God is in the Pancakes: a novel by Robin Epstein community news and reviews about the author about the book

News & Reviews

“Moving and enlightening, this unique story examines what it means to be alive.” – Susane Colasanti, author of When It Happens

“Sweet and smart–this terrific story will grab your heart and not let go.”

- Sarah Mlynowski, author of Gimme a Call


Official Selection: 2012 New York State Reading Association (NYSRA) Charlotte Award Master List


My New Favorite Video!


Publishers Weekly


In Epstein’s (the Groovy Girls series) powerful and poignant novel, her first for teenage readers, 10th-grader Grace narrates her exploration of life’s conundrums as she faces difficult choices in every close relationship, some of which are literally a matter of life and death. Reeling from her father’s sudden departure from their family and adulterous relationship with a church friend, Grace feels abandoned by him and by God, left to confront complex issues alone. Should she tell her older sister, Lolly, that Lolly’s boyfriend is cheating? Can she support her overwhelmed and exhausted mother and ever speak to her father again? How should she cope with the new feelings she’s having for her best friend, Eric? And most importantly, when the terminally ill Mr.
Sands, her favorite patient at her after-school nursing home job, asks her to help him die, what is the moral response? Unsentimental but caring intergenerational relationships and spot-on adolescent banter provide humor and hope in this stellar addition to the coming-of-age genre, which offers neither judgments nor simplistic answers. Ages 12-up.




As 15-year-old candy striper Grace gets to know 84-year-old Frank Sands, she finds “a sharper version of herself,” wittier, more intelligent, and very likable. Yet Mr. Sands is dying of Lou Gehrig’s disease, and as he steadily loses his ability to function, he has one last request of his favorite caretaker: please help him die. Former stand-up comic Epstein packs a lot into this novel. Grace’s life has several parallel story lines: her relationship with Mrs. Sands; the changing dynamic with her best friend, Eric; her parents’ divorce; and her sister’s decision to have sex with a two-timing boyfriend. Everything comes together in an authentic, breezy read that asks difficult questions and doesn’t shy away from direct answers, or the reality that answers may not exist. With well-developed adults and a teen seeking help from God and anyone she perceives as wise, this memorable novel offers food for thought and sustenance for the soul. — Frances Bradburn


School Library Journal


Grace Manning, 15, gets her first job at a local nursing home as a candy striper. She begins to enjoy herself when she meets Frank Sands, a resident with Lou Gehrig’s disease. He encourages Grace’s wit, teaches her to play poker, and is a surrogate for her father, who recently walked out on her family. Their relationship builds, and they have fun together in spite of their surroundings. And Frank asks a favor of her–“to help him die.” Her inner turmoil about this request is played out against her everyday concerns of school and relationships with her sister, mother, and male best friend who is slowly becoming something more. The action moves along with few lulls, and the protagonist’s voice is true for a girl her age. Readers will identify with Grace, cheer her triumphs, and empathize with her most difficult decisions and her belief that everyone finds comfort in pancakes. Fans of Sarah Dessen and Deb Caletti will rejoice at finding Epstein.–Suanne Roush, Osceola High School, Seminole, FL


Publishers Weekly: ‘Pancake’ Party!

Publishers Weekly – In Brief: May 20

‘Pancake’ Party!

This past Monday, author Robin Epstein marked the release of her latest book, God Is in the Pancakes (Dial, May) with a party at HiFi Bar in New York City’s East Village (pancakes were not on hand, but as seen here, cupcakes were). The novel is Epstein’s first for teens; she’s also written the middle-grade Groovy Girls series as well as coauthored a pair of adult titles. God Is in the Pancakes centers on a high school sophomore whose world is shaken when a terminally ill resident at the nursing home where she works asks her to help him die.


Voracious YAppetite

Final Verdict First:

Pancakes takes one of the most intriguing premises of this year’s YA debuts and mixes the serious and delicate subject matter with wit and humor; character introspection on par with E. Lockhart and John Green; and an extraordinary heroine that you will root for from the moment you meet her turning Mr. Sands’ hair into a faux hawk-inspired gelled updo. This remarkable story will suck you in and keep your eyes riveted to the page, trying to read as fast as you can to find out what Grace’s ultimate decision will be: to help, or not to help, a very dear friend die?

I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of YA contemporary and doesn’t mind heavy subject matter. I’d also recommend this book to MG readers looking for a quality YA read. For full review, click here.