Cover Me: This is a cute cover. Yes, cute. How can you describe it as anything else? The colored nonpareils had my interest perked. When I read the blurb about a girl who loves to bake cakes, I thought it was made just for me. I’ve thought about having this type of storyline because baking can be so interesting, but nothing called my muse. I couldn’t wait to see how Ms. Mandelski handled it.
Concept: Sheridan loves to bake cakes to escape her messy life. Her mom left years ago, her father is in the midst of getting a reality cooking show, and Sheridan worries the one thing she loves (working in her grandmother’s bakery) will be taken away when they have to move to New York. The concept had me. In the world where contemporary novels face off against the worlds of Divergent, Graceling, and The Hunger Games, I’m fascinated to read how contemporary authors keep up the drama. Can baking a cake really stand up against the fast paced life of an assassin?
The Peeps: The characters are well-written, but a little too normal to be that interesting. I have to admit I was waiting for something quirky with any of them. They seemed cookie cutter. It was actually a great thing to read because I feel like I do the same thing. Although in my head I see the distinction of my characters, they show up on the paper flat.
The tension built between Sheridan and her father got tired for me. Her constant annoyance with his focus on the television show tipped the scales of my favor to her father’s side. She came across spoiled and I wasn’t sure that was the intention. I thought the building love story with the best friend was cute. (There’s that word again.)
The Ending (spoiler alert!): I liked the fact Sheridan’s mother didn’t return to make their family whole. It was going to be hard for me to believe this woman who abandoned her daughter would show up just because she needed her. I did think it was odd everyone else in the family seemed to know what was going on. Sheridan was old enough for the truth to be shared when her father heard she was going to find her mom. But this would’ve been a big buzzkill for the story.
I am glad the best friend ended up being the boyfriend of choice. They had that cute connection that only the best of friends turned kissing partners can have in books. He’s the one boy who understands her. The one we all wish our guy best friend turned into. Sweet.
My overall feeling of the book was the beginning dragged and I worried I wouldn’t stick it out. After I made it through the halfway mark, it picked up and I finished quickly. The ending wraps up with a happy ending and even a lesson learned by Sheridan that cakes aren’t everything.
What I Cooked Up: I had a hard time picking something for this book. I think because everything was so sweet and a bit vanilla in places, a goodie didn’t stick out. With Valentine’s Day around the corner, I thought mimicking the cover might be nice. I made a vanilla/almond sugar cookie and covered it in nonpareils. It mirrors my feelings about the book. Cute. Straight to the point. Something most will enjoy.