lump in your throat. I want to read this novel again and again! ...more
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Ten-year-old Elvis Babbitt narrates this quirky southern novel as she processes her mother’s death. Her mother, who is an eccentric character, ailed in sleep swimming. She didn’t sleep walk, she sleep swam. Elvis’s father and mother would go to bed with their swimsuits on to keep propriety. Her father would follow her mother out to the lake, along with Boomer the family dog, and watch to assure no drowning. Unfortunately, one night her father failed to wake up, and her mother died.

Elvis’s mother
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in one day. Could not put it down. Honest. Quirky. Funny. Brutally real. So so so very good.
Aug 08, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
[3.75] Ten year old Elvis is struggling with her mother's death and her sister's out of control sleepwalking in this unusual coming of age novel. It is disturbing, tender, fun, sweet and bizarre. That is Annie Hartnett for you. ...more
Chelsea (chelseadolling reads)
While this book ended up being completely different from what I was expecting, it DID have a baby hippo in it so I am not mad at it.
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful story about mourning and acceptance. I loved the story. The characters were very relatable. I highly recommend it.
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
“We’re all different combinations of crazy.”

What an incredible debut! I’m attached to the little girl named Elvis, her passion for animals, and love for her sister. It’s quirky, relatable, and emotional just like real life. This had everything I look for and more, including a striking cover. Yellow, of course, being the happiest color. 💛

Can’t wait to see what Hartnett does next!
LA Cantrell
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was ok
My little annoyances with this book seemed to multiply like rabbits with each chapter. Cutesy YA/Chick Lit that tries way too hard to be quirky and uplifting.

The Babbitt family is grieving over the recent drowning death of the mom who was known to regularly sleep-walk and sleep-swim. Her sleep-swimming has occurred so often that each night before bed, she and her husband put on swimsuits so she won't be seen naked swimming across the river and he can be ready to hop in to save her if need be.

Apr 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a small way the characters, although completely different, reminded me of the kind of characters in Tyler's Homesick Restaurant- that is- people who seem very offbeat but people you come to really care about. Read the excellent reviews written by Diane S and Jennifer. ...more
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I'm not one to really love quirky child characters but this redeemed itself in the end for me. It's been lingering on my Kindle for a while and I picked it up at sea. I actually think it would have been a good book to include when I was doing all that grief reading last year, but it's a universal theme. Only for Elvis, her mother has died and she isn't sure how to do this thing called grieving. She tries to do it right while holding her family together, from a sister who sleepwalks just like her ...more
Elyse Walters
Aug 28, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“How many rabbit cakes did the current record holder bake? I asked”.
“I’m not sure it’s an official record, Lizzie said. ‘How many do you think Mom made?”
“In her whole life? I didn’t know. Mom had owned that cake pan for a long time. I wondered how many world records had gone unrecorded.
How did you really know yours was the world record and not just the only one someone had bothered to write down?”

Elvis Babbitt is a priceless ten year old girl who loves animals…. and through them, she is f
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction, reviews
I am completely in love with this book. Since finishing I've been gushing about it to anyone who will listen, and I've loaned it out to several different people. The story is narrated by Elvis, who I wish I knew in real life because she is wonderfully weird and smart and insightful. Annie Hartnett could not have created a more qualified narrator for describing the ways in which we grieve, and for helping us understand that there is no "normal" way to do it. Each person experiences loss in his or ...more
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This one pulled on my heartstrings - Debut novelist, Annie Hartnett swept me from the beginning of the first chapter. A darkly comic novel about a young girl (named Elvis) trying to figure out her place in the world without her mother. Alice and her wunderland... lovely story about dealing with grief, family and adulthood.
lucky little cat
keywords: nerd child, quirky, cure for grief, animal lovers, doomed ADHD mother, badass sister, moping cross-dressing dad, sleepwalking, sleepswimming, sleepeating, misplaced guilt, hope, therapeutic baking

Book Riot Community
Hartnett’s novel is kind of like when a lone cloud drifts in front of the sun for a few minutes during a day at the beach. The atmosphere is warm and vibrant, but there’s a looming reminder of how quickly our fragile environments can be overcast. Delight and dolefulness collide in Rabbit Cake, and it leaves one overwhelmed by the simple beauty of the novel’s spectrum of emotion. Elvis Babbitt, a ten-year-old girl who’s just lost her mother due to the hazards of sleepwalking, is likely the most m ...more
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Elvis Babbitt, a young girl from Alabama who suddenly and tragically loses her mother just as she starts fifth grade, narrates this story that centers around grief, mental illness, family bonds, healing and baking cakes shapes liked rabbits.

Elvis has a strong voice as she tells the tale of what happens to her quirky and enigmatic family in the eighteen months after her mother's death. You are compelled to keep reading as you really just want this lovable girl to come out the other side of all th
Aug 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: bookclub, fiction, 2017
...I'd figured out by now that death never makes sense, no matter how someone dies: murder, accident, old age, cancer, suicide, you're never ready to lose someone you love.

A charming, quirky book about a family dealing with grief. I loved that all the characters were allowed to just be themselves, warts and all. Elvis is probably one of the most genuine ten year old narrators I've come across in a long time - I enjoyed her scientific outlook on life, as well as all the animal factoids shared thr
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads
I now decided that I need a shelf for literary kids that I adore. Maybe it should be called, "Kids I actually Like," because, in general, I'm not a kid person. I love kids in literature, providing they aren't overly precious or precocious. Here lies little Elvis. She is the BEST!!

Elvis's family is in turmoil. Her mother has died. Her dad is wearing his wife's bathrobe and her makeup and has adopted a pet parrot from the pet store who talks in wife's voice. Her sister Lizzie is sleepwalking and m
Annie Wylde
Aug 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
RABBIT CAKE is one of those really special books that manages to illuminate and magnify the experience of loss and resilience through the eyes of Elvis, a tomboyish young girl with a weird and brilliant mind grappling with her mother's death. I was often struck by the kinship between Elvis and TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD'S Scout, two young protagonists with iconic voices, taking in their dysfunctional worlds with eyes that see far more than people give them credit for. And like Scout, Elvis is not a p ...more
Melissa Stacy
Jan 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
DNF on page 321 at 97%

I tried very hard to finish this novel. Published by Tin House Books, "Rabbit Cake" follows the story of Elvis Babbitt, an eleven/twelve-year-old girl whose mother has recently drowned.

There is no plot, other than following Elvis and her family for a year and a half after the unexpected death of their matriarch. Everyone around Elvis struggles with grief in frustrating ways that are meant to seem humorous. This book was one of the most tiresome episodes in Nothing Happens
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Rabbit Cake bursts with life, at once heartbreaking and heartwarming. The author has written rich characters who walk off the page, bending, changing, and growing as time moves them past the tragedy of their mother's death. We get to see the world through a wholly individual little girl named Elvis only the way a child can see the world--innocent, fresh and open. The strangeness of this story (think rabbit shaped cake obsessions and Jesus statues made out of sea shells) rings so true because of ...more
Aug 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book was weirrrrrd, just how I like 'em! ...more
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