Rabbit Cake by Annie Hartnett

RABBIT CAKE is a stellar debut novel from Annie Hartnett. I love novels where I’m not only emotionally drawn into the story but also amazed at the creative details and colorful writing. This story hit it out of the park for me.

I have a soft spot for unconventional narrators, and 12-year old Elvis Babbitt is a true gem. Elvis is smart, strong and very funny (sometimes unintentionally). Elvis is grieving the recent loss of her mother. She’s the youngest but also the most grounded of the Babbitt family members. I appreciated her love of science and determination to get to the cause of her mother’s death. Of course, in life we can’t always find the answers we seek.  

While their father flounders, Elvis’ older sister Lizzie deteriorates as she struggles with sleepwalking and destructive behavior. The story sparkles with truths about living with a loved one who has mental illness. It can make life unpredictable and painful at times, but it also makes you appreciate sweet moments and small triumphs all the more when they do finally arrive. (And why not celebrate by baking rabbit-shaped cakes?)

Beautifully-written and affecting, this novel will be kept on my special shelf of favorite books.