The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl is a realistic fiction piece set in Eden Valley, a small town in Australia. Alba is finished with high school and looking forward to a relaxing summer with her friends, especially her best friend Grady. However, Alba’s summer is turned upside down when a TV psychic predicts the end of the world is coming, and the only place that will be left on the map will be Alba’s town. Suddenly, a flood of people start showing up and camping out, including Alba’s childhood friend Daniel, who is now very grown up and attractive. Alba and her friends not only have to figure out what to do with their lives, but now they have to hope they will even have a life longer than a few weeks. Relationships change, secrets are shared, and identities are uncovered in this very nerdy story.
Now that you’ve read my synopsis, you may be wondering who Cinnamon Girl is, and how she figures in to this story. Alba is a graphic novelist, who has a character called Cinnamon Girl. This is the main way that Alba expresses her inner feelings to herself, and the reader. Each chapter begins with a drawing of Cinnamon Girl that will somehow become relevant in the chapter. While I didn’t feel that Cinnamon Girl’s prevalence in the story was entirely necessary, it was very cute.
Alba is incredibly knowledgeable about graphic novels, and often will describe what she sees to the reader in comic book artist terms. For instance, what she saw might have looked like something out of V for Vendetta. I wouldn’t mind the little nods to Alba’s comic book heroes, if the reader wasn’t depending on them for reference to the plot. Some of the references are obscure, and if you’re not a comic book reader, it’s going to take you out of the story.
The novel is penned by Australian author Melissa Keil, so the dialogue and particular slang terms reflect that culture. This is the first time I can think of that I’ve read a novel with Australian terminology, so some of it took a little getting used to, but it wasn’t challenging. The thing I struggled with the most was the weather. I grew up in New Jersey where winter happens in December. Every time Alba mentioned putting on her sleeveless dress and Santa hat, I had to remind myself that Australia has summer in December. Keil’s first-person narrative was very quippy and well told. The dialogue between Alba and her friends felt authentic, and was often humorous.
I recommend The Incredible Adventures of Cinnamon Girl. It’s a fun read with a very unique story. It’s comic book nerdy, so great for anyone who reads comics and the occasional novel. I highly recommend it for seniors in high school, as it could definitely be therapeutic to see Alba making that most horrifying of transitions.