by Robin Epstein
I picked this one up solely based on this review at one of my favourite Aussie blogs, Inkcrush. How could I resist?
Fifteen-year-old Grace Manning is a candy striper in a nursing home, and Mr. Sands is the one patient who makes the job bearable. He keeps up with her sarcasm, teaches her to play poker . . . and one day cheerfully asks her to help him die. At first Grace says no way, but as Mr. Sands’s disease progresses, she’s not so sure. Grace tries to avoid the wrenching decision by praying for a miracle, stuffing herself with pancakes, and running away from all feelings, including the new ones she has for her best friend Eric. But Mr. Sands is getting worse, and she can’t avoid him forever.
My Expectations: Having never heard of this book before the review, I was just hoping Nomes would be right.
Delivery: I was surprised by how enjoyable it was, I guess my expectations weren't too high ;)
Put-down-ablity: This is one of those books where the story flows so smoothly it's basically impossible to put down. 2.5/10
I’m so glad I found out about book blogs, because I think this is the biggest, most obvious reason why I love it. I discover books. Plain and simple, because this seems like one of those books I would never think to pick up, but after seeing a glowing review at Inkcrush, I borrowed it and ended up loving it!
Easily the most enjoyable aspect of God is in the Pancakes (man, what a title!) is the beautiful narration. It’s not beautiful in that poetic style, it is beautiful in its simplicity and conversational tone that made the reading experience feel like a dream. I never realized I was flipping pages because Grace’s voice flows incredibly well, not to mention she’s an extremely relatable character. I was surprised by how true that statement was; I empathized with her high school experiences, but more importantly, to her teenage feelings of self-doubt, identity, insecurity, and slightly (but not too much) rebellious attitude.
The plot was what I would think as “perfectly structured”. It’s not predictable by any means, but I felt that everything had its own place in the story—a good thing! There’s no WTF moments, or those “Why is that even relevant” scenes, everything played some sort of role, whether it was Grace’s family, love interest, or Frank Sands. The questions and moralities raised with Mr. Sands’ request for euthanasia had me thinking, but thank goodness, it never felt preachy.
Sometimes books are only as good as their secondary characters and may I say the supporting cast is excellent. My favourite parts of the book involved Grace and her family, they feel so alive. Her sister… gah, she is exactly how I would picture my sister: stubborn, self-righteous, annoying, but still at the end of the day, lovable. An amazing portrayal of family and effects divorce in my mind. I also highly enjoyed the fact that this is Grace's story, not some love story or some family story, and the author never lost sight of that.
God is in the Pancakes is a charming, witty, and still emotionally sincere read that definitely deserves more attention.
Rating in HP Terms: Exceeds Expectations
Recommended for: ALL YA contemporary fans, those looking for one of those milder (but still wonderful), coming-of-age reads
8.3/10 - because it's the type of book that reminds me why I read Young Adult. It doesn't have the oppressing dystopian government, but it does have the realistic portrayal of those nuanced teenage emotions that I could relate to all too well. It both witty and heartwarming, Grace's voice feels authentic, and the plot is commendable. I find writing this review a few days later, it's not the most memorable book; but I can still remember how I felt when I was reading it-- I was just happy to be immersed. If you got the chance, try this one :)