Cherry Kerrigan loves her simple life, her family’s tiny trailer, even working at Burrito Barn. Forget college — she’s marrying her sweetheart from next door. But here comes Ardelia Deen, a glamorous starlet who sweeps Cherry into a world of fast cars and penthouse parties. Now Cherry’s small-town life just seems so . . . small. When Ardelia drops a bomb of an offer — one involving a baby — Cherry knows her life will change forever, no matter what she decides. John M. Cusick focuses his signature wit on Hollywood royalty and the wide-eyed dreams of Small Town, U.S.A. in a novel about discovering who you are . . . and changing your mind.
STARRED REVIEW, PUBLISHERS WEEKLY:
Author/literary agent Cusick (Girl Parts) gives Cherry a sarcastic and often profane voice. The supporting cast—Cherry’s blue-collar father, her chill boyfriend, and Ardelia’s caustic manager—round out a plot that continually surprises. Cherry is a highly memorable character, prone to violent outbursts but possessing a strong moral compass, a rare smalltown girl who isn’t consumed by anxiety over getting into college or out of town—even when she has the chance to dip her toe into the pool with some big-time celebrities. Ages 14–up. (Sept.)
“At the heart of this story is Cherry and Ardelia’s relationship, but what makes this a spectacular read is the skill with which Cusick builds suspense. It is rare to find a realistic fiction novel with such stellar characters, and even rarer to find one that leaves the reader so curious as to how the action will resolve and so satisfied when it finally does.” — Teenreads.com
“Cherry Money Baby is fabulous in every sense of the word! It’s earthy and smart and moving, laugh-out-loud funny, surprising, inventive, suspenseful, and — Oh, Hell — just gorgeously written!” — Tim Wynne Jones, author of Blink and Caution andThe Uninvited
“Smart. Funny. A terrific read. I love that Cherry loves her family and loves that things aren’t perfect. I want to be her friend (though she might beat me up).” — Carol Lynch Williams, author of Waiting and Glimpse
“A witty and wise exploration of living big, living small, and figuring out which size will make you happiest. Unpredictable, smart, and deliciously satisfying.” — Lindsey Ribar, author of The Art of Wishing
“Beautiful, insightful, and unpredictable — just like Cherry herself.” — Leila Sales, author of Past Perfect and Mostly Good Girls
“Cherry Kerrigan–rhymes with “heroine”–will kick you in the teeth with her vim, wit, and homespun charm. John M. Cusick’s sophomore, but never sophomoric, novel captures the thrill of a teen’s unexpected adventure with an adult’s wry eye toward the inevitability of the unexpected. Cusick’s nuanced premise that home is who you are weaves the entangled threads of class, change, and circumstance into a tightly plotted, full-hearted bildungsroman. CHERRY MONEY BABY is better than cherry cola.” — Laura Goode, author of Sister Mischief
There’s a lot going on in this novel, which is by turns breezy and deadly serious. The interplay of class and wealth, choice and chance drive Cherry’s actions, but trust and betrayal, homelessness, interracial relationships, and pregnancy also play into the narrative. Seeing the greater world at Ardelia’s side may not change the direction Cherry moves very much, but it helps her move there with greater confidence, secure in who she is.
From SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL
Cusick has created an unlikely role model in sassy Cherry and added generous amounts of humor to her story.
Hollywood glitz collides with working class aspirations in this satirical tale of an impulsive starlet and a sharp-witted small-town teen.
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A video interview with Armchair BEA about CHERRY, female protagonists, and writing:
Find out what happens to Rose after the events of GIRL PARTS in this free e-short story.
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David and Charlie are opposites. David has a million friends, online and off. Charlie is a soulful outsider, off the grid completely. But neither feels close to anybody. When David’s parents present him with a hot Companion bot designed to encourage healthy bonds and treat his “dissociative disorder,” he can’t get enough of luscious redheaded Rose –and he can’t get it soon. Companions come with strict intimacy protocols, and whenever he tries anything, David gets an electric shock. Parted from the boy she was built to love, Rose turns to Charlie, who finds he can open up, knowing Rose isn’t real. With Charlie’s help, the ideal “companion” is about to become her own best friend. In a stunning and hilarious debut, John Cusick takes rollicking aim at internet culture and our craving for meaningful connection in an uberconnected world.
“Bittersweet and prescient.” – Publishers Weekly
“It may be hard for readers to get this book out of their system: Cusick’s first novel is charming and witty, peppered with satirical jabs at the irony of being lonely and isolated in an increasingly connected world.” – Horn Book Magazine
“A keenly observed and timely take on relationship building, gender roles and the qualities that make us human. Pairs nicely with M.T. Anderson’s Feed.” – Kirkus
“Literary agent Cusick’s debut is a funny, touching, near-future science fiction tale that explores teen relationships and what it means to be a “real” person. Part Pinocchio, part My Fair Lady, this is a good quick pick for fans of light science fiction.” – VOYA
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