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Donut Days

Donut Days

3.6 9
by Lara Zielin

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EmmaÕs life is a mess. Her best friend isnÕt talking to her, and the boy sheÕs known forever and dismissed has turned into a hottie. As if that werenÕt enough, her preacher parents have decided not to pay for college unless Emma goes to a Christian school, something she will never do. Enter the Crispy DreamÑa new donut franchise where people


EmmaÕs life is a mess. Her best friend isnÕt talking to her, and the boy sheÕs known forever and dismissed has turned into a hottie. As if that werenÕt enough, her preacher parents have decided not to pay for college unless Emma goes to a Christian school, something she will never do. Enter the Crispy DreamÑa new donut franchise where people camp out waiting to be the first ones served. The local paper is running a scholarship for the person who writes the best feature story about the donut camp. Joining the camp could be EmmaÕs big chance at taking control of her future. But itÕs going to take a lot of faith in the human spiritÑand a few donutsÑto change her life.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her thoughtful debut, Zielin explores the pressures faced by a pastor's daughter (both her parents preach at her church) and the bonds that hold families and friendships together. Sixteen-year-old Emma believes in God, but isn't sure that she's actually experienced God in the way that fellow parishioners at Living Word Redeemer expect her to. She reads the newspaper more than the Bible and bristles when her parents give her brochures for conservative Christian colleges. Still, when a wealthy member of the church campaigns to remove her mother as pastor after a “prophecy,” Emma goes to bat for her beliefs and her family. Zielin gives Emma a wonderfully sarcastic voice (“Why couldn't I go anywhere without finding myself surrounded by people who thought choosing which item to get out of a vending machine required prayer?”) and delivers lively characters, such as Bear, a member of a born-again motorcycle gang who Emma meets at a “donut camp,” celebrating the opening of a doughnut shop. Along with Emma, readers will discover that faith, friendship and family often lead to unexpected kinds of victory. Ages 12–up. (Aug.)
Children's Literature - Suzanna E. Henshon
Emma is having a very difficult year. As if being seventeen is not hard enough, Emma's parents are the ministers at the local church. One day Mom gives a controversial sermon about Adam being a hermaphrodite. And things only get worse. Emma's best friend Natalie refuses to talk to her. What can Emily do to make amends? Jake, the boy next door, has suddenly become a hot college student who is interested in Emma. As Emma struggles to finish her senior year with style and get into the elite college, Carleton, she wonders whether life will ever get back to normal again. Worst of all, her parents are determined that she will attend a Christian college—when Emma would rather go to a secular school. That is why Emma cannot wait to attend the opening of Crispy Dreams, a cool donut franchise. At the opening event, Emma meets Harley bikers and makes new friends. If Emma can write a great feature story, she might just win a college scholarship and attend the college of her dreams after all. But Emma quickly discovers that life is not that simple. In her debut novel, Lara Zielin charms readers with the lovable and funny Emma Goiner. Reviewer: Suzanna E. Henshon, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 7–10—Donuts, friendship, corruption, religion, love, and motorcycle gangs all figure into this sweet, satisfying treat of a first novel. Emma, a pastor's daughter who is about to start her senior year, has some serious questions to figure out. A member of the family's Living Word Redeemer church has challenged her mother's right to preach, throwing her whole family into turmoil. Emma might be in love with a boy whose father just happens to be the one causing all the trouble. She has also had a falling out with her best friend. Emma wants to study journalism at a non-Christian college, which her father refuses to pay for. How do donuts figure into all this? A donut chain is opening a new store in Emma's town, and people are streaming in from miles around to camp out for the opening. When the local paper offers a scholarship to the student who writes the best article on the event, Emma is determined to win. Her ambivalence about religion is addressed with sensitivity; she respects her parents' faith while also questioning their beliefs about evolution and the Bible. The overall tone is airy as Emma interviews die-hard donut campers, including a born-again motorcycle gang, and admits her feelings to the object of her affections. Teens will enjoy this lighter look at some serious issues of faith and family.—Miranda Doyle, San Francisco Unified School District
Kirkus Reviews
In this spirited-and, in an offbeat, somewhat irreverent way, spiritual-offering, readers meet Emma, who, despite the fact that both her parents are ministers at an evangelical church, finds her desire to feel the power of God in a direct and immediate way continually frustrated. Emma's relationship with God becomes even more troubled when a wealthy church member challenges Emma's mother's right to preach based on her gender. Add to this the terrible fight that Emma has had with her best friend Nat, her budding relationship with the son of the man who instigated the church trouble and her attempt to get around her parents' decision that she attend a Christian college by winning a scholarship contest for the best article on the Crispy Dream donut camp, and complications abound. The whimsical plot stretches credulity in places, as does the virtuousness of Emma's crush, Jake, who never flinches in his loyalty to Emma, but Zielin's lighthearted yet substantive portrayals of Emma's struggles with God, family and friendship ring absolutely true. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher
-Zielin+s lighthearted yet substantive portrayals of Emma+s struggles with God, family, and friendship ring absolutely true.+ -Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sold by:
Penguin Group
File size:
254 KB
Age Range:
10 Years

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
-Zielin+s lighthearted yet substantive portrayals of Emma+s struggles with God, family, and friendship ring absolutely true.+ -Kirkus Reviews

Meet the Author

Lara Zielin lives in Michigan.

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Donut Days 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I only got to page 40 and I stopped. It was really hard to get into it when the narrator is so bland.
EllzReadz More than 1 year ago
My thoughts...Hmmm, let me start by saying I liked this book. That being said there are a few things that I don't usually discuss with people, those are religion and politics. You have your beliefs, I have mine. Donut Days takes place in a VERY religious community. There is quite a bit of preaching to the main character Emma about her actions in relation to the Bible. She seems to be constantly disappointing practically everyone because she doesn't walk the straight path everyone expects her to. There was almost too much preaching for me to enjoy the book. I was turned off at times and frustrated with the characters. There were several times I almost quit reading, but I continued, and I am glad I did. While Donut Days, in my opinion has some flaws, it does have some strong qualities. There is a wonderful story here about friendship, self belief, and self discovery. I enjoyed Emma's voice, she felt very believable. Her character was very strong and determined and she was not afraid to stand up for herself. Donut Days also offers readers a bit of a mystery to solve. Lastly, the book made me think, question my beliefs a bit, and smile at the end. Donut Days is recommended for young adults. It is a very clean read. Great for a day at the beach!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is one of my favourites!!! It is about a sixteen-year-old girl who is trying to find the right path to college education
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
awesome_sauce More than 1 year ago
It was fine. Cute cover. Liked the idea. Not very spectacular though...
monkey_gurl More than 1 year ago
Emma is a girl struggling to figure out what is going on in the church her perents sermon in, why is she losing her best friends, falling for a guy that she knows all her life and trying to win a scholorship for a college her parents are not willing to pay for. This a book I recommend for everybody that wants to read a beatiful story of a girl refinding the correct path to walk towards. Oh, and for every donut lover out there!
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Emma Goiner's father informs her one night that the only universities her college fund will help support are those that her parents approve of. In other words, any secular school is OUT. Both of Emma's parents are pastors at Living Word Redeemer, so they expect Emma to be guided by their choices. But Emma knows they are disappointed in her. Since her baptism not so long ago, she's yet to speak in tongues. And she's inflamed that the church can be influenced by the wealthiest member of the congregation. So it's with these thoughts in her mind that she's determined to win the Paul Bunyan Press contest. The paper is holding a competition. Crispy Dream Donuts is opening a new store, and the paper is offering a college scholarship to the best story written about the opening. Emma isn't sure what angle she will take with her story, but she's going to camp out and interview people who are also camping there waiting for the celebration. It's during her time at Donut Camp that Emma learns more about herself than she ever expected. She encounters a Harley group that turns out to be the most unusual group of Christians she could imagine. And she meets a couple that have been camping for thirteen days, hoping that with the RV Crispy Dream will give a prize to the person who has logged the longest time at camp. And, though she struggles with herself, she winds up calling on Jake, a boy who had declared his love for her not so long ago, only to have her remain speechless and leave him hanging. During the time at Donut Camp, Emma's parents have to fight for their own dreams. Mr. O'Connor, the richest member of the church, has his own agenda, and when Emma's mom preaches that men and women are equal, it starts a cascade of events that soon envelopes everyone with their consequences. DONUT DAYS is a great, insightful novel by Ms. Zielin. It reads quickly and touches the heart. Though Emma grows up in a minister's home, the story is so much more than that. Yes, Emma tries to make her parents see that she's her own person and wants a world beyond what they have in mind for her. But it's also a story of fighting for what you believe in and achieving your own dreams. Emma is a strong character with her own insecurities - but a strong belief in herself and her dreams.