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I Now Need Cake | 100 Days of Cake by Shari Goldhagen

Wednesday, May 18, 2016 Geraldine 0 Comments



The Breakdown


General Info:
     Title: 100 Days of Cake
     Author: Shari Goldhagen
     Genre: YA, Contemporary,
     Publisher: Atheneum Books For Young Readers
     Publishing Date: May 17th 2016

Thoughts: 
     Excellent:
          - A large focus was on mental health and depression, its effects on not only the individual but people around the individual. 

    Things that could have been better:
         - Molly, Alex and Elle's characters were ridiculously annoying
         - Writing style felt fake - the slang used didn't even make sense to me at the time
         -It didn't entertain me at all. 

Rating: 1.5 stars
Goodreads | Amazon

Initial Thoughts

I requested this book on Edelweiss because depression is honestly such an important topic to me.A loved one has had depression, and its effects on him as well as the people around him were vast. I was interested in 100 Days of Cake, because depression is such a unique disorder you know, with how it affects everyone differently. I was interested in how Shari Goldhagen was to present depression - and that's why I picked up this book. 

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.


Characters

Molly Was An Annoying Character

Let me just vent. Molly was a huge pain in the arse, for me - she was whiny, and she repetitively talked about certain things - like her need to pee, how hot it was, how irritated she was with her sister or Elle, kept referencing Golden Girls. It bored me to death. I think, after reading about 30% of the ARC, I probably didn't need to read more, because Molly just kept talking about the same things, and that babble was just tiring. 

I understand that it can be really hard to write a depressed character as likeable. Perhaps Goldhagen wanted to show how life can be difficult for people suffering from depression. I dunno, from my experiences with others with depression though, they've never been so dislikeable. Molly's obsession with Dr B and Alex at the same time was so tiring for me - I just couldn't stand how she was stringing along both at the same time - it crossed boundaries for me, in many different ways. Spoiler section next, so highlight at your own risk: 
Especially with Dr B, AHHHH OH MY GOSH THAT WAS THE MOST ANNOYING THING, because you are not supposed to have a romantic/flirty relationship with your therapist, and I hate how that was portrayed here for a long while. 

Molly Treated Her Sister Horribly


OH Oh oh, let's not forget something else that Molly did that crossed boundaries - slut shaming her sister. Like honestly, I could not forgive that because I'm all for empowering women, not bringing them down. 
Furthermore, I've been in V's place before, and that's potentially why I didn't like Molly so much - because I related so much to V. Molly was HORRIBLE to her, and I couldn't put up with it. Maybe Shari Goldhagen wanted to depict Molly as a little immature through this, but yeah I still couldn't stand Molly because she violated many of my personal moral codes

Characters were only there for the sake of being there - to fulfill tropes.

I really liked Alex, the love interest, at the start of the book. He was sweet, genuine, and just a fun guy to read about. But then, I started getting super annoyed with him because of how he kept pining after Molly. It was pathetic and just sad. I think I felt this way, because I really disliked Molly as a character, and felt like Alex's potential as a character just dropped so low because of the pining - it was like his character was defined by his crush on Molly. 

Then there was the best friend, Elle. Elle was annoying to me - self-righteous and hypocritical. She supposedly cares about the earth, yells at others for printing out coloured paper, but then she goes around driving in a car instead of using public transport or cycling? I dunno, she was just a pretty fake character to me, and I didn't get her purpose throughout the book - because I thought she served no other purpose, but to be the best friend, that we usually see in contemporary books. 

Plot

The Plot Bored Me But Covered Depression Very Well 

Honestly, I found myself just not caring for the plot at all after a while. For me, half of it was her complaining about Alex and Dr. B, about how she has a thing for them, but she doesn't think they'll like her back - that's not a plot to me. I get that rumination is a genuine process that depressed people go through, but for me, it got really tiring, and a tiny bit exaggerated perhaps? But, I guess Goldhagen really conveyed that aspect of depression well - I just wish it had been less agonising for me to read. 

On that point about conveying depression very well, I know this doesn't have anything to do with the plot, but this quote was honestly stellar:
"You  know  those  moments  when  you  realize  you’re going  to  spectacularly  disappoint  someone  who’s  trying really hard? Welcome to my life."

Writing Style 

WARNING: Slang used. 

Goldhagen's writing style was...very interesting. A lot of slang was used, and to me that seemed a little forced, because some terms used were just not ones I'd ever picture anyone using? Consequently, I didn't enjoy reading it and I couldn't really get addicted to the book as a result. See below for examples... 
"Obvi, nothing is ever going to happen" 
Uhhh, does anyone say "Obvi" in real life to mean "obviously"? Because I dunno, I don't so I thought that was forced. The next one was much better, but I still didn't like reading the acronym regardless. 
"I am sitting BTW, not lying down the way they do on TV" 
And then there were moments when acronyms that I didn't know were used! 
"ADF  a  lot  of  people  in  my  life  either  cut  me  off or started talking to me in a cookie-dough voice, as though I would crumble into a billion pieces if they said something 
to upset me. "
Honestly, what does ADF mean? I had to look it up online...And here are the results: 
1.Adult Diaper Fetish
2. Asian Dub Foundation
3. Automatic Direction Finder
These are 100% all results I found on the most reliable website (at least for slang), Urban Dictionary xD 

I guess maybe my issue with the slang might be because I associate slang with texting, whilst this was supposed to be a human girl's head. And because my head doesn't use acronyms, I guess that's why it felt fake. 

Entertainment Value

Anyone could easily guess what my thoughts on this were. I honestly did not feel entertained by 100 Days of Cake. I had to force myself to finish it, and I think I skim read it whilst watching Chicago Fire? Not quite sure. But yeah, it wasn't the best reading experience I've had so far this year. 

Final Thoughts

I think that 100 Days of Cake's saving grace is its portrayal of depression - it's very real and accurate to how depression affects the individual and loved ones, but I honestly just couldn't get into the book. I think this was largely due to the character driven plot, and I couldn't really empathise nor sympathise with Molly at all. If you're a fan of character driven novels - don't read this one, because you probably won't enjoy this book. If you're looking to explore mental illness and depression further though, in an undaunting manner, this book may just be for you. 

Rating


Thoughts in a Phrase

What are you complaining about now, Molly? 

Keep reading and loving books!
Geraldine

Thank you Edelweiss and Atheneum Books For Young Readers for letting me review an ARC of this novel. My thoughts, as always, are 100% honest.


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