Author: Heather Hepler
Published: Dutton, 2009
Genre: Contemporary fiction
Cover score: A
Overall Grade: B+
Summary: When 14 year old Penny Lane (yes, like the Beatles song) learns that she and her recently-separated mother are moving from the bright lights of New York City to quiet, rustic Hog's Hollow to open a quaint bakeshop, she is anything but thrilled. As if starting high school as the new girl isn't bad enough, the queen bee of Hog's Hollow High has it out for Penny, and it looks like divorce is on the horizon for Penny's parents. But then Tally meets funny, quirky, Tally and shy, cute Marcus who runs on the beach, and things start looking up...until Penny's parents drop a huge decision on her...
My thoughts: I was greatly looking forward to reading The Cupcake Queen. How could you go wrong with cupcakes? There were a lot of aspects that I liked in the story: the friendship, Penny's strong, relatable point of view; Tally's humor and quirkiness, the realistic aspect of divorce, the fast paced plot, and the smooth, nearly-poetic writing style.
However, I found that several parts of the book were choppy. I felt that many details were missing, and Penny's character was underdeveloped. Plus, there was no real purpose to the book. The Charity problem wasn't resolved, and the divorce aspect felt open-ended. Sure, the story was about Penny's progress and fitting in, but she sometimes came off as whiny and repetitive.
I would've liked to have seen more pageant aspects, which I think would've given the plot more structure and depth. Still, a cute, fast confection that is heart-wearming and sweet as a cupcake.
Must-Read!! Check it out Don't Bother