Tuesday, January 3, 2012
Chick Pick: Love? Maybe.
by Heather Hepler
Available January 5, 2012
Highly entertaining, well-written, and enjoyable, Love? Maybe. is Heather Hepler's latest young adult novel. Like The Cupcake Queen (her last novel) Love? Maybe. is set in a backdrop of a foodie paradise--a sweet shop owned by Jan, an evil genius chocolatier with an eye for beauty and a gourmand's palate for the gastronomically strange--take Kalamata Caramels, for example, olives and caramel--yet it works and customers eat them up! (pun, intended) Jan is a genius in baking sweet concoctions but not a tough businessman or an organized bookkeeper. For that, he employs Piper Paisley, a teen girl who is an organizing queen who just happens to come up with major fantastic sweet ideas for his shop. Piper is all business but disillusioned about male/female relationships.
Piper's birthday is Valentine's Day--which she dreads every year. Because of her mother's failed marriage and last relationship, Piper is jaded when it comes to romance and love. She knows there is no knight in shining armor, no hearts and flowers, no I Love You, and no happily ever after. She's seen it first-hand, after all. Piper is cynical and downright curmudgeonly when it comes to love. While her friends--spunky, amusing Jillian and heart-broken Claire look forward to Valentine's Day--Piper dreads it. Her mother owns a busy flower shop and Valentine's week is her busiest time of year, so she counts on Piper to help with younger siblings Dom and Lucy. Piper spends her time at school, at the sweet shop, picking up her siblings, doing homework, doing mother duties until bedtime, and falling into a stupor of slumber.
Jan fears that Piper is losing her youth and her appreciation of things to come. He has a fatherly, Star Wars Yoda-like talk with her and tells her that, "hearts are delicate things" but that love is worthwhile. He makes her swear to open her heart to possibility.
Jillian and Claire rope Piper into their Valentine's Day plan--they must have a boyfriend by Valentine's Day! Their plan includes makeovers and magic. Jillian finds a magic book with a love potion and the girls make love potion truffles for the sweet shop. Jan uses Piper's idea of candy hearts she calls Consternation Hearts. Instead of sayings like "Be Mine" and "UR Cute" they say "Ewww" and "Um...No" Jan adds hearts that say "Hope" because he can't stand the idea of teen cynicism.
Piper has her heart set on Ben Donovan and doesn't even realize her best friend Charlie from next door is truly the boy for her. As Valentine's Day draws closer, Piper finds gifts in her locker from a secret admirer. Jillian falls for Jeremy, a nerdy guy who has always been around and she finally realizes she likes nerds.
Relationships work out for all the characters and teen readers will love the heart-warming ending. Just in time for Valentine's Day, this novel is a gem worth relishing!
I loved Piper's name: Piper Paisley. It shows that her mom still has a creative and fun side. It's a fun name. Girls will love Jillian and want her for a BFF. The teen dialog is spot-on and delightful. Readers will love Jan, the thoughtful and big-hearted sweet shop owner who still finds beauty and romance in the world.
Highly, highly recommmeded grades 7-up. This is a "sweet" treat for girls! Girls who loved Hepler's The Cupcake Queen and Mandelski's The Sweetest Thing will be sure to love this new novel.
FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.