The Cupcake Club

Sheryl Berk, Author, Carrie Berk, Author
Sheryl Berk and Carrie Berk. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $6.99 trade paper (208p) ISBN 978-1-4022-6449-8
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With this middling story about four fourth-grade outsiders who start a baking club, Sheryl Berk (coauthor of Soul Surfer) and her nine-year-old daughter launch the Peace, Love and Cupcakes series, whose premise is similar to that of Coco Simon’s Cupcake Diaries series. The girls’ drama teacher proposes the club after witnessing a prank that mean girl Meredith plays on Kylie, her ­frequent victim. Hoping that baking goodies will make people like her, Kylie recruits three classmates to join: overweight, good-natured Jenna; shy and artistic Lexi; and dyslexic tomboy Sadie. After the group bakes a batch to sell at a fund-raiser, their cupcake-making spirals into a thriving business. Mere­dith’s nastiness persists until Kylie retaliates with a potentially harmful stunt, for which she pays surprisingly little consequence. Hampered by clichéd portrayals of the students, the novel offers routine messages about being a good friend, working together, and dealing with bullying. Detailed descriptions of the girls’ baking should appeal to aspiring pastry chefs; three recipes are included at the end of the novel. Ages 9–up. Agent: Katherine Latshaw, the Literary Group. (Apr.)
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