I confess...this is one of four book review posts coming in the near future. As with a prior one (where I did two in one swoop), these reviews are based on copies provided to me by the lovely folks at HarperCollins...some of which are uncorrected proof editions. Okay, now lawyer-Cheryl is placated and we can move on.
32 Candles is the first novel by Ernessa Carter. The narrator, Davidia Jones, opens with her unhappy childhood in small-town Missisippi. She's pretty much my age so childhood is in the 80s and teenhood in the 90s. She takes us through some cruelty at the hands of classmates and her mother that lead to her fleeing home at 15. We get some "in between" shots before the "current day" story picks up.
The novel fits firmly into the category I think of as "Decent Chick Lit"...not pure fluff but definitely a girl book. It is both a woman-coming-of-age story and a story about love. I think it would make a screenplay that the narrator, a fan of 80s Molly Ringwald movies (such as the film the title references), would watch (side note: now I'm trying to think of the right African-American actresses to play Davie at various ages) I enjoyed the playing with time a bit more than I expected since there's a turn that makes the reader realize that a first-person narrator is of suspect reliability. The ending wrapped a bit too nicely for me...but I say that about many books, movies, and tv shows.
It is an easy read and I think it would make a solid beach novel for someone looking for a chick-lit vibe with a bit more substance than the majority. On a semi-relevant note, I don't know if they typeface in the Proof version will be carried into the final print, but I found it a bit tough on the eyes.
None of the books in my current HC pile are long so expect more reviews to come (I'm not in a "collect into one post" mood.