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32 Candles: A Novel Paperback – June 28, 2011
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From Publishers Weekly
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 when she bolts town with a lesbian trucker named Mama Jane and lands a gig as a '40s-style chanteuse in L.A. With a little Hollywood stardust, she redefines herself and begins living the life she's dreamed of--until James, the rich golden boy she had a crush on back home, walks into her nightclub. Not knowing their connected past, James promptly goes gaga for the overhauled Davie, whose need for sweet revenge adds a welcome dark edge to an otherwise predictable trajectory toward self-empowerment. New Agey embellishments (an "atonement list") seem like a misstep for a spirited heroine stuck in a middling narrative.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
*Starred Review* Carter’s captivating debut follows Davie Jones, an African American girl growing up in the 1980s in the small town of Glass, Mississippi. Scorned by her mother and classmates, Davie eventually stops speaking and takes refuge in the movies of Molly Ringwald, which promise happy endings for even the most downtrodden social outcast. Davie finds her dream guy in hunky James Farrell, a high-school football star who moves to Glass with his wealthy family. But her dreams are dashed when she incurs the ire of James’ cruel sister, Veronica, after Veronica catches her father visiting Davie’s promiscuous mother. Veronica then plays a mean prank that sends Davie running away from Glass for good, all the way to Los Angeles. There she finds her voice, both literally and figuratively, earning a living as a lounge singer. Davie is content with her life until James crashes back into it, causing demons from her past to bubble to the surface. With all the charm of a clever romantic comedy and peopled by appealing, memorable characters, Carter’s first novel is a winner on all fronts. --Kristine Huntley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
I am SO glad I bought this book. I read overwhelmed with wanting to hug Davidia, the author, and the actual book.
The plot, characters, emotions are all complex and mixed with the dirty realities of life along with the beautiful optimism that anything can happen and everyone deserves a "Molly Ringwald Ending." I won't get into the actual plot (you can read the summary) because it won't do justice to the book and it's best to let the story and characters surprise you. But I loved the story from the very beginning to the end and the characters were so real and human and lovely and flawed and broken and spirited that I truly enjoyed being allowed to live in their world for the brief time it took me to read.
Well, I was wrong: I loved it!
It begins as a coming of age story that morphs into a bigger tale of jealousy, deception, longing, and social status. I really empathized with the MC Davie. She had a terrible time in high school and goes through a lot to get her self-esteem back. The characters surrounding her create a wonderful arc in the story. There's a twist about 60% through that made me forget about everything going on in my life. I had to read it to the end!
If you've ever been bullied, taunted, or just really dig 80s movies, you'll love this book!