Twelve-year-old Elvis Babbitt has a head for the facts: she knows science proves yellow is the happiest color, she knows a healthy male giraffe weighs about 3,000 pounds, and she knows that the naked mole rat is the longest living rodent. She knows she should plan to grieve her mother, who has recently drowned while sleepwalking, for exactly eighteen months. But there are things Elvis doesn’t yet know—like how to keep her sister Lizzie from poisoning herself while sleep-eating or why her father has started wearing her mother's silk bathrobe around the house. Elvis investigates the strange circumstances of her mother's death and finds comfort, if not answers, in the people (and animals) of Freedom, Alabama.
As hilarious a storyteller as she is heart-breakingly honest, Elvis is a truly original voice in this exploration of grief, family, and the endurance of humor after loss.
A Note From the Publisher
LibraryReads nominations due by 1/20/17. An American Booksellers Association Indies Introduce Pick.
"In Hartnett’s winning debut, a memorable young narrator’s desire for rationality wrestles with her grief. Elvis’s mother once marked every milestone by baking a rabbit-shaped cake, but the year Elvis turns 10, without any fanfare, mom sleepwalks into the river and drowns.... Like many novels with child narrators, Hartnett’s quirky, Southern-tinged debut relies heavily on Elvis’s relative naïveté for dramatic irony. Matter-of-fact Elvis, however, is no mere victim. Her relationship with animals, in particular, rings true—she volunteers at the local zoo—and her story is affecting, exploring how a fragile but precocious girl strives to define herself after a tragedy." - Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
"a brilliant book...the narrator's voice is a stunning combination of youthful and astute." - Kirkus, Starred Review
“Annie Hartnett's Rabbit Cake is fantastically original, a story about loss that expands in such exciting, unpredictable ways that I found myself completely won over by the unique Babbitt clan. Hartnett has such a gift for absurdity without ever losing the essential heart of the story. With this novel, she's become one of my favorite writers.” - Kevin Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of The Family Fang
“Heartbreak and dark comedy fuse together in this endearing story of family dysfunction and loss. I cheered for young Elvis Babbitt and the entire cast of quirky characters as they stumbled along a twisted path toward healing.” - Beth Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt and Looking for Me