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32 Candles

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  4,066 Ratings  ·  752 Reviews
This debut novel of longing for family, love, and acceptance finds some interesting territory before settling too early into inevitability. Davidia Jones, a nerdy child of poverty, is abused by her alcoholic mother and despicable father and is the subject of merciless taunting at her high school. But it's the "Molly Ringwald Ending" that guides this fragile 15-year-old whe ...more
Hardcover, 335 pages
Published June 22nd 2010 by Amistad (first published June 8th 2010)
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RJ The crush/romantic interest in the book is AA.

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Jennifer Barbee
Jul 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
*4.5 stars*

"I cut the article out and placed it reverent-like between the pages of my hardback edition of The Colour Purple. It was my favourite book and home to Celie, the black character I identified with most in the world, because she was ugly and got treated ugly but still found her way to a happy ending. Sort of like Molly Ringwald. And exactly like me. Eventually. I hoped."
- Ernessa T. Carter, 32 Candles

It's been years since I've read anything resembling chick lit (disclaimer: I know
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to LaDonna by: Leo Gordy

A little over 7 years ago (09/15/2010), my husband surprised me and brought home an autographed copy of 32 Candles . He had met the author and said that he could not wait for me to read it. He believed that I would love it! According to him, the buzz around the book was great! I read the book's description on the lip of the dust jacket. Then, I read the inscription:
"Thank you so much for supporting this book! You're fantastic... -- 100% Best, Ernessa T. Carter"
The book's description soun
Maggie Desmond-O'Brien
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Asma H
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
Have you ever felt ugly?

Imagine having a face that even your mother didn’t love. What if everyone you knew constantly reaffirmed the negative thoughts you had about your looks? Let’s go even further than that and assume that your unsightly appearance wasn’t just a suspicion you had but common knowledge in your tiny town.

32 Candles is the story of Davie, a dark skin black girl who grew up poor and in a constant state of yearning. In the beginning of the novel we are introduced to a young Davie
Jul 03, 2010 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Book Riot Community
I immediately bought this book after reading that the main character, Davidia, wanted a “Molly Ringwald Ending” after she watched 16 Candles. AND THEN as soon as I finished reading the ebook I immediately bought the book in paperback because I needed this book to sit on my shelf so I could smile at it. The story starts with Davidia using Molly Ringwald movies to escape her terrible childhood until she finally flees, leaving behind her “Jake Ryan” and her hopes for her own Molly Ringwald Ending. ...more
Jun 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
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
Nov 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Who doesn't like an ugly duckling to swan story? Davie Jones grows up hard with an abusive mother and kids who make fun of her even calling her "monkey night" in her predominantly black school in Mississippi.But after watching the movie 16 Candles she dreams of leaving her hecklers behind for the bright lights of Hollywood. This is an easy to read, in turns funny and sad book about a sassy character who causes plenty of commotion trying to take back control of her life and find acceptance and lo ...more
Read In Colour
May 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
It was just as good the second time around, y'all. I even got choked up at the end like I didn't know what was going to happen.
❤:.   . • ○ ° Zatarra Reads . . • ○ ° ❤
I thought this was a great read! Fun and full of twists. I thought the premise of the cute. Bonus, much of the book is linked to the 80s (#ILOVETHE80s). So, it was a definite winner-winner-chicken dinner in my book.

The main character is Davie Jones, a small town girl from Mississippi who was teased all throughout her hometown and up until her high school years. The local popular kids in high school decide to play a horrible prank on her one day. Devastated by this, Davie decides to ru
Sep 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This book caught me by surprise. Terry McMillan promoted it via twitter. It had been a long time since I read a book that was not published by my company, so I was eager for something new. It swallowed me hole. In the beginning I really did not know where it was going, and was a little lost on the Molly Ringwald references, but it did not hold me back or slow me down. Not to produce any spoilers but I loved the ending. It felt complete and I was happy, and had no clue what I was going to do now ...more
Nov 01, 2010 rated it liked it
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
May 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Not Now...Mommy's Reading
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
Sarah Clark
Jul 02, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
Nov 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
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
Dec 14, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Monica **can't read fast enough**
I didn't have any expectations going into 32 Candles, but what I got was a very enjoyable read. Carter gives her readers a strong heroine that comes into her strengths believably; faults and all. Davie survives the horrific combination of neglect and abuse at the hands of her alcoholic mother whose main means of support is received through the many men who frequently come in and out of their home. Davie suffers through the abuse and taunts of her peers because of her poverty as well as being a d ...more
May 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
WHY IS THIS BOOK NOT A MOVIE?! I would pay American dollars (even foreign monies, if necessary) to watch a movie based on this book.
Lauren Cecile
Sep 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Fun, witty, well written and highly entertaining.
Cheryl James
Sometimes when your born and raised into crazy all you know is crazy!!

April book club selection😎
Jun 11, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Steph Su
Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  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
Jun 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Absolutely loved this book. Super!!!! check out my post at
tomorrow for a more in depth review.
Aug 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ari by: Read In Colour
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
Fani *loves angst*
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
Aug 22, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gr-authors, af-am
I enjoyed this book tremendously. It's a story about a phsically and mentally abused young girl who eventually runs away from Mississippi to Los Angeles to make a better life for herself. Because of the abuse she has suffered she is not "all there" mentally and causes some serious problems for others. I probably would have given the book a rating of five but sections on her atoning for her horrendous behavior were really not too believable to me. Carter is a great writer who keeps the reader int ...more
Kellsea Paige
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: EVERYONE!
THIS BOOK WAS E V E R Y T H I N G!! I could not put it down! I NEED this to become a series because THIS STORY CAN'T END WITH THIS BOOK. My all time FAVORITE by far!! The writing was flawless, and the story was so authentic! LOVE LOVE LOVE!!
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topics  posts  views  last activity   
Around the Year i...: 32 Candles, by Ernessa Carter 1 7 Feb 11, 2018 05:58PM  
African-American ...: June BB: 32 Candles 34 23 Jun 18, 2014 01:22PM  
Chick Lit Book Club: 10/2013: 32 Candles: Chapter 8-14 Questions 3 42 Mar 21, 2014 05:58PM  
Chick Lit Book Club: 10/2013: 32 Candles: Chapter 1-7 Questions 3 44 Mar 21, 2014 05:40PM  
Chick Lit Book Club: 10/2013: 32 Candles: Chit Chat 9 60 Mar 21, 2014 05:32PM  
The Blerd Book Club: 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter 1 23 Feb 01, 2014 07:26AM  
32 Candles 8 87 Dec 08, 2013 07:05PM  
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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."
More about Ernessa T. Carter

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“I will never let a man hand me an Invitation to Crazy.” 28 likes
“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.” 26 likes
More quotes…