Swirl #1: Pumpkin Spice Secrets – Hillary Homzie

A book with a name that includes a type of muffin and frappé, both of which feature in the book? Sold!

This is one of those cliché tween first crush books that follows the usual script:

  • Shy girl meets first crush / dreamy boy of her dreams.
  • Shy girl plans on gushing about dreamy to her outgoing friend.
  • Outgoing friend gets in first and tells shy girl about dreamy new crush.
  • Turns out dreamy 1 and dreamy 2 are actually the same boy. What’s a shy girl to do?!
  • Shy girl pretends not to be crushing on dreamy while internally cringing every time outgoing girl openly crushes.
  • Dreamy starts spending more time with shy girl and develops his own crush. Aargh! Panic stations!
  • Outgoing girl finds out she’s not the only girl in the world and some boys will actually like someone other than her. Oh, no! The sky’s falling!
  • Friend break up scene …
  • Drama, drama, drama.
  • Friends make up. Aww!
  • Shy girl and dreamy are free to live happily ever after – until one of them develops a new crush.

The moral of the story: If you can communicate openly and honestly you will never secure a leading role in a romance novel.

Snarky, anti-romance, I’m going to die alone surrounded by my cats sarcasm aside? This was actually quite a sweet story. Sure, I wanted to strangle shy girl and outgoing girl, and tell them to wake up to themselves and actually talk, but I accidentally enjoyed reading this one.

I loved that dreamy wasn’t a pretentious pretty boy. I liked that shy girl had an older sister who came through with some sisterly love and had a surprisingly rebellious attitude beneath her studious exterior. There’s a café in this book so major props for that. The school sounded like one I’d like to attend. I loved the birthday locker idea. The girls play soccer.

My favourite thing about this book is that the tweens actually acted their age, and even a tad younger sometimes. It bugs me when the 12 year olds are really 20 year old characters in disguise. The tweens in this book spoke and acted like kids. They didn’t sound like walking thesauruses. They got cranky and grounded. They planned sleepovers. There weren’t any drugs or tween sex or even any swearing that I can remember. It was just a really sweet book.

And did I mention the pumpkin spice muffins and pumpkin spice frappés with whipped cream, caramel swirls and sprinkles?? Yum! 😋 I definitely need to find more books with food items included in the title.

Favourite sentence:

“Mom doesn’t get angry very often, but when she does, she spews like a shaken-up soda can.”

Thank you so much to NetGalley, Sky Pony Press and Xpresso Book Tours for the opportunity to read this book.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Just as Maddie picks up her favorite pumpkin spice drink from the coffee shop counter, she spills it all over the cute guy standing behind her! Luckily, her embarrassment evaporates into a crush when she starts chatting with him – his name is Jacob, and he’s just starting in her grade at her middle school. 

But before Maddie can tell her best friend Jana about him at lunch the next day, Jana announces her huge new crush – on the same guy! Maddie doesn’t want to cause trouble, so she keeps her feelings hidden. Jana will get over her crush soon, right? 

Add major school stress to Maddie’s secret, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Can she keep her cool and work things out with both Jacob and Jana before it all turns into a total mess?

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