Reviews for God Is in the Pancakes

Booklist Reviews 2010 May #2
As 15-year-old candy striper Grace gets to know 84-year-old Frank Sands, she finds "a sharper version of herself," wittier, more intelligent, and very likable. Yet Mr. Sands is dying of Lou Gehrig's disease, and as he steadily loses his ability to function, he has one last request of his favorite caretaker: please help him die. Former stand-up comic Epstein packs a lot into this novel. Grace's life has several parallel story lines: her relationship with Mrs. Sands; the changing dynamic with her best friend, Eric; her parents' divorce; and her sister's decision to have sex with a two-timing boyfriend. Everything comes together in an authentic, breezy read that asks difficult questions and doesn't shy away from direct answers, or the reality that answers may not exist. With well-developed adults and a teen seeking help from God and anyone she perceives as wise, this memorable novel offers food for thought and sustenance for the soul. Copyright 2009 Booklist Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2010 Fall
As Grace struggles with her parents' divorce, as well as feelings for her best friend, her world is again changed when she befriends an elderly man stricken with ALS. She is then faced with an impossible decision about whether or not to help him die on his own terms. This poignant story with doses of humor is touching and thought-provoking. Copyright 2010 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2010 April #1
Fifteen-year-old Grace is sure that most of life's problems can be solved by eating pancakes. They're what she eats when Mr. Sands, a resident of the nursing home where she works, asks her to kill him with an overdose of pills before he succumbs to ALS. Since Grace's father left, Mr. Sands has been her father figure. While Grace grapples with Mr. Sands's request, she's also facing new romantic feelings for her longtime best friend, Eric. Within her immediate family, she alone holds the secret about her sister's cheating boyfriend, and she misses her newly divorced father. As Mr. Sands's condition deteriorates, Grace knows that she has to make her decision, one that is further complicated by the relationship she has developed with Mr. Sand's wife. Pancakes as a metaphor may be a new idea, but here it comes across as silly rather than philosophical. Too many plotlines get tangled, and their resolutions are largely dissatisfying. With a tighter focus on the plot and less obvious symbolism, the fluid dialogue and sassy side of Grace's personality would shine. (Fiction. YA) Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 May #2

In Epstein's (the Groovy Girls series) powerful and poignant novel, her first for teenage readers, 10th-grader Grace narrates her exploration of life's conundrums as she faces difficult choices in every close relationship, some of which are literally a matter of life and death. Reeling from her father's sudden departure from their family and adulterous relationship with a church friend, Grace feels abandoned by him and by God, left to confront complex issues alone. Should she tell her older sister, Lolly, that Lolly's boyfriend is cheating? Can she support her overwhelmed and exhausted mother and ever speak to her father again? How should she cope with the new feelings she's having for her best friend, Eric? And most importantly, when the terminally ill Mr. Sands, her favorite patient at her after-school nursing home job, asks her to help him die, what is the moral response? Unsentimental but caring intergenerational relationships and spot-on adolescent banter provide humor and hope in this stellar addition to the coming-of-age genre, which offers neither judgments nor simplistic answers. Ages 12-up. (May)

[Page ]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal Reviews 2010 May

Gr 8-10--Grace Manning, 15, gets her first job at a local nursing home as a candy striper. She begins to enjoy herself when she meets Frank Sands, a resident with Lou Gehrig's disease. He encourages Grace's wit, teaches her to play poker, and is a surrogate for her father, who recently walked out on her family. Their relationship builds, and they have fun together in spite of their surroundings. And Frank asks a favor of her--"to help him die." Her inner turmoil about this request is played out against her everyday concerns of school and relationships with her sister, mother, and male best friend who is slowly becoming something more. The action moves along with few lulls, and the protagonist's voice is true for a girl her age. Readers will identify with Grace, cheer her triumphs, and empathize with her most difficult decisions and her belief that everyone finds comfort in pancakes. Fans of Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti will rejoice at finding Epstein.--Suanne Roush, Osceola High School, Seminole, FL

[Page 112]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.

VOYA Reviews 2010 August
Grace is a candy striper at Hanover House retirement community, where she meets Mr. Sands, a resident in the constant care unit. But Mr. Sands has Lou Gehrig's disease, and his condition is rapidly deteriorating. One afternoon Mr. Sands asks Grace to help him die. When Grace's father left the family, she stopped going to church, but now Grace turns to God to help her decide what to do about Mr. Sands and the other things happening in her life, asking if it's okay to do something that's wrong if it's for the right reasons. Grace's budding friendship with Mrs. Sands helps her make sense of her relationships with the males in her life: her best friend, Eric, who may be more than a friend, her father who has left the family, and even Mr. Sands, who has become a father figure.While delving into morals and the belief in a god, this is not an overly religious book and could appeal to nonreligious readers. Epstein instead focuses on the search into what you believe, with the help of some comfort-food pancakes along the way. Grace is honest and speaks frankly--and readers will love her for it.--Joyce Doyle 4Q 4P J Copyright 2010 Voya Reviews.