Book Title:
100 Days of Cake
Book Author:
Shari Goldhagen
Page Count:
Publishing Date:
May 17th, 2016
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Date Read:
May 21st, 2016
ARC from publisher


Get well soon isn’t going to cut it in this quirky and poignant debut novel about a girl, her depression, an aggressive amount of baked goods, and the struggle to simply stay afloat in an unpredictable, bittersweet life.

There are only three things that can get seventeen-year-old Molly Byrne out of bed these days: her job at FishTopia, the promise of endless episodes of Golden Girls, and some delicious lo mien. You see, for the past two years, Molly’s been struggling with something more than your usual teenage angst. Her shrink, Dr. Brooks isn’t helping much, and neither is her mom who is convinced that baking the perfect cake will cure Molly of her depression—as if cake can magically make her rejoin the swim team, get along with her promiscuous sister, or care about the SATs.

Um, no. Never going to happen.

But Molly plays along, stomaching her mother’s failed culinary experiments, because, whatever—as long as it makes someone happy, right? Besides, as far as Molly’s concerned, hanging out with Alex at the rundown exotic fish store makes life tolerable enough. Even if he does ask her out every…single…day. But—sarcastic drum roll, please—nothing can stay the same forever. When Molly finds out FishTopia is turning into a bleak country diner, her whole life seems to fall apart at once. Soon she has to figure out what—if anything—is worth fighting for.

My Review

“Maybe there is some combination of sugar, eggs, and flour that can make me care about school dances and four-hundred-meter relay times and college applications.  If there is, I will gladly eat piece after piece every day for the rest of my short type-2-diabetic life.”

Molly is a seventeen-year old girl from Florida who suffers from severe depression.  Her mother, on a quest to help her feel better and do something she believes will be therapeutic for Molly, decides to take a challenge that will have her baking a different cake every day for one hundred days.  While having all the cake she could possibly eat might cheer up some, Molly isn’t sure it will help her.  The only thing that makes Molly feel alive and somewhat happy is spending time with her friend, Alex, during their shifts at FishTopia, a local shop that sells saltwater fish.  Together they watch old episodes of The Golden Girls and eat take-out from the Chinese restaurant near the shop, and it gives them the perfect chance to spend time together and just hang out, since they rarely get any customers.

Along with Alex, her mother and sister, Molly spends time with her best friend and her therapist, Dr. Brooks (whom she has a massive crush on).

When Molly and Alex’s boss, Charlie, tells them that he is selling FishTopia, Molly is heartbroken – after all, it is the only place where she feels safe and like everything in the world outside the doors to the store is put on hold, and she can just keep spending time with Alex and trying to be happy.  So she tries her hardest to come up with a plan to save the store, even if she isn’t sure it will work.

100 Days of Cake is a really cute contemporary romance that deals with a big issue – depression.  Depression isn’t talked about too much in YA books, but it’s a very real, lonely, and oftentimes very heartbreaking disorder that affects millions – children, teenagers, and adults alike.  I thought the way that depressive disorder and Molly’s treatment was portrayed well in this book, and I really give the author a lot of credit for writing this book.  I have suffered from depression since I was a young teenager, and this is the kind of book I would have loved to have in my hands to help me feel like I wasn’t so alone.  While Molly, the main character in 100 Days of Cake has a very caring mother and friends, it isn’t the case for everyone who suffers from depression, and I believe this book could be a big help to some of those who aren’t quite as lucky to have a support system on their side.

I can’t count the amount of times that I laughed while reading this book – the tone was often lighthearted and witty, and it really made the pages fly by as I read chapter after chapter, thoroughly enjoying reading about Molly’s life, her thoughts and feelings, and, well…the cakes.

The thing is…this book felt so real.  It was a novel full of raw emotions that really lend a voice to what depression actually feels like for the person suffering from it – and those around that person who care.  While it was told from Molly’s perspective, you get to witness how those around her who care for her (Molly’s mother, sister, friend, Alex) feel as well, and because of that, it feels like such a true portrayal of the life inside a teenager who is depressed.

“Maybe Alex was right.  My need for everything to stay exactly the same was what screwed things up.  If things never change, they eventually decay.”

From the very first time I read about Alex and Molly together, it was so obvious that they were perfect for each other.  There was such chemistry there and I spent the entire book hoping they would get together.  I loved Alex – he was goofy, sweet, and really cared about Molly.

Also, at one point Molly gets a pet hermit crab named Pickles, and Pickles is by far the coolest.  He even gets his own little couch!  Pickles plays a big part of Molly’s life, and is very important to her…making him very important to the story, as well.

There was one part of the book that I thought wasn’t the best choice to add to the story, and it involves Molly and her therapist, Dr. Brooks.  I don’t think that it added anything to the book that was absolutely necessary, and it was probably the only part of the book I really disliked.  I managed to get over my dislike for that part of the story, because it was such a good book otherwise, but I just wanted to add that to my review.

100 Days of Cake is a powerful, emotional novel that adds in a bit of humor and inspiration, and has the possibility to really change someone’s life.  If you get the chance to read this one, please don’t miss out on it!

4 stars
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5 Responses to 100 Days of Cake by Shari Goldhagen

  1. This sounds so cute! I’m glad that you loved it. I’d only just glanced at it before, but I’ll add it to my TBR. What sounds really great about it is the realness of it without being super super sad all the time. I’ve been on such a fantasy kick lately that it would be great to get some realistic fiction in. I’m glad that you liked this one!


  2. Deanna says:

    I feel like I’ve been seeing more and more depression in books lately. I like that authors are bringing it to light. This one sounds really good. Great review!

    • Kelly says:

      It was really good! It seems like for a while there it was hard to find a really good book that dealt with depression in teenagers, but now it seems like they’re everywhere, and it’s about time!

  3. Dr. Dawn says:

    Awesome review! I’ve read a lot of books about teenage depression but this is a really good one.

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