Rabbit Cake is a beautiful, very smart, heartbreaking, funny debut novel about a 12 year old girl grieving the loss of her mother, who drowned while sleepwalking (actually, sleepswimming). Left behind are Elvis, the protagonist, her older sister Lizzie (who has inherited her mom's dangerous sleepwalking tendency), and their dad. Elvis's narration achieves a remarkable, believable balance of youth and insight, humor and grief, as she tries to make sense of something that doesn't make sense at all.— Kathy
I picked this up bc it has a really cute cover. Then I read about the author and was excited bc she's local and I remember reading an article about how she was the first writer in residence as the Boston Public Library. And, the book didn't disappoint.
Elvis is a 10 yo girl who is dealing with the death of her mom and the family dysfunction that later followed. She's smart but not overly precocious, which is the perfect balance. Her sister sleep walks and eats while her father wears her dead mom's robe and makeup. Elvis loves animals in the way that only 10 year olds do, and works through her grief by volunteering at the zoo, loving her dog and trying to make sense of her mom's death.
For an impulse pick up, this was excellent.— Audrey H.
March 2017 Indie Next List
“When Eva Rose Babbitt, mother of daughters Lizzie, 15, and Elvis, 10, drowns while sleep-swimming, her daughters are left to fend for themselves emotionally while their father tends to his grief by wearing his wife's bathrobe and lipstick. Elvis stays up at night, trying to keep Lizzie, a sleepwalker and sleep-eater, from burning the house down with her nocturnal 'cooking'. But Elvis doesn't trust the circumstances of her mother's death and is determined to finish her mother's book, The Sleep Habits in Animals and What They Tell Us About Our Own Slumber, so she does a little research of her own. Annie Hartnett has created endearing and memorable characters in a delightfully original story that is sure to become a beloved favorite of readers everywhere.”
— Kris Kleindienst (E), Left Bank Books, Saint Louis, MO
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 heartbreakingly honest, Elvis is a truly original voice in this exploration of grief, family, and the endurance of humor after loss.