Donut Says by Lara Zielin (August 6th 2009—Putnam)
Grade: 3.5 stars out of 5
Summary: “Emma has a lot going on. Her best friend’s not speaking to her, a boy she’s known all her life is suddenly smokin’ hot and in love with her, and oh yes, her evangelical minister parents may lose their church, especially if her mother keeps giving sermons saying Adam was a hermaphrodite.
But this weekend Emma’s only focused on Crispy Dream, a hot new donut franchise opening in town, where Harley bikers and Frodo wannabes camp out waiting to be the first ones served. Writing the best feature story on the camp for the local paper might just win Emma a scholarship to attend a non- Christian college. But soon enough Emma finds the donut camp isn’t quite the perfect escape from all her troubles at Living Word Redeemer.”
Review: While I’m not a super religious person Donut Days managed to stay within my comfort zone. That is to say, despite the numerous sermons, and talks of God, I got the impression that there was something more. Something beyond. This, to me, was a coming of age story with a sweet twist.
I found it delectable that Lara Zielin managed to bring that whole church and God issue to a rather calmer and simpler environment—the opening of a donut shop.
Through the various takes of how people found God—a group of bikers (!)—and why-are-you-here-at-donut-camp questionnaires, Zielin delivers a wonderful voice. From growing up in Detroit to winning a RV (for camping more than 13 days), she aptly moves from harsh realities to why-the-heck-not curious amusements.
One of my biggest concerns regards Jake (Emma’s childhood best friend). While Zielin creates building blocks for Emma and Jake, it seemed as though Emma only started to like Jake when he became hot. I mean, there are moments where she reflects back to the younger days and how Jake’s personality never changed, but she mentions him being ‘hot’ a lot. It puzzles me.
I also wanted more of the bikers’ stories. Why did they join? Where did they stay? And possible more insight of whatever happened to the church and Emma’s parents.
Overall: Donut Days is similar to that of Eileen Cook’s What Would Emma Do? (they both have the same name!) but with a more girlish touch. More emphasis between Emma and Jake.
I love the donuts. I’m just not as charmed by the unflatteringly shot of the girl.