Review: The Boy on Cinnamon Street by Phoebe Stone

Publication Date: February 1st, 2012
Scholastic Inc.
Format: Hardcover, 240 pages
Rating: 4 out 5 Stars
A story about a wounded girl and the boy who won’t give up on her.7th grader Louise should be the captain of her school’s gymnastics team – but she isn’t. She’s fun and cute and should have lots of friends – but she doesn’t. And there’s a dreamy boy who has a crush on her – but somehow they never connect. Louise has everything going for her – so what is it that’s holding her back? Phoebe Stone tells the winning story of the spring when 7th grader Louise Terrace wakes up, finds the courage to confront the painful family secret she’s hiding from – and finally get the boy.

Tooth-achingly sweet and incredibly sad.

It’s a story about a thirteen year old girl who has gone through a traumatic event that her mind blocked most of her treasured memories and with it, most of her former identity. Cartwheels used to be as natural as walking for Louise, but ever since that day, she quit gymnastics altogether. She used to write poetry, but now she’s just bitter most of the time. This is a story about a girl who had become but a shadow of her former self and a boy who would do anything to bring the old Louise back.

For me, it’s Louise’s relationships with everyone that made the story. At times, it seems like the entire universe was conspiring for her memory to come back; little triggers and subtle push constructed within the sequence of plot events. There was nothing complex or even original about the plot, it’s something I’ve read before. But I couldn’t take anything away from the intricate way with which the author peeled the layers, bit by bit, to reveal what Louise’s mind was shielding from her.

This was a story of a girl who had to come to terms with her mother’s death, her father’s abandonment, her over all lack of self-esteem. All heavy subjects, yes. But I love that the author used facile humour frequently to lure us into Louise’s world. They weren’t the ones that induced bouts of rip-roaring laughter but just enough to for us to see the lighter side of her life. Henderson, the boy who had harboured a crush for Louise was the icing on the cake of this heart-tugging story. He’s so quirky, dorky, funny, and just plain lovable. I kept thinking, where was a boy like this when I was in seventh grade, huh? How come they don’t make them like him anymore? He’s the sweetest!

The Boy on Cinnamon Street is an uplifting story about a grieving family and of incomparabe friendships. I laughed, I teared, I rooted for the underdog and cheered for the innocence of romance between Thumb and Hen. It’s a touching story of a girl who learned that sometimes, letting go is easier than holding on.

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