Reviews

his-girl-fridayThey're starting to make a nice pile, and though I've got most of this stuff included in my scrapbook and elsewhere, I thought I'd make it easier to find. Feel free to leave one in the comments section yourself if you'd like - I love to know how people are reacting to Cinnamon Toast. Here are the reviews, with excerpts in nice big print and links to the whole:

"Extraordinary...One of my favourites of 2013. Absolutely fantastically written..." - Peter Sheridan on RTE1's Liveline with Joe Duffy, December 20, 2013

On Irish radio during an end-of-the-year book round up. Peter Sheridan's review comes 5 minutes into the programme. Click here to listen.

"Don't be fooled by its frothy title....As with most coming-of-age stories, Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World has its share of lighthearted and tender moments. But it also has emotional depth that distinguishes it from most of its genre counterparts. Where this novel truly excels is in its ability to tackle several difficult subjects with clarity and conviction. From homophobia to bullying to parental abuse, Cameron doesn't shy away from the complexity of her material, and the effects are heart-wrenching. This stunning debut will surely appeal to both teenage readers and adults." - Suzanne Gardner for Quill & Quire, Canada's magazine of book news and reviews, June, 2013 issue, starred review

I'm beyond happy to say that Cinnamon Toast was one of Quill & Quire's starred reviews for June. The rest of the review is available in print in the June issue, and online here.

"Cameron's portrayal of 17-year-old Stephen Shulevitz is astonishingly good. There's an alchemy here that not every writer who takes on a character so different from herself can achieve....Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World is a good summer read because a juicy coming-of-age story, especially one with a twist, fits well into a beach bag. But it's also an important read. Cameron spools out the story of Stephen so that you feel his heartache, self-revulsion and abject terror in painful increments. You understand what it might feel like to come out as gay, not just in the insular town of Riverside, N.S., but anywhere." - Marissa Stapley Ponikowski, for the Globe and Mail, June 8, 2013 

A full-length, positive review in the Globe and Mail! I will now die of joy! To read the rest, click here.

"Janet E Cameron has turned the story of Stephen into one of the most pleasurable reads of this genre I have come across.  Her writing is sharp, clever and up to date. The characters are likeable, believable and endearing....This novel is just wonderful....Highly recommended" - Bleach House Library, November 12, 2013

Wonderful and unexpected Irish book blog review. Click here to view the rest.

"[F]antastic debut novel....The book is warm, witty, heartfelt and utterly engaging - it's a superb 'coming of age' tale..." - Brian Campbell for The Irish News (Northern Ireland), July 18, 2013

This is more of an interview than a review, but Brian does say some very nice things about the book as well. You can read the rest here.

"[B]rilliant debut novel....(Stephen's) acid wit and biting sarcasm make him an instantly likeable protagonist....(Cameron's) attention to the details of setting add deliciously to scenes that will ring out in nostalgic, possibly embarrassing familiarity for anyone who grew up in a small town, particularly in the 1980s....left me breathless....It's tragic, but also very funny; I laughed almost as much as I cried. This is a beautifully wrought story of those horrific hallmarks of the teenage years....Witty, devastating, with a melancholy humour, it's an impressive debut that begs to be read in one emotional, tear-streaked rush." - Susan Morrell for The Sunday Business Post Magazine, April 21, 2013

The first full-length print review, and it's fantastic! To read the whole thing, please click here. You can also find it in my scrapbook, though you might have to scroll down.

"I raced through it, found it hard to put it down when I had to and wanted more when I was finished....Her prose gets more elegant the further you get in and, the further and further Stephen gets into what he sees as the end of his own personal world, the more you genuinely care for him and the screwed up kids and adults that populate his world....It wouldn't surprise me in the slightest if someone were to option this for a film....page-turning, top drawer stuff in the genre it lives in....More please." - broadcaster Rick O'Shea, for the Bord Gais Energy Book Club, April 8, 2013

Rick was intially put off by the girly cover, but seemed quite enthusiastic about the contents. To read the full review, click here

"...Cameron knows how to keep the questions popping up. She's a talented writer, and the journey she takes us on is always pleasurable, sometimes moving, and has a lyrical literary style that separates it from the masses of 'coming out' fiction that litter the queer cannon. It also dares, at times, to jumble up the equation and come up with different answers....Stephen himself is a sharply drawn protagonist, his teenage view of the world suitably cynical, but underlined with almost poetic, acute observation....a cracking story." - Brian Finnegan, for the online edition of Gay Community News, May 2013 

This review complements an article about Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World that appeared in the print version of GCN, Ireland's oldest and foremost LGBT magazine. You can read the rest of this fine review here. The print article can be found in my scrapbook.

"[A]n achingly accurate coming-of-age story....This beautifully written novel captures the powerful peer pressure that teenagers often endure, the pain and frustration they suffer by feeling different from the crowd, and how this really does seem like the end of the world." - Sandra Martin, Galway, for Dubray Books

I really appreciated this short review - such a gift to know someone 'got' this story and these characters. To read the rest, click here.

"The Verdict: A stunning debut. Funny, poignant, and heartfelt. I loved it." - Sue Leonard, 'Beginner's Pluck', The Irish Examiner, March 30, 2013

Here is the rest of Sue's review, though it's really more of a profile on yours truly. Sue's blog article is slightly longer than the version that appeared in the Examiner. Click here to read.

Authors Weigh In

"[O]ne of the best first novels I've ever read, a story of numerous conflicting kinds of love, by turns heartbreaking and exhilarating and terrifying....Every word of CINNAMON TOAST AND THE END OF THE WORLD is the right word in the right place, and rings absolutely true." - Spider Robinson, author of Callahan's Crosstime Saloon and Variable Star

From a wonderful review on Amazon. Read the rest here. I still have fond memories of staying up all night reading Stardance when I was supposed to be writing a paper, so this was pretty fantastic to see.

"[A] thoroughly enjoyable read....I loved the characterizations and the relationships that are formed in the novel - Stephen and Mark, Stephen and Lana - and the way the world begins to shape and affect them, as new emotions are explored and discoveries are made about love and sexuality. There is a first-rate combination of drama mixed with Cameron's sparkling sense of humour." - Kit Brennan, playwright and novelist, author of Tiger's Heart and Whip Smart: Lola Montez Conquers the Spanish.

From a great review on Goodreads. Here's the full version. I'm a major fan of Kit Brennan's writing, so was very happy to see this.

"Amazing characterisation, razor sharp and very witty." - Caroline Finnerty, author of In a Moment (Poolbeg Press, 2012)

From a short review on Goodreads. And I do know Caroline, but wasn't expecting this...

"[A] blissfully assured work....It had me from page one, and unusually for me I galloped through it. It's original and fresh and clever....I had no idea as I approached the end what way it was going to pan out..." - Roisin Meaney, author of Semi-Sweet and Something in Common 

From a review on Amazon. I know Roisin and we share a publisher, but I also wasn't expecting this.

Blog Bliss!

I was very happy to find several people who had featured Cinnamon Toast on their blogs. Here are some of them:

Clockwatching (SJ O'Hart's blog), March 21, 2013 "It's the kind of book which turns its reader into a really rude so-and-so, a person who's unable to talk to anyone or take part in anything that doesn't involve their faces being stuck into their book. So, apologies to anyone who might have tried to speak to me while this book was anywhere within grabbing distance. I probably didn't hear you....if you like books which touch your heart and make you think, books which evoke a time and place so skilfully that opening them feels like stepping into a time machine, and books which deal with the Great Universal of unrequited love, then this is a book worth reading."

I love the way that Sinead seems to understand the characters so well, Mark in particular. This was the first full-length review of Cinnamon Toast to appear anywhere!

Half Past Wonderful, June 20, 2013  "...I was so enthralled I had a hard time putting the book down....This is an absolutely fabulous book! Everyone should make a point to read this ..even if you aren't from Nova Scotia. I feel like finally, a novel that is very well-written and such a good story from my province."   

Hmm.  Something seems to have happened with this site, involving bums. I'll try linking again later.

Lost in a Good Book, July 8, 2013 "This is really well done and kept me reading (took me only two days to get through it!) late into the night....An excellent first novel and an author to watch!"

Bedside Table Books, July 22, 2013 "I won't expose the tale but let's just say as I compulsively turned pages, my heart broke and then was pieced back together with optimism and then out loud laughter (OLL?) – repeatedly;  tears ran down my cheeks on several occasions."

Julie's Reading Corner, July 28, 2013 "This is Cameron's first novel, and it is remarkable - I would recommend it to just about anyone, even teens."

The Writing Life of Melanie Cole, July 29, 2013 "I read it within the span of two days, just couldn't put it down. It was exactly the kind of book I love. The kind you're willing to cancel plans for....What did I love about this book? EVERYTHING. No, really. I did."

Bibliographic Manifestations, August 25, 2013 "From the beginning I found myself immediately immersed in Stephen's world - at times laughing out loud at his comments & thoughts, at times wanting to cry at his pain as he struggles to fit in, and at times wanting to shake some sense into him. As I came to the end of the book, I found myself sad because I was finishing & wanted to enjoy more of this book for the first time."

Annapolis Valley Regional Library blog, September, 2013 "Set in the 1980s, this novel deftly describes what it is like being different in a small town and tells Stephan's story with humour and compassion."

Cinnamon Toast is set in the Annapolis Valley, so I was very happy to be on the list of September's picks. I was never sure if people from the area would take to the book.

Cottage Country, October 16, 2013 "Oh, Stephen, I just want to wrap my arms around you and tell you that it gets better.  It really does."

A very personal reaction to the book, from a reviewer who had the task of introducing me before my IFOA reading in Parry Sound. Much appreciated!

Down the Rabbit Hole - Leigha L Craig, Author & Nerdista, October 16, 2013 "I had read the reviews so I was prepared to like this book. I was prepared to like it a whole lot. Did those reviews prepare me for the range of emotions this book made me feel? Did they prepare me for the rush I got as I read it or the loss I felt when I was done? For how it made me want to go out and buy a copy for everyone out there who hasn’t yet read it?"

I am always overwhelmed when I read this wonderful review.

David Fleming's Blog - Yoghurts and Nuts, April 23, 2014 "Sweet mother of donuts! This was one fantastic book, it left me shocked, happy and annoyed, but it was honestly the most beautiful story I have ever read....The storyline flowed perfectly....The book also made me laugh at a few points, it almost felt like me and Stephen had inside jokes or something like that."

So nice to get a new review this late in the game! And you can't beat that opening line.

The Library of Pacific Tranquility, May 21, 2014 "Not only is this a great book in showing about rural teenage life in the 1980s but is a great YA novel for any teenager to read....Cinnamon Toast and The End of the World by Janet E. Cameron is a brilliant coming-of-age novel. The language is realistic and colourful, making this book a great read. Hopefully we will get to see more from this author."

Lovely review with lots of quotes! I'm chuffed.

Lost in the Pages, July 10, 2014 "'Cinnamon toast and the end of the world' may be the most dramatic book I have come to review so far....Cameron's writing is solid, and the themes are dramatic and tense as Stephen has to confront his world and himself in it....well written, well developed, and there are spurts of humour and amazing lines that make this book memorable.....I would recommend this book to anyone..."

All the way from Australia! Amazing.

49th Shelf: Shelf Talkers for August, August 6, 2014 "[A] wonderful coming-of-age and coming out story.... An excellent first novel and an author to watch." (Recommended by Samantha Fraenkel of Book Warehouse on Broadway, Vancouver, BC)

Toronto Public Library, Word Out 2014, Teen Summer Reading: Dueling Reviews, August 14, 2014 "[A] beautiful coming of age story....Stephen is an exceptionally dimensional character and all the supporting cast are also well rounded and real." And... "The situations ring with truth and pain....You should definitely read Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World, if you know what's good for you."

Two reviews, and they're both good! I saw this for the first time on my birthday.

The Queer Book Bag, March 28, 2015 "The writing is fabulous, witty, sharp, and hard-hitting. The character’s emotions are so tangible. The book flows nicely, there aren’t any bumps, it feels natural and you really forget that you’re reading a book....This book is entertaining as all hell, and the ending is easily one of my favourite endings ever."

What a great review. And it's FULL of swearing! Stephen would approve.

Ongoing: Goodreads and Amazon

A few so far, most of them very positive, as well as several star ratings. If you've read the book yourself and want to recommend it, these are great places to do so. (Just saying.) Click here to go to Cinnamon Toast's page on Goodreads. And here's Amazon.com. Amazon dot everything else should be accessible from there.

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Get your copy of Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World here

...in Ireland and the UK 

51U3E6BPgnL  SL500 AA300  Cinnamon Toast pb cover low res

In the U.S.A.

In Canada...or try here. Or go independent.

"...astonishingly good....a juicy coming-of-age story...also an important read." The Globe and Mail

"...poignant...heart-wrenching. This stunning debut will surely appeal to both teenage readers and adults." Quill & Quire, starred review

"Witty, devastating, with a melancholy humour..." Sunday Business Post

"...page-turning, top drawer stuff..." BGE Book Club

"...warm, witty, heartfelt and utterly engaging..." The Irish News

"A stunning debut. I loved it." The Irish Examiner