Monday, July 12, 2010

#BookReview: 32 Candles - Ernessa T. Carter

When was the last time you stayed up late to read a book? 32 Candles is so good that I started reading it at a bowling alley, ignored Twitter and the TV when I got home and stayed up until I was done with it. Yes, it's that good.

32 Candles is the story of Davidia Jones, also known as Monkey Night the mute chick.  Growing up in small town Glass, Mississippi, Davidia life has been nothing nice.  The daughter of the town skank, she's shunned by adults and ridiculed by her classmates who name her Monkey Night because "she looks like a monkey and is dark as night." A severe beating by her mother leads her to the decision to just stop speaking.  Her silence is accepted by her classmates, who easily overlook and ignore her from elementary school until her sophomore year of high school.

Davidia has found solace in, what I call, "the holy triumvirate" of teen movies: Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club and Pretty in Pink, and the star of them, Molly Ringwald.  Davidia's less than perfect life is made just a little brighter when she watches them.  Though she doesn't speak out loud, in her mind she rehearses what she would say should anything close to what happens in the movies happens to her.  And when she runs into James Farrell, a new transfer student, she's sure that he's her Jake Ryan.

If you've never seen Sixteen Candles, right about now you're asking, who is Jake Ryan? "Jake Ryan? He's only the most popular boy in school."  Even though he's a football star and big man on campus, James is nice to Davidia.  When he and his sisters host a party at their mansion, she's excited to receive and invite and heads to the party where she's sure she'll finally have her moment.  But Davidia's life is no movie and she's no Molly Ringwald.  Faced with the realization that things are never going to change for her in small town Mississippi, she strikes out on her own.

Having reinvented herself as Davie Jones, the pirate, not the Monkee, the girl formerly known as Monkey Night finds herself with a new job, new family and for the first time, friends, in California.  Life is going pretty well for Miss Davie until the day she runs into James Farrell.  Fifteen years have passed since Davie last saw him and surely she's outgrown her obsession with both him and Sixteen Candles, right?

What did you like about this book?
Even if you're not a fan of 80s films, you're bound to cheer for Davie.  This is the story of anyone that's ever been ridiculed for daring to be different. 

What didn't you like about this book?

What could the author do to improve this book?
 Nada, zilch, zero. You know a book is good when you go to sleep dreaming about it and wake up still thinking about it.  I need a movie and a sequel ASAP!

Sneak peek! Starting today Wednesday, you can read the author's rough draft of her next book at 32  She told us at last week's book signing that even though there's no sequel, the character of Davie does play a role in her next book.  I can't wait to read it!

Published June 2010

Theme: Originally I was going to go with Don't You Forget About Me by Simple Minds (yeah, I know it's from The Breakfast Club, hush it!), but instead decided India.Arie's Get It Together was much more fitting.


  1. Oh fun! re: the rough draft of the new novel being released on Ernessa's website. I can't wait to read it either. I felt the same way you did about this novel, I couldn't put it down once I started reading.

  2. This book sounds fascinating as you describe it and it must be if you ignored Twitter. :-) I'm passing this on.

  3. yayyy, i love it when good books are shared with good people!

  4. Just a note that the site now says it'll be published on Wednesday. I'll remember to remind you on Twitter.

  5. This book sounds sooo good! I am a major 80's fan and even the slightest throwback I look forward to. This sounds like an intriguing story.

  6. That was such a rave review I'm about to rush out to the book store!

  7. Yayyy, I'm always happy when I can turn others on to a really good book. I hope you love it as much as I do. Please come back and tell us what you think when you're done with it.