Friday, September 9, 2011

The Sweetest Thing

Does that U2 song start playing in anyone else's head when you see that title?  Bet it does now that I said that!  Christina Mandelski's book has absolutely nothing to do with that song though.

Sheridan Well's life sounds pretty great.  She's got two fantastic best friends, a serious talent for cake decorating (lookout Cake Boss!), and her dad is an incredible chef who owns his own restaurant.  He's so good in fact, he is about to get his own TV show in New York.  Unfortunately, New York is a long way from where Sheridan and her dad currently live in Michigan.  Plus, Ethan, the dreamy guy at school she's never had the guts to talk to, has started paying attention to her.  When the suits from the television show start arriving in her little town, Sheridan hatches a plan to keep her father in Michigan - mostly involving finding her mother who left years ago and convincing her to come back.

Most of my affection for this book comes from the confection.  (Okay, I'm a dork but it was too good to pass up!)  Not having had cable television for years, I came late to all the baking shows but I love them.  This was a cute story and what I'm going to start calling "chick-lite."  Sure there's family drama, a love triangle,* plenty of learning about oneself, but you kinda know it's all going to end up fairly well for everyone.  Still, it was a fun read and there's some cheesy yet adorable/adorkable swoon:

"He doesn't speak; just stares down at me, his eyes cutting through the darkness. Then he takes a step closer.  He looks hungry; he looks like he wants me. I let go of the door.  Jack lifts a hand and touches my cheek. 'I'm sorry if this ruins everything, Sheridan. But if I don't do it now, I have a feeling I'm gonna be sorry.' He brings up his other hand and holds my face, all the while looking at me with those starving dark eyes.

'What are you doing?' I whisper, but it's a stupid question, because I already know the answer.

He lowers his head and his lips touch mine.  His mouth presses softly, tender but firm, so that I have no doubt it's happened.  Then I feel that same electric current, the one I felt that night at my house, only this time multiplied by a thousand.  My eyes snap shut, and I am transported like those people on Star Trek, blown into a million pieces and floating weightless through outer space.  And my brain begins to process what is happening: Jack is kissing Sheridan."

Yeah, that could be read aloud in one of those goofy, over-dramatic, faux-British accents, but lay aside the jaded grown-up side of yourself and think back to when you were almost 16.  Now, how saaa-weet is that?  There's also a Sheridan's paternal grandmother, Nanny, who owns the bakery where Sheridan works.  Nanny's originally from the South and a bit feisty so I couldn't help but picture her as Paula Dean as I was reading.  All in all, not an essential purchase for YA collections but it wouldn't be a hard sell.

*Seriously, why are these called triangles?  It's not like the same-gender characters ever hook up in these books, thus connecting all the lines between points, a.k.a. characters, to make an actual triangle.  It's more like a love tug-of-war rope.

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