The Sweetest Thing

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The Sweetest Thing
Publisher
Genre(s)
Age Range
12+
Release Date
May 11, 2011
ISBN
978-1606841297
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In the world of Sheridan Wells, life is perfect when she’s decorating a cake. Unfortunately, everything else is a complete mess: her mom ran off years ago, her dad is more interested in his restaurant, and the idea of a boyfriend is laughable.

But Sheridan is convinced finding her mom will solve all her problems—only her dad’s about to get a cooking show in New York, which means her dream of a perfect family will be dashed.

Using just the right amount of romance, family drama, and cute boys, The Sweetest Thing will entice fans with its perfect mixture of girl-friendly ingredients.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

You had me at "cake".
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
This really is a sweet read. (Let that sink in for a second) Sheridan Wells is a girl with passion. A passion for the town she lives in, the cakes she creates and a passion for finding the mother who walked out on her when she was 7. She's lived her entire life in St. Mary's, Michigan with her Dad, the infamous Chef Donovan Wells and her Nanny who owns the bakery, "Sweeties" where Sheridan spends most of her time. She's dubbed, "Cake Girl" by her peers but beyond spending time with her two BFF's, Jack and Lori, she doesn't have much of a social life. "Sweeties" is where Sheridan loves to be because it's the one place she can escape to when her life gets too complicated and it's where she feels closet to her Mom, or at least the Mom she remembers.

When her Dad is tapped for his own reality cooking show, (move over Giada!) a dream of his that would take both he and Sheridan to New York City and away from everything and everyone Sheridan loves, she decides to do whatever it takes to stop it. All of St. Mary's is in a tizzy about the news and when the "Suits" come to town, the attention Sheridan and her Dad receive only gets worse. She grows increasingly anxious about all the possible changes to come and Nanny tells her that the "big guy" upstairs is ultimately in charge and Sheridan should let him lead the way. Sheridan isn't buying into that at all. She wants to be in control of her life just like she controls how her cakes turn out and she wants everything to stay the same. So, when the "Suits" decide to do a segment that involves throwing her an early albeit, fake sixteenth birthday party, Sheridan comes up with an elaborate plan that not only includes sabotaging her Dad's new show but finding and bringing her Mom home too.

All that Sheridan has left of her Mom, besides her limited memories and their shared talent of cake decorating, is a box of birthday cards. Each one of the cards is filled with a present never received and promise to return one day. She also has the last note her Mom gave her the day she left which she's carried with her every day. She's spent countless hours over the past few years searching for her ever even enlisting the help of her BFF Jack. He's the one person who knows how desperate Sheridan is to find her Mom and has been with her along the way, at the end of every empty lead. When he hears about her Dad's show, he's excited for her and thinks it would be good for her to go to New York City.

Sheridan struggles with everyone's enthusiasm about the opportunities the new show could provide for her Dad, for her and even for the town. Doesn't anybody understand?! Even her friends are more excited than she thinks they should be, especially Jack. Doesn't he get it? If she leaves St. Mary's and her Mom does comes back, she won't be there. She also won't be around to hang out with him or Lori but he still encourages her to think about all the cool bakeries they have in NYC. What's his problem?! Isn't he supposed to be on her side?! She and Jack have been friends forever and Sheridan thinks it's odd that Jack attracts so much attention from girls at school. It's just Jack after all; the boy she's seen every day of her life since she was 5 years old. When she looks at him, all she sees is Jack with his dark hair and dark eyes. Hmpf. But when the hottest guy in school, Ethan Murphy starts showing interest in her, Jack begins to act strange and then he has the nerve to stop talking to her altogether. What's wrong with Jack anyway?

Ethan Murphy...*sigh* Ethan is beautiful, funny, popular and rich. Every girl in school is vying for his attention so when he walks into "Sweeties" looking for Sheridan, she's surprised that he even knows who she is, let alone wants to spend time with her. She knows he has a reputation for being a player but when he smiles at her, she has trouble remembering her own name. As she gets to know him she learns that his passion is for cooking (just like her Dads) and he hopes to one day have his own show (just like her Dad). He also knows what it's like to have a parent leave and she wonders if he could understand how she feels about wanting to find her Mom? Should she confide in him now or should she wait until after the party?

The closer the fake party gets, the more anxious Sheridan is to find her Mom. She feels like she's running out of time! She thinks she's found her Mom and plans to go after her with Lori's help but all that changes when Nanny lands in the hospital. Sheridan is forced to refocus her attention and starts to notice the still, small voice in head that tells her maybe it's time to "let go". Even Jack (who is no longer speaking to her) tells her she needs to move on. (Whatever!) Sheridan has no plans to give up hope even though that message of "letting go" seems to be popping up EVERYWHERE now. She wonders if maybe God isn't trying to tell her something but decides to continue in her quest to locate her Mom.

When the truth about her Mom finally does come out, it's devastating for Sheridan and for those who love her. What she thought was real and what actually IS real is not only painful for her but also makes her question if she can trust anyone else in her life. Whose turn will it be next to leave? Hurt and confused, she looks to Father Crowly for some answers, including wanting to know hot it's possible that God's plan could include a Mom who leaves her kid? He responds by telling her this, "It's just free will. The ultimate blessing and curse. God might lead you one way, but if you choose a different path, what can He do? Nothing, of course; that's why it's called free will."

Sometimes we can get so caught up in focusing on the "suck" in our lives or what we feel is missing that we fail to notice what or whose been there all along. We forget to see the blessings that are right in front of us. In Sheridan's case it's the parent who didn't leave her. Her Dad loves her and is trying to make the best decision for both of them even if she can't always see that. Sheridan's been so focused all these years on the Mom she didn't have that she's forgotten about her awesome Dad and all the great memories they have together. Nanny's no slouch either! She always makes herself available to Sheridan for girl talk, words of advice (there will be no defacing of any temples!) and for Sunday dinners. Nanny's also encouraged her artistic abilities, allowing her to flourish in the bakery while showcasing her mad cake decorating skills.

Then there's Jack, the boy who knows her inside and out and whose affection for her has grown beyond friendship over the years into something more. (So.much.more) He's the guy who brings her coffee in the middle of the night, goes for runs with her (even though he hates to run) just so he can spend time with her and who asks her how her Nanny is because he knows that's important to her. No one else does that. Jack's the boy who cares for her too much to let her stay where she is simply because she's afraid of change. *swoon* It doesn't hurt either that he happens to be tall, dark and gorgeous. Open your eyes Sheridan! There's a REASON the girls at school fawn all over Jack...DUH!

While it's good to be passionate about something like Sheridan was, you have to make sure that what you're passionate about doesn't become all consuming, like her cakes did. The amount of time she spent at the bakery started to get in the way of spending time with her Dad, Nanny and even her friends. Focusing too much on the past can become an issue as well. Taking a walk down memory lane is fine every once and awhile but memories can also get distorted with us only remembering what we want to remember. A reality check from those who love us is helpful, so is remembering to focus on the here and now because what's right in front of us just might be the sweetest thing.
Good Points
A good, clean story depicting one girl's struggle to deal with the many changes life can bring and the blessings that are often missed because we're too busy focusing on what or whose not there.
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Overall rating 
 
4.5
Plot 
 
4.5  (2)
Characters 
 
4.5  (2)
Writing Style 
 
4.5  (2)
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A cute contemporary
Overall rating 
 
4.0
Plot 
 
4.0
Characters 
 
4.0
Writing Style 
 
4.0
Previously published on my blog: http://fictionfervor.wordpress.com/2012/07/04/review-the-sweetest-thing-by-christina-mandelski/

Just like its title, this book is one of the sweetest I’ve ever read. It bears great resemblance to a novel I’ve read before, Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler, but there are definitely differences.

Sheridan got on my nerves. Constantly moaning about how she wanted her mom to come back even though she knew fully well that her mother left because she cheated on Sheridan’s father. Sure, I understand that she’s attached, but she was attached to the point of obsession. I guess that was the point, but Sheridan still irritates me.

I loved Sheridan’s dad though. Sure, I wasn’t too fond of him when I first started out reading the novel, but seeing him constantly trying to connect with Sheridan while Sheridan just pushed him away and yearned for her mom made me sympathetic to him. He’s one of those wonder dads who tries his best to make his baby girl as happy as possible.

Now, romance interests number one versus number two. Let’s use cliché phrases to sum them up, shall we? Ethan: popular bad boy who suddenly takes an interest in the heroine. Jack: heroine’s best friend who has been longing to be with her since the beginning of time. Although Christina Mandelski subtly inserted that Jack was in love with Sheridan, I could tell as soon as he made his first appearance. (‘Cause I’m just that good.) And of course, since I’m always on Team BFF-Who’s-a-Boy, you know who I chose. Hands down. Not to mention that Jack’s adorable anyway.

I’ve never really been quite impressed with plotlines of contemporary novels as I have for fantasy novels, but there’s nothing you can do about that, eh? (Fantasy novels just require more imagination, I think.) Even so, I was satisfied with the plotline of The Sweetest Thing: Sheridan’s dad, who is a renowned cook, just landed his own cooking show on a channel. But here’s the catch: he and Sheridan will have to move to New York. While he’s all for leaving behind their little town of St. Mary’s, Sheridan’s reluctant. She’d be leaving behind her best friends and her grandmother. And plus, what if her mom came back? So Sheridan’s unwilling to leave her little “triangle” of her house, her dad’s restaurant, and her grandmother’s bakery. She wants to stay at St. Mary’s and continue decorating cakes–her favorite thing in the world.

Ah, I almost forgot to mention the cakes! Personally, I love when sweets are involved in any book (I can’t resist the sugary goodness), so I loved reading about Sheridan’s decorating the cakes. I’d totally love to see them in real life. And then be able to eat them, mmm.

The Sweetest Thing was a cute contemporary that delved deep into my soul; in addition to the adorable romance, it taught an important lesson–that sometimes you have to stop dreaming and appreciate what you have.

Source: Galley received from publisher for review
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Loved this book!
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
I absolutely loved this book! I picked it up this morning with the hopes of finishing it by Monday at the latest and here it is, Sunday morning at 12:40 AM and I am still awake because I couldn't put the book down!
Sheridan is your typical 15 year old girl. Well, except for the fact that she is known as "cake girl" in her small town. She works at the bakery that her Grandma (aka Nanny) owns decorating cakes. Her dad is a chef who is trying to get his own t.v. show on a big food network. Her mom is AWOL, having left her at the age of 7.
I completely identified with Sheridan. I have to admit, it was over 15 years ago that I was 15 but this book brought back all the feelings of insecurity, confusion and teen love instantly for me! I felt Sheridan's pain when she thought of her mother. She spent so much time looking for her mom and trying to understand why her mom left in the first place. Her dad was pretty much self-centered at the beginning of the book, only thinking of his t.v. show and restaurant and you could feel the hurt that Sheridan felt whenever she was around her father.
Then you have the romance part of the story. Poor Sheridan is trying to deal with the fact that her father has landed this tv show and they have to move to New York when Ethan, the most popular boy in school, decides it is time to hit on her. Now, as a 32 year old adult, I had my suspicions as to what Ethan's intentions were but I could totally understand how a 15 year old girl could totally deny the reasons he has suddenly decided to hook up with her and in Ethan's defense, I am not sure he was 100% certain of the reasons either (until the end). I also understand her confusion when she finds out her best friend, Jack, has a crush on her. I had a best boy friend in high school who had a crush on me and it totally screws everything up! However, I loved the way it ended for Sheridan!
There are other characters in this book that you love to hate and characters that you hate to love! They were very well developed, in my opinion and I had no problems identifying with any of them.
The decisions that Sheridan has to make and the issues that she faces are relevant in many teenage girls' lives and I think most of them will be able to identify with the main character. It was a fun, clean read that made you happy at the end. It is a book that I would let my teenage daughter (if I had one) read in a heartbeat!
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