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Gingerbread    by Rachel Cohn order for
by Rachel Cohn
Order:  USA  Can
Pulse, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Cyd Charisse is the type of girl who makes parents shudder. Kicked out of her exclusive East coast boarding school and sent home to San Francisco, she is now giving her mom and step-dad fits. Cyd Charisse (called by both names because her step-dad's name is also Sid) rebels by spending nights with her surfer boyfriend, talking back to her parents, and generally making life around their home miserable.

Finally, Cyd Charisse gets her lifelong wish fulfilled - because she's become too much to handle, her mother decides to allow a visit with her biological father, Frank, in New York City. While there, Cyd Charisse learns a lot about the father and half-siblings she has only imagined, but also learns a great deal about herself.

I wanted to dislike Cyd Charisse, because she's the epitome of a rebellious teen with no regard for her parents' rules. However, she shows a very vulnerable side which endeared her to me and will win over the hearts of readers. Cyd Charisse's home life is quite complicated, and when she is finally able to get to know her biological father she discovers new truths about her mom and step-dad as well as about her own motivations.

Recommended for teens 14 and up, this is a fascinating read. It deals with difficult issues such as abortion. Certain incidents are referred to in the beginning, yet not explained until halfway through the book, which makes the pacing a little uneven and confusing. On the whole though, Gingerbread is a fresh, original teen novel with a unique plot that will appeal to a wide variety of readers.

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