Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World

51zBXIHj5ALThe Story

It's the spring of 1987 and with less than three months of high school to go, Stephen Shulevitz finds himself in serious trouble when he falls in love with exactly the wrong person. Written for anyone who remembers being young in a dark time.

"...Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, 'not the end of the world' is utter bullshit. Sometimes it really is the end of the world. Sure, everything's continuing the same as it ever did, but there's been a shift. People will do things that leave you baffled. Or maybe you'll surprise yourself, start acting like a person you don't recognise. And you have to live in it now, this new world. You can't ever go back.

The end of the world doesn't have to be floods and fires and screaming and Nostradamus and the Mayans hanging around looking smug. It can be, say, two o'clock in the morning in the TV room in the basement with the light from the screen freezing all the cigarette smoke into shapes like ectoplasm. My best friend Mark leans forward to light another cigarette and – boom – the world ends. " Cinnamon Toast pb cover low res

Want to know more? Read away...


It's the spring of 1987 and Stephen Shulevitz is feeling especially restless and bored with the small town in rural Nova Scotia where he's spent most of his life. Stephen is a bright, socially awkward teenager who often thinks he'd rather be living in a Smiths song than on planet Earth.  He has a complicated relationship with his parents – his father is an emotionally distant ex-hippy whose rejections are a constant source of heartbreak and frustration, and his well-meaning mother seems to have a special talent for embarrassing him.

But all this is nothing compared to the revelation that hits one night in front of the TV while drinking a couple of warm cans of Moosehead: he's in love with his best friend Mark and has been for years. Mark is a loyal friend, but he has a scary temper and a history of being the schoolyard hit-man.  What's needed now is a cool head and a lot of self-control. Unfortunately these are qualities that Stephen completely lacks...

What the critics are saying:

"Don't be fooled by its frothy title....As with most coming-of-age stories, Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World has its share of lighthearted and tender moments. But it also has emotional depth that distinguishes it from most of its genre counterparts. Where this novel truly excels is in its ability to tackle several difficult subjects with clarity and conviction. From homophobia to bullying to parental abuse, Cameron doesn't shy away from the complexity of her material, and the effects are heart-wrenching. This stunning debut will surely appeal to both teenage readers and adults." - Suzanne Gardner for Quill & Quire, Canada's magazine of book news and reviews, June, 2013 issue, starred review

"Cameron's portrayal of 17-year-old Stephen Shulevitz is astonishingly good. There's an alchemy here that not every writer who takes on a character so different from herself can achieve....Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World is a good summer read because a juicy coming-of-age story, especially one with a twist, fits well into a beach bag. But it's also an important read. Cameron spools out the story of Stephen so that you feel his heartache, self-revulsion and abject terror in painful increments. You understand what it might feel like to come out as gay, not just in the insular town of Riverside, N.S., but anywhere." - Marissa Stapley Ponikowski, for the Globe and Mail, June 8, 2013

"[B]rilliant debut novel....(Stephen's) acid wit and biting sarcasm make him an instantly likeable protagonist....(Cameron's) attention to the details of setting add deliciously to scenes that will ring out in nostalgic, possibly embarrassing familiarity for anyone who grew up in a small town, particularly in the 1980s....left me breathless....It's tragic, but also very funny; I laughed almost as much as I cried. This is a beautifully wrought story of those horrific hallmarks of the teenage years....Witty, devastating, with a melancholy humour, it's an impressive debut that begs to be read in one emotional, tear-streaked rush." - Susan Morrell for The Sunday Business Post Magazine, April 21, 2013

Check out the review page on this website for more.

Comments on the manuscript:

"One of the best reading experiences I've had for years...the emotional depth of the book is terrifying and brilliant." – Peter Sheridan, author of The Liberty Suit and Forty-Seven Roses

"...the mood and atmosphere of growing up in the 1980's and all the songs were spot on....a very likeable and accessible novel, with a great deal of wit and humour...You have captured the texture of teen life..." – Dr. Eibhear Walshe, author of Cissie's Abattoir and Oscar's Shadow

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