The Espressologist by Kristina Springer
2009; Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
What’s your drink of choice? Is it a small pumpkin spice latte? Then you’re lots of fun and a bit sassy. Or a medium americano? You prefer simplicity in life. Or perhaps it’s a small decaf soy sugar-free hazelnut caffe latte? Some might call you a yuppie. Seventeen-year-old barista Jane Turner has this theory that you can tell a lot about a person by their regular coffee drink. She scribbles it all down in a notebook and calls it Espressology. So it’s not a totally crazy idea when Jane starts hooking up some of her friends based on their coffee orders. Like her best friend, Em, a medium hot chocolate, and Cam, a toffee nut latte. But when her boss, Derek, gets wind of Jane’s Espressology, he makes it an in-store holiday promotion, promising customers their perfect matches for the price of their favorite coffee. Things are going better than Derek could ever have hoped, so why is Jane so freaked out? Does it have anything to do with Em dating Cam? She’s the one who set them up! She should be happy for them, right?
With overtones of Jane Austen’s Emma and brimming with humor and heart, this sweet, frothy debut will be savored by readers. (courtesy of Goodreads)
One sentence summary: Teenage Bridget Jones Diary in a Coffeeshop.
The Espressologist is nothing like Bridget Jones Diary in plot, but I saw a connection between Jane Turner and Bridget Jones's personalities. This is not such a good thing for me since I didn't like Bridget Jones Diary. Likewise, Jane drove me crazy throughout much of the book. She comes off as condescending and arrogant. Most of her personality summaries derived from a person's favorite drink are tinged with meanness (e.g. "Cocky sex-deprived butthead guy drink. Expect only the most stupidity to come out of his mouth.") I also thought it was weird that this senior in high school is smart enough to be taking college courses but keeps skipping school because it's irrelevant to her dreams to attend a fashion institute.
Jane's personality aside, The Espressologist is a fun read. Jane's little hobby of creating personality descriptions based on drink choices threatens to get her in trouble at work. But it turns out that her jerky boss sees a business opportunity in Jane's talent. The coffee shop starts a weekly espressology night where Jane makes matches for anyone who comes in. The matchmaking is a much greater success than anyone could imagine. People flock to Jane for predictions and loads of happy couples result.
But Jane's success with everyone else comes at the expense of her own life. She matches her best friend Em with Cam, a cute, college classmate. But as time goes by, she realizes that she's fallen for Cam. What should she do? Can she find a way to make herself happy without making everyone else miserable? The Espressologist gets better as it goes on. By the end, I was smiling at the sweet, fun, fluffy read.
Rating: 3 / 5