Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: April 24th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Friendship, Girls & Women, Romance, Social Themes, Young Adult Fiction
A summer read about first love, feminism, and ice cream.
Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been owned and managed exclusively by local girls, who inevitably become the best of friends. Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that the stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business…but Grady’s got some changes in mind…
I actually really liked this one. STAY SWEET is the best type of YA contemporary – it reminds you of all the great things about summer, explores a variety of different relationships, and is just an overall sweet read (you had to have known there was going to be at least one sweet joke here). It reminded me a lot of my favorite Morgan Matson novels like THE UNEXPECTED EVERYTHING.
While I never had the opportunity to have a fun summer job by the lake selling ice cream, this book made me feel like I did. The story starts off with our main character, Amelia, who is excited to return to her summer job at Meade Creamery as the Head Girl in her last summer before she heads off to college. Of course, nothing goes quite as planned and the death of founder Molly Meade changes everything, especially when one of Molly’s relatives shows up wanting to take over.
Although there was definitely a lot that I liked about this book, my favorite thing had to be the ice cream. The fact that I felt like I was tasting creamy, delicious (nonexistent) flavors such as Home Sweet Home really says something about the writing. STAY SWEET managed to be perfectly descriptive without being wordy, and I found that the writing was easy to fall into and flowed so well that it was actually hard to put down, which is something I’ve probably never said of a contemporary novel.
I also liked that while there was a romance, it didn’t overshadow the actual plot but enhanced it. It doesn’t have a whole lot of development, but it doesn’t come out of nowhere either. It feels natural and the two are able to support each other in all the right ways. There was also a focus on the friendships between all the girls at Meade Creamery, and the relationships the main characters had with their parents that eventually led to a lot of character growth.
There were more than a few smaller plot points that came together in the end that tied the book together, which hints at how well-thought-out the entire story was. I do have to say that I’m not sure if I would consider this book feminist as the blurb advertises. Amelia is a strong character, but I feel like her and the other girls sometimes fell into a lot of stereotypes.
Overall, I would recommend this book as a cute and fun summer read that also has some depth to it – I really enjoyed it.