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Rabbit Cake

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  8,544 ratings  ·  1,246 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
Kindle Edition, 338 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 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  8,544 ratings  ·  1,246 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Feb 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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

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 migh
"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
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
Oct 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book in one day. Could not put it down. Honest. Quirky. Funny. Brutally real. So so so very good.
When Elvis's mother burns the rabbit shaped cake she makes for all birthdays and new beginnings, it marks a bad start to her tenth year. Elvis's mother dies in a freak sleep swimming accident. Then her troubled older sister, Lizzie, starts sleep eating and almost poisons herself night after night. Her father starts wearing her mother's lipsticks and robe in his state of grief, and then adopts a parrot from the local pet store because it can mimic his late wife's voice. The place where Elvis take ...more
Jul 05, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
LeAnne: GeezerMom
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
Feb 23, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
“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!
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-on-kindle
From the perspective of the young Elvis Babbitt, a bildungsroman of wisdom and humor, Rabbit Cake takes the reader on an educational journey through grief and revelation. Annie Hartnett's writing is effortless and smart, without gimmicks or sentimentality. To write from a child's perspective with such a believable balance of earnestness and skepticism, emotion and logic is a feat that few have accomplished. It's not often that a book draws me in from the very beginning and doesn't let go until I ...more
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
Nov 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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

Aug 01, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, fiction, bookclub
...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
Sep 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
This book was weirrrrrd, just how I like 'em! ...more
Melissa Stacy
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
Katlynn Nicolls
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
RABBIT CAKE is a hilarious, messy, and emotionally compelling narrative that you'll want to return to again and again. Hartnett's quirky characters leap straight off the page and, surprisingly, take you down the very real journey of finding normalcy in the midst of grief. Filled with moments of breathless laughter and heartbreaking realizations, Rabbit Cake is a real treat. ...more
The audio version of this book is sublime, highly recommended.
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Play Book Tag: Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett - 3 stars 3 22 Mar 11, 2019 01:30PM  

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