To me there are few things that go better together than contemporary young adult stories and food. There’s a magic certain authors have in describing food that usually ends up making my mouth water, dorky as that may sound. When picking out the books for my Bout Of Books stack, which FYI I failed miserably, I decided to throw my copy of The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski in there, even though the book is like 2 years old and feels like it’s been sitting on my stack forever. 2 years is kind of ancient in blog time, but the heart wants what it wants and want I was desperate to read was a contemporary book about food, family, and friends. I am decidedly satisfied with The Sweetest Thing, even though I never had a love-type feeling while reading.
Sheridan’s life is about to change in a big way. Her dad, Donovan Wells, has just been offered a TV show on a network kind of like FoodTV only, the hitch is that he and Sheridan will have to move from their small town, St. Mary, in Michigan to New York City. Sheridan is absolutely against the move, she is waiting for her mom to come back. FYI, her mom left several years ago without looking back. Meanwhile, as they begin to film for the show, Sheridan’s crush Ethan finally begins to show interest in her, much to the chagrin of her best friend, Jack. Oh and peppering the plot by being kickass is Sheridan’s gram, Nanny. So, really the book is about Sheridan adjusting to the fact that everything is changing, decorating cakes, and the power of family.
Honestly, part of what did not entirely work for me with The Sweetest Thing is Sheridan’s character. She’s 15, but a very immature 15. And you know, I get it, in real life teens develop at different rates and mature differently and are equal opportunity annoying. I get that. However, my opinion is that she occasionally got annoying and I am totally allowed to have an opinion and state that I found her annoying. She gets very angry with her dad and calls him selfish over a career move, which ugh, stupid. But she thinks her mom hung the moon and the stars despite having zero contact with her for years. Seriously, Sheridan grated on my last nerve. I will say though, it was cool how into running, cake decorating and art Sheridan was.
If you are into swoonworthy romances, look elsewhere. The romance in this book was cute, I will give it that. However, it’s nothing that will launch a thousand ships, if you know what I mean. It’s very schoolgirl crush, which is fine and all, but I like something a little bit deeper with the romances that I read. I think, however, that this book is appropriate for younger teens and pre-teens. Like, there’s a scene where Sheridan’s crush is making out with her and wants to take it further, but she keeps telling him no and to slow down and pictures her grandma giving her the your body is a temple speech, lol. You know kissing isn’t that great when you picture your grams is all I am saying.
Finally, The Sweetest Thing totally excels when it comes to pacing and telling what I perceived to be an interesting story. I would probably have liked it more if the dialogue wasn’t quite so cheesy and awkward, but you know that’s me. I think that people who aren’t very picky and who just want a cute contemporary book with cake and cute boys will definitely be down for Christina Mandelski’s The Sweetest Thing.
Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher at BEA 2011.