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Gingerbread Paperback – June 1, 2003

4.3 out of 5 stars 124 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Cyd Charisse Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The 16-year-old "recovering hellion" (as her stepfather refers to her) who narrates Cohn's debut novel, breathes a joie de vivre into this story of her bicoastal family. Cyd Charisse (named for the dancer/actress), a wealthy and wild love child, begins her story after being booted out of boarding school. Nearly the first half of the novel is set in San Francisco, where she's having trouble settling back into life with a mother obsessed with weight and a perfect house, and a boyfriend, Shrimp, who suddenly wants his space. Her mother and stepdad agree to send her to her biological father in New York City, whom she's only met once (when he gave her Gingerbread, a still-treasured rag doll). Cohn creates a vivid sense of place and culture on both coasts and, although Cyd doesn't find the perfect family in either place, she is able to find a more mature version of herself. Plus, she learns to appreciate both sides of her family; she's even able to finally tell her mother about her secret abortion. Cohn covers a lot of ground, from prep school flashbacks to Cyd's discovery of the secrets on her father's side of the family. Some of the characters and plot points are more developed than others; for instance, Cyd's elderly hip and clairvoyant friend, Sugar Pie, and Shrimp may seem more vivid to readers than Cyd's younger West Coast half-siblings. In the end, it's Cyd's creativity and energy that keep the story on course, and her magnetic narrative will keep readers hooked. Ages 13-up.

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

Grade 9&Up--According to stepdad, Sid, Cyd Charisse is a "recovering hellion." Kicked out of boarding school, the teen returns home to San Francisco. True to her wild nature and obsession with boys, she does anything to get a rise from her parents. She is grounded in her "puke-princess bedroom" after being caught out overnight again with surfer-boyfriend, Shrimp. Finally, Sid and Nancy send her to bio-dad in NYC. Meeting her real father and family has long been Cyd's dream. Since he was married with children when her mom had an affair with him, he is virtually a stranger to her. When Cyd got in trouble at boarding school and needed money for an abortion though, she called him. He didn't remember Gingerbread, the rag doll he gave her when she was five, but he helped her out. Cyd Charisse sees herself when she meets him 11 years later. She finds excitement working in her gay half-brother's caf‚ as a barista and exploring New York. Confrontations with her older half-sister and brief talks with her father bring Cyd more knowledge about her families on both coasts. Her strong, independent, and kinky personality; realistic take on life; and quick mind make her a memorable character. Cohn works wonders with snappy dialogue, up-to-the-minute language, and funny repartee. Her contemporary voice is tempered with humor and deals with problems across two generations. Funny and irreverent reading with teen appeal that's right on target.

Gail Richmond, San Diego Unified Schools, CA

Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 172 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (June 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780689860201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0689860201
  • ASIN: 068986020X
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (124 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #550,736 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Rebekah Sue Carolla VINE VOICE on September 28, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Add a rebellious teenager named Cyd Charisse to parents named Sid and Nancy. Throw in a biological father on another coast, a brooding surfing/artist boyfriend whose brother runs several fine coffee shops, a tarot reading best friend in a nursing home, and a doll named Gingerbread -- all that, and you're still not going to get a good story unless the author knows her stuff. Even a splash of a hot-hot-hot ex boyfriend and a boarding school scandal won't do it, unless the author knows how to capture characters on the written page. This, gentle readers, is an incredible book by a fabulous author.
While Cid in "Gingerbread" isn't quite one's typical teenager (she's got a bit more money than most), the trials and tribulations are incredibly real with this obviously brilliant character. There are no minor characters in this book; everyone is very much alive.
I first heard of Gingerbread, which is mentioned in a chapter of the 2002 Children's Writers & Illustrators Market (available on amazon.com). The description is good enough that, instead of going to another library to do research on homework this weekend, I made a trip to a library with a children's and young adults' room specifically so that I could take this book off the shelf to read. I read it in under two hours. (It was a welcome relief from legal tomes! Furthermore, even though I'm now going to have to spend Sunday in the law library, meaning that I won't have any days off, giving up an afternoon to read something THIS delightful was worth it.)
This book will make a unique gift for a teenage girl or boy who isn't quite as angelic as the Bobbsey Twins -- or perhaps for the parent of such a young adult. I am desperately hoping for a sequel, and I'm in my early 30s.
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Format: Hardcover
I was extremely excited to see Gingerbread at the library ... I started it last night and finished it this morning and loved it. ...Cyd Charisse is a 16 year old who's had sex, lived across the country from half her family, and just experienced life completely differently from me. But she's a great character that you grow to care about with her coffee obsession and her boyfriend Shrimp that you want things to work out with. She has some more serious issues with the dad she's never known, and the boyfriend who abandoned her when she was pregnant. Ever constant is Cyd Charisse's special perfect place where she would like to retreat to..it's interesting to see how this place changes as her life changes. All in all there is a happy way it all comes together, but I'm hoping for a sequel because I love the author's style of writing! Anyways, I might not be articulating this well, but go read it because it may be a quick read, but it also really makes you smile and think about the little things in life!
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Format: Hardcover
Gingerbread is about a 16 year old girl dealing with teenage problems. Her biological father lives in New York, while she lives in San Francisco with her mother and step-father. She doesn't get along with her mother very well and she has practically no friends. Her closest friend is an elderly woman living in a nursing home. Gingerbread will keep you interested because it deals with teenage problems of love, hate, sex, lies, and confrontation with the parental units. If you are a teenager, especially a young girl, you could probably relate to many of the issues that this book talks about.
Gingerbread is an interesting book because it is written in the form of a diary. Its, kind of like you are going into the main character�s mind. The paragraphs and sentences are random, and some don't have anything to do with the previous one, but that's what makes it so interesting. I thought this was a really good book and it was easy to relate to. The only thing I had a problem with was the ending. It just didn't seem like the right time or place to end the story. It seems like there should be more to it, and I think that a sequel is definitely needed.
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Format: Hardcover
"My so-called parents hate my boyfriend, Shrimp. I'm not sure they even
believe he is my boyfriend. They take one look at his five-foot-five,
surfer-shirt-wearin', baggy-jeans-slouchin', Pop Tart-eatin',
spiked-hair-head self and you can just see confusion firebombs exploding in
their heads, like they are thinking, Oh no, Cyd Charisse, that young man is
not your homes.
"Dig this: He is."
GINGERBREAD is the exuberant and delightful story of Cyd Charisse. (Her
namesake was the beautiful dancer/actress from Singing in the Rain fame.)
Cyd Charisse is called by her full name so as not to be confused with her
stepfather Sid. (Her '"society wife" mother is named Nancy.) Anyway, Cyd
Charisse has been booted out of boarding school for getting caught in bed
with her blue-blood jock boyfriend. In addition to sex, Cyd Charisse had
become involved with alcohol, drugs, and shoplifting for the sake of
maintaining her "dream" relationship with the big man on campus.
Now she is spending the summer back in San Fran, living with her family, but
hanging with Shrimp. She met him while they were both doing mandatory
community service at a nursing home. Shrimp lives with his brother, a young
specialty coffee mogul named Java the Hut.
Her best friend is Sugar Pie, a wise old lady who resides at the nursing home.
Cyd Charisse has only met her biological father once. It was at an airport
when she was five, and he bought her the doll she named Gingerbread, who is
still her constant companion as well as her alter ego.
Cyd Charisse's world caves in once again when she is grounded indefinitely
for staying out too late at Shrimp's.
Read more ›
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