100 Days of Cake

Goldhagen, Shari
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) watching Golden 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.

Reviews

Reviewed: 2018-01-25
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.

For a book about a depressed girl, 100 Days of Cake is not actually gloomy, and instead consists of adorable moments among the difficult ones. Molly is hovering through her life, unsure of future and basically wanting things to stay the same. She doesn't want the extra burden of expectations or the realization that she is responsible for someone's happiness. Despite the things she does want to do, there are instances where she would rather just lie down in her room and let the world go by - I found this very relatable in the context of her situation. This is a moment in her life that all her peers are expected to build their futures, and she doesn't feel motivated enough.

When one thing after another starts changing, like the place she is working at shutting down, her friend Alex now possibly no longer interested in her, her shrink not really being helpful with her therapy, she feels at a loss. The things she tries to do, like caring for a hermit crab or saving Fishtopia show that she feels motivated about some things. But things don't always work out and she then feels worse after it. And then comes the final nail in her coffin when she learns about her father. Eventually, I guess it takes a change of pace for her to get comfortable and move ahead. Not that there weren't problematic things with the ending (that doctor should have been fired) and some throughout the book (the blatant slut-shaming of young teens), but this book was overall entertaining enough. 3.5 stars.

Received a free galley from Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing, via Netgalley, for review purposes.
Item Posts
No posts