4.4 49
by Rachel Cohn

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The long-awaited sequel to Gingerbread!

Now that Cyd Charisse has returned home from her summer in New York City, she's got a new mission: to reclaim her true love, Shrimp, the hottest pint-size artist-surfer in San Francisco. Yes, he broke up with her before she left San Francisco -- but Cyd has grown up over the summer, and she doesn't plan to let

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The long-awaited sequel to Gingerbread!

Now that Cyd Charisse has returned home from her summer in New York City, she's got a new mission: to reclaim her true love, Shrimp, the hottest pint-size artist-surfer in San Francisco. Yes, he broke up with her before she left San Francisco -- but Cyd has grown up over the summer, and she doesn't plan to let Shrimp get away that easily this time around.

Besides her relationship with Shrimp, Cyd is attempting to keep the new peace at home with her mother, who is bugging her about college applications -- even though Cyd's idea of life after high school involves bumming on the beach with Shrimp.

Told in Rachel Cohn's fiercely individual voice, Shrimp continues Cyd Charisse's story with all the verve and wit of the original.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Compelling....The memorable heroine's light-hearted, sassy narration will enthrall her fans, and win over new recruits."

Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly
"Once again, the memorable heroine of Gingerbread offers a light-hearted, sassy narrative that will enthrall her fans, and win over new recruits," according to PW. Ages 12-up. (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
It is the start of her senior year, and Cyd Charisse is looking forward to two things: her future without school and her future with her true love, Shrimp. Sure, he broke up with Cyd right before her summertime trip to visit her dad in New York City, but that doesn't mean they are over and through. No, now that she is back in San Francisco, the determined teen plans on their getting back together—and when Cyd has her mind set on something, watch out! Of course, Cyd's life is also complicated by her family, including her sister's doll napping of sweet Gingerbread, her mother's expectations about her college future, her stepfather's disappointment about her earlier abortion, and her beloved half-brother's unexpected breakup with his "true love" boyfriend. Fans of Rachel Cohn's first Cyd Charisse work, Gingerbread, are sure to applaud the return of their heroine. A sort of Weetzie Bat mixed with Princess Mia, Cyd Charisse may be the coolest bicoastal teen to hit the pages in years. 2005, Simon & Schuster, Ages 14 up.
—Heidi Hauser Green
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, March 2005: In this sequel to Cohn's popular Gingerbread, our narrator, feisty, spoiled Cyd Charisse, is starting her senior year of high school back in San Francisco, after a summer visiting her biological father in New York. Still wearing combat boots, still battling with her mom, she is determined to win back her sexy artist/surfer ex-boyfriend, Shrimp. Cyd is as irrepressible as always, and still expressing herself in slang-filled California-speak, but now she's growing up a bit and beginning to understand relationships a bit better. She makes some female friends, including outrageous Helen, who is Chinese and claims to be bisexual, and multiracial Autumn, who is gay, and she comes to a new appreciation of her own loving family when she gets to know Shrimp's irresponsible, marijuana-selling parents. The road to true love is rocky, of course, and while in the end Shrimp and Cyd do end up back together, she understands that they can't stay together?—?he wants to move to New Zealand, but Cyd decides to move to New York, live with her adored half-brother, and start taking culinary courses. Cyd Charisse is a wonderful creation, and fans who enjoyed the first book of her adventures will be eager to read this one. It doesn't quite have the punch of Gingerbread, and the plot isn't as strong, but the humor, the emotionally painful moments, and Cyd's original voice will pull readers in. Some frank talk of sex and profanities make this more suitable for older teens. KLIATT Codes: S—Recommended for senior high school students. 2005, Simon & Schuster, Pulse, 272p., Ages 15 to 18.
—Paula Rohrlick
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-Cyd Charisse's coveted doll, whom readers met in Gingerbread (S & S, 2002), has taken up residence on her second-grade sister's bed. Cyd has just returned from New York City, where she met her bio-dad. She is suffering from a major case of Shrimp longing even though she and her surfer boyfriend had broken up, and she's determined to test the waters again with her "one true love." As soon as she can find him, that is. He is expected back soon from traveling in Papua New Guinea with his parents. Meanwhile, CC is trying to keep the peace at home with her mother, who wants her to fill out college applications. Alexei the Horrible, godson of her parents' chauffeur, shows up and some (predictable) sparks fly between him and Cyd. Shrimp does make a few rare appearances (with parents!), when he's not surfing or painting, but tries to stay "just friends" with Cyd even though the "We're Officially Back On" kiss is just so close in coming. Cohn's humor is right on. If teens laugh out loud at Louise Rennison's books, they will surely be turned on by this one, though it will help to have read Gingerbread first. The joy of the book can be found in the familiar characters and meeting new ones, and this title leaves open the possibility for a third installment.-Kelly Czarnecki, Bloomington Public Library, IL Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In this wonderful sequel to Gingerbread (2002), the irrepressible Cyd Charisse is back, finishing high school in San Francisco and hoping to reunite with her former surfer-love, Shrimp. CC, as she now calls herself, is also starting her first friendships with girls and reevaluating her family relationships, especially with her perfectionist mother, areas in which the teenager grows realistically over the year. In an equally plausible way, she deals with topics familiar to teenagers but often avoided in their literature, like lust, sex-including oral sex-and memories of her less-than-earth-shattering abortion. CC's impressively original, partly stream-of-consciousness voice sounds like a real, well-educated rebellious teenage girl, but more quick-witted and clever than most. Her fascination with her surroundings-food, clothing, music, movies, places-creates an eclectic celebration of San Francisco and, briefly, Manhattan, one of many strengths of this unusually entertaining offering, which can be enjoyed as a stand-alone. (Fiction. YA)
Through the Looking Glass Book Review
"Continuing the story begun in Gingerbread, this delightful teen title is funny, poignant, and memorable. Readers will laugh over the pickles Cyd Charisse gets into, and they will nod wisely as they read about the incredible discoveries that she stumbles across."
starred review BCCB
*"[Cyd Charisse] remains a reassuring counterbalance, a voice that yields to no one in intoxicating style but underpins it with real substance about the last step into adulthood."
Horn Book
"[Fans] of Cyd's opinionated, rebellious voice, balanced by just the right amount of humanizing vulverability, will drink in this continuation of her story like a caffeine addicts presented with double shots of espresso."
"[Startling] and honest."

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Product Details

Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 6.90(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 2

I need to find Shrimp.

I went looking for him at Ocean Beach, at sunset on the last day in September before school started. I sat on the long concrete ledge separating the beach from the parking lot, layered in sweaters and tights and combat boots, but warm at the thought of reclaiming my lost love. And like clockwork, right after the big red sun dropped over the horizon, all the tourists hanging out to see the Pacific sunset ran to their cars cuz they were freezing their arses off in the San Fran chill. The tourist march was soon followed by an army of wet suited surfers emerging from the ocean, all hot bodied and scrumptious, toting their boards at their hips. The surfer dudes dispersed to stand at the back of their trucks, where they shivered as they changed from their wet suits into their regular clothes in the parking lot for all to see. Too bad for the tourists, who had all raced away in their rental cars and missed the truly great view that Cyd Charisse got to witness.

I searched for the tiny one among the battalion of surfers walking past the trucks and toward Great Highway, the locals who lived nearby and would walk home and hang their wet suits over their porches or balconies, but I saw no Shrimp, not even a Java. Not like I could have missed Shrimp anyway, the shortest dude with the spiked hair and platinum blond patch at the front. The two of us have some kind of cosmic connection, so even if I hadn't seen him, I would have sensed him. And no way would I have thought he would miss the last day of surfing before school started back up, especially with the extra high waves on account of a recent tsunami in Taiwan or wherever that had all the surfers at their trucks raving about the bitchin' curls.

This girl who was sitting on the ledge several feet away from me with a sketch pad on her lap yelled over at me. "You looking for Shrimp?"

I nodded, suspicious, thinking maybe this stranger girl was the famous Autumn who was a prime reason, I believe, for Shrimp deciding at the beginning of this past summer that he and I needed a relationship time-out. But Autumn was a hippie surfer chick, and the girl jumping off the ledge and walking toward me was a hefty Asian girl wearing army fatigue pants, black combat boots, and a white T-shirt with a picture of Elvis shaking President Nixon's hand, tucked in with a belt that had a Hello Kitty buckle. I admire big girls who wear hip-hugging pants with leather belts and tight shirts displaying Republicans; that is one rockin' look that no hippie girl burying her curves under faux Indian saris would ever dare. Also I could never imagine someone named Autumn having a crew cut of black hair with copper dye in the shape of a hand on top of her head.

"Do you know where Shrimp is?" I asked the girl. She had moved over to sit on the ledge next to me.

"Shouldn't you know?" she said. "I thought you two were inseparable."

I was about to say Who are you to be knowing my business when I recognized her — I knew her. She was in my history class last school year at the école Des Spazzed-Out Enfants Terribles, the "alternative" private school at which my mother enrolled me last year after I was kicked out of the fancy boarding school back East. The arty school for popularity-challenged freaks like me turned out to be not so bad, actually, even though I didn't show up at it as often (like, daily) as my mother thought (blame, Shrimp). The school is definitely better than any snooty New England prep school, though — but let's remember it's still a school, which in my opinion is a crap institution that is just a massive conspiracy hazing ritual. Those people who say "High school was the best time of my life" I am (a) very suspicious of and (b) convinced they are full of shit. Lucky for me, I've finally reached senior year, then freedom forever. Nine months to go and I can be set loose upon the world. Watch out, world.

Last year at school this girl had long black hair like mine that draped over the side of her desk when she fell asleep during class, a sleep that always ended up with her thumb in her mouth and drool falling onto her desk beside me. Her name was...I don't remember. Last semester was all about deep intoxication with Shrimp. I couldn't tell you about anything or anyone else that happened during that term.

"We broke up," I said. More like, he dumped me at the beginning of summer vacation because I was supposedly harshing his mellow when I accused him of fooling around with the Autumn chick while I was grounded to Alcatraz, formerly known as my room, for spending the night at Shrimp's. But true love is a force that cannot be denied, and I know that one way or another Shrimp and I will be together again.

And I am way more mellow now.

But where the hell is Shrimp? Call-by's to the house he shares with his bro have resulted only in answering machine pickups, and he hasn't come by to see our mutual bud Sugar Pie at the nursing home since the end of August and she doesn't know where he is.

"That hella sucks," the girl said. Helen! That was her name, just like my favorite famous dead person, Helen Keller. "You two were all over each other last year. I'm surprised I even recognized you, considering your face was always sucked into his every time I saw you at school. I heard Shrimp is off surfing in the South Pacific and he's, like, coming back to school when he gets around to it. Wanna go over to Java the Hut and find out for sure?"

"No," I said. The first time I see Shrimp again after our summer apart, I don't want our meeting to be in his brother's Ocean Beach café where Shrimp and I used to work together, that same spot where I developed this unquenchable side order PURELY PLATONIC crush on Shrimp's brother, Java, real name Wallace. Java is a taller, more filled out version of Shrimp who just so happens to also be a vision of physical perfection. He may be a coffee mogul, but Java's no Shrimp. Java's the guy you have sex fantasies about involving hot tubs and licking chocolate off body parts, the kind of fantasies you would probably go "Yuck" to if the actual opportunity ever presented itself. Shrimp's the guy you want to wake up spooned into for the rest of your life and not even worry about having a breath mint handy at first morning contact.

I glanced down at Helen's lap at the sketch pad, which had a charcoal pencil drawing in the style of a comic book, picturing a short old geezer wearing a leather jacket, cowboy boots, and a bandana tied around his neck, and a long, salt-and-pepper, pointy beard hanging down from his chin. He was digging through a patch of trees, and the side view of his hunched-over body displayed the words ball hunter on the back of his leather motorcycle jacket.

"What's that supposed to be?" I asked her. Ball Hunter man looked familiar.

"It's this comic book I am trying to develop. It's about this senior citizen superhero who hangs out at the golf course at Land's End hunting for golf balls that get lost in the trees. And, like, maybe solves mysteries and stuff."

"I've seen that guy!" At the top of the steep cliff that is Land's End, where the cliff overlooks the point at which the Pacific Ocean meets the Golden Gate (and where Shrimp and I first got together in his brother's hand-me-down Pinto, parked under the dripping trees at the crest of the windy road), there is a beautiful museum called the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. The museum is built in a neo-something or other design with a Rodin thinkin' dude sculpture in front. The Legion of Honor is also famous for being in some old Hitchcock movie starring some boss blond lady with freaked-out eyebrows who was not played by my namesake, that other Cyd Charisse, the fancy movie star-dancer with the long beautiful legs going on into forever. One time I sprang Sugar Pie from the home and we visited the museum together and she pointed out this gnomelike guy digging through the trees on the golf course outside. Sugar Pie said everyone in The City knew the guy had some kind of supernatural power, and that's why he was never kicked off the course for hunting for the balls.

Helen was my new sorta idol. Aside from the fact that Shrimp is an artist and so I am naturally inclined to dig painting-'n'-drawing types, I truly admire people who can create life on a blank page where only white space existed before. I can barely draw a stick figure. My talents are more in the economics, customer service, and cute-guy-finding areas.

Helen said, "Well, the other thing I remember about you was that when your face wasn't attached to Shrimp's it was attached to a coffee cup. Wanna go grab a coffee in The Richmond, seeing as how you don't want to scope out Java the Hut for your boy?"

Helen got up from the ledge and headed off toward the cliff up to Land's End on the road leading into The Richmond District, clearly expecting me to just tag along.

I am a man's woman. I've spent seventeen years on this planet going from Sid-daddy's girl to ragdoll-toting tomboy to boarding school lacrosse captain's girlfriend to the one true love of the hottest pint-sized artist-surfer in San Francisco. Making female friends has never been a priority — for them or for me. The only real female friend I've ever had is Sugar Pie, who is old enough to tell tales about spiking the punch at USO dances during dubya-dubya-two and then taking advantage of a few good men. But this past summer, my newfound favorite (only) older brother, Danny, had told me Sugar Pie only counted for partial credit, that I needed to branch out.

So I got up from the ledge and followed Helen up the cliff toward The Richmond, where the dumplings are better than the coffees, if you really want to know, but where apparently my first prospective friend who was a girl my own age was inviting me.

Copyright © 2005 by Rachel Cohn

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