Friday, June 10, 2016

100 Days of Cake by Shari Goldhagen Book Review

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.

Every other senior at Cove High School might be mapping out every facet of their future, but Molly Bryne just wants to spend the rest of the summer (maybe the rest of her life) watchingGolden Girls reruns and hanging out with her cute coworker at FishTopia. Some days, they are the only things that get her out of bed. You see, for the past year, Molly’s been struggling with depression, above and beyond industry-standard teen angst. Crushing on her therapist isn’t helping, and neither is her mom, who is convinced that baking the perfect cake will cure her—as if icing alone can magically make her rejoin the swim team or care about the SATs.

Ummm, no, not going to happen.

But when Molly finds out FishTopia is turning into a lame country diner, her already crummy life starts to fall even more out of her control, and soon she has to figure out what— if anything—is worth fighting for. 100 Days of Cake is a quirky and poignant story of a girl, her depression, an aggressive amount of baked goods, and the struggle to simply stay afloat in an unpredictable, bittersweet world.

*A special thanks to the publisher for this review copy*

Molly, is depressed. She falls into these inexplicable bouts of funk and there's no pulling her out. In attempt to combat her depression, aside from the traditional shrink visits--Molly's mother is baking her cakes. 100 days of cake, a cake a day to cure her daughter. Seems trivial but at the core is really sweet. But, Molly is not convinced even the best cake can cure her. So she spends her days working at Fish Topia, and watching Golden Girls. Then the world threatens to take away her only sense of normalcy. (Doesn't happen until nearly the end although.)

Unless we're really close, you won't know that I LOVE the Golden Girls. That is a group of hilarious older women, so when I seen that the MC loved Golden Girls--besides being my spirit animal. I knew she could not let me down. I might have been a little too optimistic in this regard.

Alex. Alex worked at Fishtopia with Molly. Among cartons of Chinese food, and VHS recorded episodes of Golden Girls Alex, bonded with Molly--as much as he could, as much as Molly would allow. I really liked his character, but you never really get to know him--aside from the fact that he's in a band who's name changes more than some people change wigs.

There's clues throughout that Alex, sees Molly as more than a friend, but she's not fully convinced. Not fully convinced he sees her that way, and not convinced that she's even prepared for a boyfriend--even if it is Alex.

I will admit that part of it drove me crazy, because despite her clinically assessed depression. I didn't found her reasoning behind this to be solid. She acted pretty irrationally. We'll get to that.

I don't want to get any flack for this but I have to be honest. I wasn't wholly convinced of Molly's depression. It just seemed pretty surface. You never really get to the root of her problems--aside from her father's death many years before, and an embarrassing incident that happened at school. She just seems like a sad girl who with some help can probably turn around. A lot of who she was seemed flaky and just not, something I can't put my finger on. I'm not expert on mental illnesses but something didn't quite work. Especially having read other YA books that share similar characters. (See, Made You Up)

I, initially adored Molly's relationship with her psychiatrist, but things took a weird turn and I'm still not sure how to feel about it. A strange, weirdo part of me was intrigued.

The rest of the cast was pretty interesting. Elle, V, Elle's brother and the Mother, were great supporting characters, and it would have been nice to get to know them a little better. But, we got enough I suppose.

Of course there was conflict, what would a story be without it? But I won't get into because that would be spoiler-y.

I was pretty satisfied with the story, the ending was HEA, and it looks like the characters are going to be okay. And I'm walking away craving cake.

I wouldn't be tripping over my own feet to get to this book but it was a decent reading experience.


  1. Hmmm based on your review, I don't think this would be a good choice for me. Like you said, things have to be believable and I'm not sure it was done well enough in this for me either to really enjoy it and to be able to fall into the story. Lovely honest review for this!!

  2. Even though parts of it weren't successful, it does sound like by the end it was entertaining. Not sure I'd be happy wanting cake at the end though... ;) LOL This may not be the book for me, but I might have to keep my eye out for the author's other books. Brilly review.

  3. Great review! I LOVE the Golden Girls, too !! Glad you walked about thinking the characters would ok and I guess the HEA maybe worked? I do want cake every time I see this cover!

  4. Great review! Even if the content wasn't one hundred percent, at least the cover is adorable, right?

  5. Aw. This book sounds adorable! I want to read it. <3

  6. GIRL I getting this asap! It definitely sounds like something I'd like, and I'm in the mood for a good contemporary. You know I try to avoid cutesy reads, but there's something drawing me to this book, maybe it's the depression aspect, the " weird thing " surrounding her therapist, and come on, the fish store sounds so cute. I really need to read this.

  7. I surely though this would be a hit. I've had my eye on it for some time.

  8. I like the sound of this book and I think it should be a good read. You seem to have mixed feeling for this one right but often it happens that one comes to know his/her true feelings for a book after a while. It has happened many a times with me when I finished a book and I was not sure if I really liked it but later when I thought about it, I realised that I actually quite liked it. So, may be few months down the line you might be thinking,"That was a good book." :)
    Also, is it me or even you feel there are so many books on depression and mental illness now a days? Especially in young adult category.

  9. It's always so promising when a character has a similar interest as you! It doesn't make or break the story for me, but it can make it that much easier to relate. It's too bad that the depression aspect of this story (which sounds like a pretty major part) wasn't as well-developed as it could have been. :( I'm glad you found the book to be okay anyway, though!

  10. Sometimes authors really do NOT pull of mental illness at all. I know it's a touchy subject and it'd be controversial to debate if said characters is or not mentally illed after all, but if it didn't convince you, then it didn't convince you and the author should have done a better job with the theme!

  11. I feel the need to read this book just to check out the 100 cakes her mom bakes for her. Feel like making it into a challenge of 100 days of cake. Yeah. *Goes to convince sis*
    Anywhoo, glad that it turned out to be a decent read!

  12. Hm, the synopsis is interesting but I'm feeling like there's just not enough there to make me want to pick this one up. As heartless as it sounds, I get the feeling I might end up super annoyed with Molly.


  13. Ehhh I may have to pass on this one. I think I would dislike Molly and be too irritated to enjoy the book lol. Terrific review though!!

  14. aahh, I'm really liking the cover but it sounds like this book might not exactly be for me. I mean, I may be able to read and finish it but it's going to be a 'meh' or plainly okay for me.

  15. I trust your judgement when you say that the mental illness didn't seem convincing. And baking a mentally ill person tons of cake for them to eat to make them feel better?? I know that's supposed to be light-hearted, but the nutrition-aware part of me is like, "NO SIMPLE SUGARS FOR A DEPRESSED PERSON! NO SIMPLE CARBS! EAT LEAFY GREENS AND DRINK LOTS OF WATER AAAAA!"

  16. Hmm... this one seems like it was good, and it was a sweet idea and seeing as you love The Golden Girls it managed to draw you in. But maybe the writing just didn't let the novel reach the depths of emotion you wanted to have in terms of the depression and characters and that took away from the novel.