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Review: 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter

32 Candles

Ernessa T. Carter

342 pages

Pub Date: 2012

Publisher: Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins

Source: Publisher

So you’ve probably heard of this thing by now. It’s called life. And it’s hard. Even when it looks easy, it’s hard. That’s pretty much everybody’s situation, and it was mine, too.

On top of the usual business of life, I was ugly.

Up until the age of fifteen, Davidia “Davie” Jones had a pretty hard life. According to everyone (and I mean everyone) in her small Mississippi town she’s ugly. Dark skin, nappy hair that’s rarely comb, and wearing nothing but oversized clothes from the thrift store, Davie couldn’t stand out any more than she already did. So it didn’t help at all that her mother Cora brought home a different man almost every night and lived on a diet of cigarettes, liquor, and sex.  When Davie discovers the Molly Ringwald movie, Sixteen Candles, she decides that she’ll have her own Molly Ringwald ending someday. Until then she takes her life in stride, becoming almost invisible until one day a cruel prank is played on her in high school. The prank makes Davie realize that she can never have her special ending in Mississippi and leaves in the dark of night with just a handful of belongings. After spending years in Los Angeles, the past comes back to haunt Davie and she needs to make her own ending once and for all.

I can’t say enough how much I love this book. I started reading it around 8 p.m. and turned the last page around 2 the next morning. I didn’t even think about sleeping until I knew just how Davie’s life turned out.

Davie is just one of those characters that make readers wish she was real. She’s an outsider looking in on the world around her, sees everyone for who they really are, and accepts them- faults and all.  That doesn’t mean she’s this innocent person – she’s not. And I think that’s a great thing about 32 Candles. Carter shows readers that there’s not one person in this book that doesn’t have bad qualities. From Davie to the secondary characters you see the good and the bad. That’s essentially life. Plus you see how people grow and become better with time, rooting them on.

I wondered if life would always be out of control like this, if I would have to live in fear for the rest of my days, my heart in my throat, my body tensed and braced for what was to come. And most of all, I wondered if I’d always have to force myself to go against instinct and be brave. 

If you’ve ever felt like an outsider, Davie is a character that will leave you feeling like you’re not alone. Highly Recommended.


23 thoughts on “Review: 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter”

  1. Oh, I like the sound of this book. Sort of reminds me of Carrie a little bit with the pranking. I must put this on my list and grab a copy. Your review was really enthusiastic and convinced me that I need to check it out!

  2. Gah, I’m so jealous you read this and I didn’t yet! I’m away from home but I ordered it before I left, and am hoping it’s there waiting for me when I return! (And I always have these stupid thoughts like, oh, I hope the plane doesn’t crash because then I won’t get to read that book!)

  3. Love your review, I had a similar experience with the book… started in the early evening and then stayed up way too late to finish! I just couldn’t put it down.

  4. Thanks so much for your awesome review. I love the quotes you pulled. And I, too, wish Davie were real. I often find myself wondering what she’d think of a particular problem — then I remember…

  5. Sounds interesting. I rarely read books by or about people of color. why? I don’t know. I need to rectify this situation.

  6. I have heard so many good things about this book! I originally wanted to read it because of the cover, but now I want to read it because of the other good things as well. 😀

  7. Oh good I bought this one a while ago, but have since heard some meh reactions to it. Looking forward to it all over again.

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