Cupcake

 
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Cupcake
Age Range
14+
Release Date
November 02, 2021
ISBN
978-1649370327
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I know what you're thinking. You're thinking this will be just one more story of the ignored, "big-boned " girl, who sheds her glasses and a few extra pounds and finally attracts the notice of the most popular guy in school. Except it isn't. Because I'm not unpopular. Not all that ignored. And I love the way I look―just as I am. Then someone puts my name in for Homecoming Court. The bigger surprise? People actually vote for me! Now, I'm a "princess"―whether I like it or not―but the guy I'm paired with isn't exactly Prince Charming. Rhys Castle is the strong, silent type who always wears a frown―he's certainly never smiled at me. I'm 99.9% sure he hates being on Court and being my partner, but surprisingly…he doesn't switch when he gets the chance. Turns out Rhys has a secret―something that makes him run hot and cold throughout the entire three weeks of Homecoming festivities. Whether he's stepping on my feet during dance lessons or gallantly escorting me through the Homecoming parade, I can't get a read on this guy, and for the first time, I find my confidence wavering. But there's more to Rhys than meets the eye. And the more the spotlight shines on me, I realize there's more to me, too.

Editor reviews

3 reviews
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0(2)
Characters
 
5.0(2)
Writing Style
 
5.0(2)
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N/A(0)
Pure Fluffy RomCom
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
CUPCAKE by Cookie O'Gorman is a fluffy YA rom-com read about self-confidence, staying true to your values, and enjoying the moments life gives you. Ariel is a plus-sized social media baking star who is planning what she will cook to win a baking contest that comes with a scholarship when out of the blue she is nominated for Homecoming Court. In her small town, they take Homecoming seriously, and Ariel is whisked away for preparations and to select her partner who turns out to be Rhys, the beautiful and grumpy star quarterback.

I absolutely love Ariel. She is body positive, not letting her size dictate her mood. She's willing to put herself out there and has fun doing it. She's the girl everyone wants to be friends with, but is probably intimidated by. She's outgoing and fun with a sparkling personality. It's impossible to not smile when you are around her (even through the pages). However, being on Homecoming court is a challenge for her. It isn't something she wants, nor does she feel like she fits the image despite her own self-confidence. I love that her friend is the one that keeps her positive, but also Rhys.

Rhys and Ariel are a perfect couple. The tension, the swoon-worthy moments, and all the little things in between drive the story. It was so easy to root for them from the get-go. I do appreciate the insight into Ariel's thoughts here though, her hesitancy and how she believes it's all too good to be true.

On the surface, this book is your typical YA rom-com perfectly sweet and swoony. However, Ariel's insecurities and the bullying/comments about her weight bring the subject matter deeper and will resonate with readers of all-sizes and shapes. Ariel is an atypical beauty, and while she is comfortable in her own skin, others are not comfortable with her. The author handles this with care, delivering the message through Ariel and allowing it to be discussed with openly with her friends and family in a safe environment. Bullying, eating disorders, and mental illness are touched upon and dealt with throughout the book.

Overall, I devoured CUPCAKE. I didn't want it to end. I laughed, teared up, and swooned right along with Ariel and cheered her on through each obstacle. It left me with the best book-hangover ever. CUPCAKE is a sweet rom-com that will leave readers wanting more of Ariel and Rhys. Highly recommend!
Good Points
-Body positive
-Grumpy sunshine trope
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delightful rom-com read
Overall rating
 
5.0
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CUPCAKE is an absolutely delightful rom-com read about self-confidence, being true to yourself, and allowing yourself to shine. Ariel, aka Cupcake, is a plus-sized baking goddess - who is startled to learn that she has been voted onto the Homecoming Court. In their small town, it is kind of like being royalty, and the preparations start right away, beginning with the selection of partners from a chalice.

Ariel is paired up with the strong and silent Rhys, who is a total hottie but also seems kind of rude. As they spend time together doing the royalty tasks and practicing for the big dance, Ariel is able to see a new side to Rhys, one that she really adores. However, she is not sure if she can let herself like him, because she worries he is out of her league - even when he's asking her out. As Homecoming nears, Ariel will have to decide whether she is willing to embrace herself fully as she is.

What I loved: This was such a lovely and charming rom-com read with all the swoon. I was completely caught up in the absolutely perfect couple of Rariel (Rhys and Ariel). Their romance was *chef's kiss* and I loved all the tension, cute scenes, and swoony moments. They are a couple that was so easy to gush over and scream about how they should obviously just be together already. However, I do really appreciate that we received insight into Ariel's mindset and her feeling that things are too good to be true and inability to trust.

These moments, along with those about fat-ist (a term coined by Ariel) events, make this a deeper read that will resonate with people who are insecure about their appearance but with an ultimately positive message. There are several scenes where this is brought to the front in terms of on-the-rack shopping, terrible comments/bullying, and the fact that all the well-known princesses are skinny. The messaging around this is important for readers to hear again, and there were some thoughtful discussions about it in the book. Other themes around mental illness, eating disorders, and bullying are also touched upon and handled thoughtfully.

This book absolutely gave me some great laughs, some sigh-worthy times, and plenty of swoon. I absolutely adored joining Ariel and Rhys in their story, and I was sad that the book had to end. This was such a charming read - perfect for anyone who is a fan of rom-com movies (and this would make a perfect movie addition).

Final verdict: With all the feels and charm, CUPCAKE is an absolutely delightful romantic comedy that is sure to have readers begging for more. Highly recommend picking this fantastic read up!
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