Monday, May 16, 2016

Early Review: 100 Days of Cake by Shari Goldhagen

Title: 100 Days of Cake 
Author: Shari Goldhagen 
Publisher: Simon & Schuster 
Source: Publisher 
Expected Publication Date: May 17th, 2016 
Pre-order: Amazon  |  B&N 

Summary: 

Get well soon isn’t going to cut it in this quirky and poignant debut novel about a girl, her depression, an aggressive amount of baked goods, and the struggle to simply stay afloat in an unpredictable, bittersweet life.

There are only three things that can get seventeen-year-old Molly Byrne out of bed these days: her job at FishTopia, the promise of endless episodes of Golden Girls, and some delicious lo mien. You see, for the past two years, Molly’s been struggling with something more than your usual teenage angst. Her shrink, Dr. Brooks isn’t helping much, and neither is her mom who is convinced that baking the perfect cake will cure Molly of her depression—as if cake can magically make her rejoin the swim team, get along with her promiscuous sister, or care about the SATs.

Um, no. Never going to happen.

But Molly plays along, stomaching her mother’s failed culinary experiments, because, whatever—as long as it makes someone happy, right? Besides, as far as Molly’s concerned, hanging out with Alex at the rundown exotic fish store makes life tolerable enough. Even if he does ask her out every…single…day. But—sarcastic drum roll, please—nothing can stay the same forever. When Molly finds out FishTopia is turning into a bleak country diner, her whole life seems to fall apart at once. Soon she has to figure out what—if anything—is worth fighting for.

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The title 100 Days of Cake makes this book seem like a fluffy, happy read about, well, cake. But while the cake part is true, the fluffy happy part – not so much. Molly's been diagnosed with depression; she's been medicated and has been seeing a shrink for the past two years. But the one thing that actually keeps her going is her job at FishTopia, the always-empty little ramshackle fish store where she spends most of her spare time watching Golden Girls reruns and eating lo mein with her co-worker/friend Alex. But like the cakes her mother is determined to make every day in an attempt to cure Molly of her depression, even FishTopia can't fix everything. And when the owner starts talking plans to shut down the shop so it can be turned into a diner over the summer, Molly feels like she's running out of reasons to try.

One of the things I loved about 100 Days of Cake was the fact that it portrayed depression and anxiety accurately; it wasn't romanticized or made light of like it is so often today, but it also wasn't overdone or exaggerated. It was a very realistic look into depression and the effects it can have on you and the people around you. Molly is incredibly easy to relate to and feel for; she cares so much about the people surrounding her but not enough about herself. She may not have been a badass heroine or even the type to stand up for herself when confronted, but she was a great lead character. She made some mistakes, but that made her real. Another thing I loved about this book – it kept me so conflicted about who I liked and who I didn't. There were certain characters that I thought I hated but that changed my mind, and those I thought were amazing only to show their true colors later as well. One character in particular did something I'm not sure I'd be able to forgive as easily as Molly did, but if Molly was happy then so am I. I also feel I should mention that with dark themes, possible triggers, and strong language, 100 Days of Cake is a story best suited for older teens.

I really did love 100 Days of Cake. It was beautifully realistic; the characters were well-developed, and the writing was incredibly captivating. This was my first book by Shari Goldhagen, and I'm sure it won't be my last.

A huge thank-you to the publisher for sending this book in exchange for my honest review. 
   
© at A Belle's Tales

  

6 comments:

  1. So... now I want cake... thanks for that.
    Definitely was not expecting this to be such a deep and emotional read but it does sound really good. I love when books accurately portray these situations because it is so important.
    Great review!

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  2. It always so refreshing when mental issues are properly portrayed!

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  3. Sounds like these are some good complex characters. Glad to hear the subject matter is handled well, too.

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  4. sounds like such a great read. love the cover too. I think depression and anxiety need to be dealt with but in the right light. like you said. great review.

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  5. I loved that the book portrayed depression and anxiety accurately. So many books don't, or like you side, romanticize it in a too bright of a light. Glad you enjoyed this one. :)

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  6. I haven't read anything by this author, but this sounds great! I love that the book is so well done when it comes to portraying someone with anxiety and depression. Your review made me curious! Thanks for sharing. :)
    ~Jess

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