32 Candles is an amazing novel written by Ernessa T. Carter, an author who has such a way with language, you feel you are actually hearing the characters talk to each other.
The story is Precious-meets-Drew Barrymore’s Never Been Kissed, and tells the story of Davie Jones, a poor ,ugly duckling who escapes her abusive, alcoholic mother and invisible existence in a Mississippi high school through kitschy 80s movies, including Sixteen Candles.
Davie is convinced she will someday have her “Molly Ringwald ending” with James Farrell, the beautiful and rich high school quarterback who seems as kind as his two sisters are mean. Through a series of events out of her control, Davie becomes the target of James’ icy sister Veronica’s wrath, and a cruel prank carried out at her hand changes the entire course of Davie’s life.
Through fate, Davie is reunited with the Farrell family years later and begins a fairytale romance with James, who has no memory of her as the bullied young girl she once was. Davie has changed a lot though, and some shocking details of the years in between come out towards the end of the book, threatening her budding relationship with James. The story is one of revenge and redemption, and is told brilliantly by Carter.
It’s been a long time since a character stuck with me like Davie did, and I think it’s truly a testament to Carter’s gift for storytelling. The characters are so well-developed and the dialogue is the best I may have ever read. Just when I thought I had the plot figured out, the book throws a zinger I didn’t see coming. It’s a delightful story and such an easy read.
They MUST make this into a movie; it’s an awesome, modern take on all the John Hughes teen love stories. Clear your calendar for a weekend of reading and savor this story!
Many thanks to Erin for this review!!