The Sweetest Thing

Christina Mandelski. Egmont USA, $17.99 (352p) ISBN 978-1-60684-129-7
Debut author Mandelski follows a pretty basic recipe in this coming-of-age novel that offers an abundance of familial and romantic drama. Fifteen-year-old Sheridan Wells, aka "Cake Girl," is happy with her smalltown life in western Michigan, creating amazing cakes in her grandmother's bakery. Her father, who runs the hottest restaurant in town, is distant, but Sheridan truly longs for her mother, who abandoned the family years ago. When her father is offered a cooking show in New York City, Sheridan refuses to consider leaving the town she loves, holding out hope for her mother's return; her mother says she'll do just that in birthday cards Sheridan receives each year, though readers should see through these promises quickly, draining that story line of genuine tension. After Sheridan's contact with her mother proves a disappointment, she is finally able to move on. Sheridan is believably self-absorbed and melodramatic when faced with unwanted changes in her life, but her bratty attitude and emotional naïveté don't diminish until late into the novel, which flattens the story's arc and isn't likely to endear her to many readers. Ages 12–up. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/21/2011
Release date: 05/01/2011
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 978-1-60684-132-7
Ebook - 197 pages - 978-1-60684-253-9
Paperback - 302 pages - 978-1-5152-0583-8
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