Sweetness in the Skin
by Ishi Robinson
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Pub Date 23 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 18 Jun 2024
“A delightful coming-of-age story set in Jamaica, amid heartbreak, hopefulness, and mirth.”—Charmaine Wilkerson, New York Times bestselling author of Black Cake
One of the BBC and Zibby Mag's Most Anticipated Books of 2024
A winning debut novel about a young teenage girl in Jamaica determined to bake her way out of her dysfunctional family and into the opportunity of a lifetime.
Pumkin Patterson is a thirteen-year-old girl living in a tiny two-room house in Kingston, Jamaica, with her grandmother (who wants to improve the family’s social standing), her Aunt Sophie (who dreams of a new life in Paris for her and Pumkin), and her mother Paulette (who’s rarely home).
When Sophie is offered the chance to move to France for work, she seizes the opportunity, and promises to send for her niece in one year’s time. All Pumkin has to do is pass her French entrance exam so she can attend school there. But when Pumkin’s grandmother dies, she’s left alone with her volatile mother, and as soon as her estranged father turns up—as lazy and conniving as ever—the household’s fortunes take a turn for the worse.
Pumkin must somehow find a way to raise the money for her French exam, so she can free herself from her household and reunite with her beloved aunt in France. In a moment of ingenuity, she turns her passion for baking into a true business. Making batches of sweet potato pudding, coconut drops and chocolate cakes, Pumkin develops a booming trade—but when her school and her mother find out what she’s up to, everything she’s worked so hard for may slip through her fingers. . . .
Sweetness in the Skin is a funny and heartbreaking story about a young girl figuring out who she is, what she is capable of—and where she truly belongs.