A website dedicated to books in the Young Adult genre, featuring book reviews, author interviews contests and much more!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Book Review & Contest: The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler


SYNOPSIS: When her mother moves them from the city to a small town to open up a cupcake bakery, Penny’s life isn’t what she expected. Her father has stayed behind, and Mom isn’t talking about what the future holds for their family. And then there’s Charity, the girl who plays mean pranks almost daily.

There are also bright spots in Hog’s Hollow—like Tally, an expert in Rock Paper Scissors, and Marcus, the boy who is always running on the beach. But just when it looks as though Penny is settling in, her parents ask her to make a choice that will turn everything upside down again. A sweet novel about love, creativity, and accepting life’s unexpected turns.

REVIEW: Just like the sumptuous looking cupcakes on its cover, The Cupcake Queen is a deliciously satisfying novel to dig into. The teenage issues are familiar (such as divorce, grief and bullying), but Heather Hepler serves them up with a unique storyline that holds your interest and has all the ingredients of a fun, enjoyable read.

Having a major sweet tooth, I have to mention the cupcakes first. They were one of my favorite aspects of the story and I loved how they often mirrored what was going on in Penny's life. The ladybug cupcakes with the licorice antennae, the triple chocolate mudslides (which looked like real mudslides), the "horns of plenty" with the teeny fruits and the ice cream cone cupcakes were just a few of my favorites. The only drawback was that I couldn't see them and more importantly, sample any!

The town of Hog's Hollow itself and the cast of characters within it were extremely well drawn and interesting. The adults with food names (Mr. Fish, Miss Beans, and Madame Framboise) were especially humorous and added to the quirkiness of small town living. Penny's unorthodox best friends Tally and Blake were extremely likable characters to me. I have to mention that before reading this book I never knew that Rock, Paper, Scissors is something taken very seriously in certain circles. Did you know that people even compete in professional tournaments for it too?

Penny's parents, on the other hand, had me consistently frustrated with the way they shut her out from what was really going on. At one point Penny says, "I'd like someone to just talk to me. I want to shout that at the back of mother's head: Just talk to me! But I don't, because maybe if no one says anything out loud, it can still change. " It was moments like this I could really feel Penny's frustration and sadness as my own.

Upon first moving to Hog's Hollow, Penny felt like no one understood what she was going through. The longer she stayed there, the more she came to realize that a lot of people did actually care about her and could empathize with her problems. I found it satisfying to watch the small town charm of Hog's Hollow work it's magic and help her to become a happier person.

The underlying message of The Cupcake Queen is that life is always going to throw out unexpected (and often unwelcome) surprises. But sometimes, when you give things a chance, it can all work out much sweeter than you ever expected. You just need to trust in yourself and follow your heart.

Reading level: Young Adult (Ages 10-14)
Hardcover: 240 Pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile (September 17, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0525421572
ISBN-13: 978-0525421573
Buy at Amazon, Borders, Barnes & Noble, Books-a-Million, Indiebound

Heather Hepler grew up in North Texas. She has lived in Reno, on the coast of Maine, in the interior of Alaska, and near Death Valley, but she currently lives in Tyler, Texas where she is still getting used to heat, the East Texas accent, and the astounding obsession that women in Tyler have with big hair. She works as a reviewer for various publications, including Kirkus Reviews, and she teaches YA and Children's Literature and Creative Writing for the University of Maine and several other colleges.

Heather is the co-author of Scrambled Eggs at Midnight (Dutton, 2006), Dream Factory (Dutton, 2007), and Jars of Glass (Dutton, 2008). Her first solo novel, The Cupcake Queen, will be published September 17th 2009.


Heather Hepler has graciously given me one
SIGNED copy of

The Cupcake Queen!

Leave a comment with your email address

The Contest Ends
October 30th 2009
(US & Canadian residents only please)


Orchid said...

Sounds like an interesting read. Plus I haven't read a light book in what seems like ages. Please enter me. :)

hauntingorchid (at) aol (dot) com

Adele said...

this sounds so cute. I'd love to be entered.
hagelrat (at) googlemail (dot) com

Sara said...

Great contest... I've been waiting to read this book for quite some time now! :)

+1 linked to sidebar @ http://thehidingspot.blogspot.com


Caitlin said...

I really want to read this book!


Ellz said...

SWEET review. I am interested in reading this. Sounds like something that would be good for my school library. Love the title and cover.


Ellz said...

tweeted this @elnice

Kelsey said...

I reaaaally want to read this! Great interview(:

kelseythebookscout at gmail dot com

Gina said...

As if the cover wasn't cute enough, the story sounds like it's a winner too! Count me in!

+1 - tweet! It's too sweet not to share! (http://twitter.com/GRgenius/status/4662835469)


Erica said...

Please enter me :)

+1 tweeted http://twitter.com/thebookcellarx/status/4663388066

:) Erica

Melissa said...

Sounds like a great book.

Please sign me up.


Reyna Meinhardt said...

I've been looking forward to reading this book! I LOVE the cover! Please enter me in the contest :)


D Swizzle said...

It doesn't look like anything I've ever read before. But it looks absolutley adorable!! Please enter me!


Alicia0385 said...

Please enter me!!


Jenni @ Falling Off The Shelf said...

Thanks for the heads up on this contest! Your review made me hungry...which is...amazing because I was stuffed from the 2 slices of pizza I downed about an hour or so ago. I can now say, I have room for cupcakes..namely mudslide ones, those sound YUMMY!

I tweeted here : http://twitter.com/jennilovevirgo/status/4664392567

Thanks for the great contest!


Cat said...

Sounds like a great book and a very nice review. Please enter me.
+ tweeted at http://twitter.com/cathy_ikeda/statuses/4664359480

Andrea said...

Yummy! I love cupcakes. I want to read this!

hersforthereading AT gmail DOT com

I also retweeted this:

The Tome Traveller said...

Thanks for the great review, I'd love to read this one! Please enter me!

thetometraveller *at* yahoo (dot) com

Mel (He Followed Me Home) said...

I'd love to read this!! The cover looks so delicious, lol.

hefollowedme AT gmail DOT com


jpetroroy said...

I'd love to enter!

jpetroroy (at) gmail (dot) com

+1 I tweeted at http://twitter.com/jpetroroy/statuses/4663322162

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

Sounds good! Count me in =D


Van Pham said...

please enter me, thanks :)



Ann Diana Dinh, said...

Ah this cover looks SO DELICIOUS!!


Unknown said...

Who could turn down a book about cupcakes - it looks like a sweet read pick!

Shalonda said...

Yay! I've been wanting to read this. Thanks for the contest!

shalondasblog (at) hotmail (dot) com

Cecelia said...

I'd love to be entered!


cait045 said...

Sounds interesting...enter me in


Linna said...

Please enter me for the Cupcake Queen giveaway. :D

linna.hsu at gmail dot com

tetewa said...

I'd like to be included! tWarner419@aol.com

Liz said...

This is a great contest!! Also an awesome review :)


Sab H. said...

Enter me please!


Anonymous said...

Oh, I love books with a food theme - count me in : D

merryweatherbookblog at gmail dot com

Priya said...

Please enter me! This sounds like a great book and the cover is making me hungry! :)


Miss Haley said...

enter me please!

i posted at http://haleymathiot.blogspot.com/2009/10/contests.html

i tweeted at twitter.com/haleymathiot

haleymathiot at yahoo dot com

Unknown said...

Hi :)
Thank you for the great post.
I really enjoyed the review & author information.
All the best,

Bookworm said...

This book looks adorable--and those cupcakes look scrumptious!

Enter me, please! I've linked to my blog's sidebar, too!

ebcella AT comcast DOT net

Bridget said...

Sounds like a neat book and those cupcakes are making my stomach growl!

Just posted about this on Win A Book. No need to enter me.

Andrea said...

I LOVE cupcakes! Please enter me!

And I blogged about the contest here.


Unknown said...

I would love to share this with my daughter! Please enter me.


Amanda said...

I would really like to read this book!

Bianca said...

Love to read this book!!

infinitemusic19 at gmail dot com


Pam said...

Mmmmmm. I love cupcakes so I'm sure I'd love a book about a cupcake queen!

melacan at hotmail dot com

dancealertreads.blogspot.com said...

I posted this to my blog - dancealertreads.blogspot.com

Please enter me in the giveaway!

dancealert at aol dot com

Nicole Settle said...

I've been wanting to read this. Please enter me!


Jenn said...

I love cupcakes! And this book looks fantastic.


Reading said...

Please enter me. Thanks for the chance.

lizzi0915 at aol dot com

Jenna said...

Great! Now I'm craving cupcakes! :p

Please enter me!


Anonymous said...

This sounds like so much fun. Thanks for the possibility.


Sue said...

I love the cover! Thanks for sharing~

s.mickelson at gmail dot com

ReggieWrites said...

Count me in please!


Reggie :-)

Mozi Esme said...

Looks like a yummy read!

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

Marian Perera said...

Now I want dessert, and it's only half past eight in the morning.

Please enter me into the giveaway as well! :)

Marian - mdperera at hotmail dot com

Simply Stacie said...

Please count me in.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

LG said...

Please count me in the contest-your suggestions always are SPOT ON-so here's hoping!!!!

Bingo said...

Yum, please enter me!

kdhaney (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Debbie F said...

Please include me!
dcf_beth at verizon dot net

S. Krishna said...

Great review! I really want to read this one!

skrishna [at] skrishnasbooks [dot] com

Jenny N. said...

I would like to enter. It sounds like a good book.


J.T. Oldfield said...

I don't know if I'd actually read this. I might just drool over the cover.


Unknown said...

I'd like to be entered for this book for my niece! Thanks for the chance.


adge said...

I didn't even know there was such a book. It looks great. Please include me in the giveaway. Thanks.

Unknown said...

The Cupcake Queen sounds like a definite must read!! Please enter me.


Jill of The O.W.L. said...

Seriously everytime I look at this cover it get a craving for cupcakes! Thanks for the give-away.

foltzsfantasticbooks at gmail.com

Stacey Brucale said...

I would really love to win this book!


CallMeKayla said...

Great cover! I wish my cup cakes looked that good, but instead mine are messy things, with frosting everywhere!


Froggy said...

Please enter me!

I linked this on my sidebar too

A Blog with Bite!

sarah said...

please enter me: sounds just like the kind of thing i like to cuddle up with.

DarcyO said...

Sounds like a good read. Please include me!

dlodden at frontiernet dot net

DeNiSe said...

This book sounds CUTE
Please enter me



SerieslyReady said...

I love the cover. The story sounds like it might be really good. I think I might already have an idea about what the decision she has to make might be, but I won't know until I read it. Maybe Random.org will show favor with me again.

Here's the link: http://twitter.com/Kayz4Contests/status/4735734482


Megan said...

Great contest. Looks like an excellent book!


Kristen said...

This sounds like one my daughter would really enjoy (and I'd sneak it off her shelf too). Please enter me.

whitreidsmama at yahoo dot com

Kristi said...

This sounds like a cute book - and I must mention that my son just came home from school last week asking if I knew how to play Rock, Paper, Scissors. Evidently they play it on the bus and he loves it! Of course, he is only 4. . .

Please enter me in the drawing!

kherbrand at comcast dot net

Kristi said...

I twittered - http://twitter.com/kherbrand/statuses/4778939679

kherbrand at comcast dot net

I ♥ Book Gossip said...

Please count me in.
+1 Posted on blog


cindyc725 at gmail dot com

Tena said...

you had me at Cupcake, lol


Tena said...

here's my tweet



Jonnie (JB) said...

I love any story that centers around food. Please enter me

Unknown said...

I would love to win this book for my 15yo sister Thanks so much

Ashley said...

Please enter me, thanks! :)

+ I posted this on my sidebar at http://booksobsession.blogspot.com

Lindsay Frost said...

I would LOVE to win this!!
Thankyou!! :D:D:D



brizmus said...

Ohman, my mouth is watering just thinking about the vegan version of all of those delicious cupcakes! Yum!
Anyhow, I tweeted about it (@brizmus)

Anita Yancey said...

Sounds like a great read. Please enter me. Thanks!


Sandy said...

Aww, I've read most of her other co-written books so I'm curious to see her solo work!

Linked the contest to my sidebar, naturally ;D


Rebecca N. said...

Mmmm cupcakes!! So yummy!! I have this book on my wish list. Thanks for the giveaway!

imsosweepy { at } gmail { dot } com

Rebecca N. said...

I Tweeted!

imsosweepy { at } gmail { dot } com


Virginia C said...

Please enter me in this delicious giveaway!

I am a new follower & subscriber.

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Sarah said...

The Cupcake Queen sounds like such a cute book. I like that the sweets are not just a title but are actually a part of the plot. Thanks for hosting this contest!

+1 I've also linked this contest to my sidebar.

Thanks, Kim!

two_of_hearts_101 at yahoo dot com

a flight of minds said...

The Cupcake Queen sounds great! We'd love to be entered. :)

+1 posted (http://aflightofminds.blogspot.com/2009/10/contest-round-up-anyone.html)

Alex & Lauren at aflightofminds@hotmail.com

emvuu said...

lovely review!

mimi at dark_illuzion at msn dot com

Staysi said...

Great review!
Bonus entry: Linked to sidebar

Thanks for the contest!:)

staysil7 [at] yahoo [dot] com.

Mommy Metropolis said...

Oh, oh, oh! I wanna read this soo bad. I love the cover. It's so cute, lol.

I tweeted it :: (http://twitter.com/brttmclv/statuses/5021225729) and (http://twitter.com/UltimateDumpees/statuses/5021225958)
It's on my side bar :: (http://theultimatedumpees.blogspot.com/)
And I blogged about it :: (http://theultimatedumpees.blogspot.com/2009/10/cupcake-queen-contest.html)

-Brittany (brttmclv@aol.com)

brizmus said...

Once again, I already entered, but I just wanted to let you know that I also now posted it on my sidebar


Diana Dang said...

linked: www.orientaldesires.blogspot.com

faked_sugartone at hotmail

Anonymous said...

Sounds very fun. steele85(at)gmail

minishoes1 said...

I need a book like this to read! Thanks! jacquecurl1@gmail.com

Katrina said...

Thank you for holding this contest, I would love to enter

khal5671 AT gmail.com

Unknown said...

that book sounds awesome!

throuthehaze said...

count me in please
throuthehaze at gmail dot com

vvb32 reads said...

count me in.
vvb32 at yahoo.com

do check out my cupcake dress if you haven't already.

Michelle said...

This one looks great. COunt me in!!

mmillet at gmail dot com

Paradox said...

This book sounds cute!

+1 Tweeted: http://twitter.com/ParadoxRevealed/status/5279202154

paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com

Unknown said...

I can't wait to read this book, it sounds so cute.

+1 sidebar (http://casey62588.blogspot.com)


CherylS22 said...

Thanks for the review - this book looks really interesting.

Please count me in ~ Thanks!

CherylS22 said...

I posted this giveaway on Facebook



Nancye said...

This looks like a great book! Thanks for the chance!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Tweet! Tweet!


nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Alyssa said...

This Book Was SO good. I Like NEVER Readd =]] It Took Me A Week To Finish It And I Was Impressed By It. I Relate So Much To That Book Considering My Recent Move To A New Place Myself. =]]