Reviews for Gingersnap

School Library Journal Reviews 2013 May

Gr 4-8--Set in a town in upstate New York near the end of World War II, Jayna and her brother Rob have just been reunited after years in foster care after their parents' deaths. Now that Rob is of age, he can legally take care of Jayna. Turning 18 has another consequence as well--he has to enlist. Rob arranges for 11-year-old Jayna to stay with their landlady, Celine, while he is serving with the Navy in the South Pacific. Feeling all alone, Jayna's every decision is made with the help of a ghost that only she sees. She helps Jayna recognize what is in her heart and what is right for her to do. Searching through things at their old house, Jayna finds a little blue recipe book that mentions a Gingersnap Bakery in Brooklyn. Gingersnap was her nickname, and she begins to think that this bakery might lead her to her grandmother. When she's notified that her brother is missing in action, and with the ghost's encouragement, Jayna takes a bus to Brooklyn and visits the bakery. While she doesn't find any family there, the people she does encounter change her life. Giff's well-told story (Random/Wendy Lamb, 2013) is narrated by Olivia Campbell who perfectly portrays Jayna. However, on occasion she drops the bakery owner's French accent. Fans of Giff's other World War II novels like Lily's Crossing, All the Way Home, and Willow Run, will be delighted with this story of family during wartime.--Joan Kindig, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA

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