boy on cinnamon street

The Boy on Cinnamon Street by Phoebe Stone

When Louise orders yet another pizza for dinner, a new boy delivers it.  When Louise sees the delivery boy, she feels something shift and change, but ignores it.  Louise has built a safe world for herself, living with her grandparents.  She has given up gymnastics and tumbling.  She doesn’t see her old friends from her old neighborhood.  Her best friend tries to convince Louise that she has a crush on the delivery boy, but it doesn’t feel like that at all.  Louise continues to get signs that someone likes her though, and it might be that delivery boy after all.  But before Louise can be ready for any sort of relationship, she has to come to terms with the family secret that she is doing her best to hide from.

Stone’s writing shows readers that something is wrong before Louise ever comes close to realizing it consciously herself.  There are clues sprinkled throughout the book, cleverly leading readers to sleuth out what happened before the book reveals it.  Nicely, that is not the heart of the book.  Rather the heart is Louise herself, a girl who has blocked her memories, created a new life, and finds the construct crumbling around her.

This book centers on Louise, but it also has some other amazing characters in it.  Louise’s best friends are brother and sister, Henderson and Reni.  They both support her, embrace her in their normal family life, and stand by her as she realizes the truth.  My favorite characters are Louise’s grandparents, who stay jovial and supportive, never pushing Louise too far and always being there when she needs them.  They are engaging, lively and charming, just what Louise and the reader needs.

My only quibble is that the sweet cover does not speak to the depth of the book itself, which wrestles with dark subjects, memory and survival.

A character-centered book, this tween read is compelling, romantic and rich.  Appropriate for ages 10-13.

Reviewed from ARC received from Scholastic.