It's Raining Cupcakes
(Image from her website)
Small town girl Isabel is dying to get out of Willow, Oregon. When her mom opens a cupcake shop called It's Raining Cupcakes, she is inspired to enter a baking contest. The grand prize? A trip to New York for finals and a thousand dollars if you win. The only problem is that Isabel's best friend, Sophie, has entered the contest too, and both of them are determined to win.
So, I'll start out with stating the targeted age. It's for about nine to thirteen year olds. And that isn't in Diamond Willow's way that you can think of the main character as another age and have it seem like it's for you, too. It is very apparent who it is for.
That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it, though. It just wasn't 'classic' material. It was still funny and interesting, just not 'deep' or 'educational'.
We start out learning that Isabel's mom wants to open a cupcake shop in the old Bleach-o-Rama, having found a recent love for the art of cupcakes. This was, of course, not rushed at all. And, less sarcastically, not really well planned. Does she always rush headlong into things that are so big? We may never know.
Blablabla, we meet Sophie, a kind of two-dimensional perfect-girl character. She does whatever want and gets whatever she wants. And she introduces Isabel to the baking contest, which Isabel both does and doesn't want to join, since Sophie is joining and Sophie gets everything. Which is now a legitimate reason to give up, which seems kind of odd, since a major subplot is keeping Isabel's mom from giving up when she hears a chain bakery is coming to town.
Isabel's mom encourages Isabel to submit a cupcake recipe, but Isabel thinks that would be too unoriginal. She tries anyways, but doesn't like any of the end results. However, when a new neighbor comes back from England with jam tarts, she's inspired to submit a jam tart recipe without her mother knowing.
Realizing it may hurt her mother's feelings if she didn't submit a cupcake recipe, though, she throws away the tarts.
Stuff happens, Sophie steals Isabel's chance for fame in an interview with the family, Isabel laments for a bit, we learn something about the magic of friendship, spoiler, book ends.
Now let's be a bit more straight forward about how I felt.
This book was, no sugar-coating it, okay. Most of the characters were relatively two-dimensional and it wasn't a particularly emotion-inducing book. This may just be because it's for a younger demographic, but it was still somewhat disappointing.
It did, however, keep my interest throughout the story. While it didn't force me to turn the page, I did want to know what happened next and what would happen to our heroine next.
I'll have to applaud the fact, also, that it wasn't in-your-face about the fact is was a tween book. Instead of some books *dramatic glare into the mist of horrible writing*, it did not act like the very life of all people under twenty was to mall crawl and text. The voice was believable and relatable, and I didn't want to punch the author in the face. Trust me, this is a big step up from how I usually feel about tween books.
The style was kind of beige (but at least it wasn't purple, right?), but it was still a good read for a rainy day. Eh, three stars, maybe add a half star for the ending (and the recipes, but shhhhhh).
Also, in other related news, the author has another book called Sprinkles and Secrets, which is a sequel.