The Sweetest Thing - Christina Mandelski My one-star rating is only for the first 100 pages of the book.

Cakes are Sheridan's life. They're all she thinks about, all she fantasizes about, all she decorates. That should make for a pretty sweet story, right? I imagine it would, if only Sheridan were half as sweet.

The 102 pages of this I managed to read are dedicated solely to Sheridan and her pity party. Her mom left when she was seven and ever since, she's held onto the hope that she'll come back and her family will be whole again. Which is normal. Except she's nearly sixteen and still obsessed with finding her mom. And she still believes her parents are going to get back together.

On top of that, she's immature, selfish, childish, dumb, and downright delusional. Her father's lifelong dream comes true and instead of being happy for him, she wallows in self-pity and snaps at everyone who tries to talk to her, because her dad being on a TV show means her life's changing again and she can't handle any of that after her mom left nearly 9 years ago.

And. And. AND Sheridan has the silliest crush on the local hottie. Again, perfectly normal at her age, but it would have been a lot less annoying if she had retained even an ounce of dignity in his presence. Just take this passage, for example (put under spoiler tags because it's pretty long):

"Hi, I say. "Ethan, right?" Oh, that was smooth.
"Yeah." One second of eye contact and my face goes unclear. "Cake Girl, right?"
I scrunch up my nose and laugh.
"You ready for the French test?" He asks. [...]
"Oui." I reply, trying to be clever. And failing miserably.
(At least she realizes it.)
"Yeah. Good." He scratches his head. "That's funny."
(So are you.)
[...] "You want something?" That's the best I can do.
"Um, yeah. How are those dark-chocolate raspberry muffins? Those are new."
"They're amazing."
"Good." He smiles. "I'll take eight."
"Eight?" I ask, lost in his perfect chin, cheeks, eyes, face.
(Oh, for Peeta's sake!)
"Yeah. Eight." His eyes are sparkling, and his mouth opens in a huge grin. "You do sell them by eights?"
"Yes. Of course. You can have as many as you want." Oh god, he's so cute.
"Well, okay then, eight will work."
There's something wrong with me. I can't think of one intelligent thing to say to him. I can usually hold my own in a social situation. But this is ridiculous. He leans in toward the counter. "All right, then. I'll take eight."
"Right. Eight." I snap back into action. "Got it."
(About time, too.)

Additionally, the dialogue is stiff and unnatural and I didn't understand most of the metaphors/similes used ("fine as frog hair" is supposed to mean what, exactly?). All the characters are two-dimensional and flat and I'm not even mildly curious about their fate. Maybe the story gets better, maybe it doesn't. I don't care enough about Sheridan to find out.

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