January 5, 2012; Dial
*I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Just because Piper's birthday is on Valentine's Day does not mean she's a romantic. In fact, after watching her father and then her stepfather leave, she's pretty sure she doesn't believe in love at all. Then her friends concoct a plan to find them all Valentine's dates, and somehow Piper finds herself with the most popular guy in school. But true love never follows a plan, and a string of heartfelt gifts from a secret admirer has Piper wondering if she might be with the wrong guy.
In this heartwarming romance, true love is more than a maybe - and it might be closer than you think.(courtesy of Goodreads)
Heather Hepler is becoming a master at writing sweet, light, food related contemporary YA fiction. I enjoyed her first book Cupcake Queen. Her newest novel Love? Maybe is even better.
Piper Paisley (an adorable name if ever there was one) is a cynic. Understandable since her mom and dad split up, her dad's hardly part of her life, and even her step-father took off. Piper has to be reminded of Valentine's Day constantly, though, since it's her birthday. This year, her friends are determined to erase her cynicism and give Piper a true Valentine's Day. The three girls concoct love potion chocolates, not truly believing it will work...but does it?
Piper is a delightful main character. She doesn't have the most cheerful outlook on love, but her life experiences haven't taught her to be hopeful. Cynicism aside, she is a mature, kind, responsible teenager. Her mother works so many hours that Piper gives up most of her free time to take care of her cute little half-siblings. She also is a crucial part of Jan's Chocolates. Her organizational skills and logical nature form the backbone that keeps her boss's chocolate store running. She is the type of girl I would want to be friends with.
The other main teen characters are Piper's best friends Claire and Jillian. As well as next door neighbor Charlie, handsome Ben Donovan and nerdy Jeremy. Claire was a sweet girl, but bogged down in mourning her jerky ex-boyfriend. Jillian is the muscle behind the trio. She is my main criticism of the book. She's so forceful in trying to get Piper on board with romance and whatever else Jillian wants that she comes off as a pushy jerk. It wasn't until the end of the book that I understood why Piper liked her. I wish Heather had balanced Jillian's character better. Piper has had a huge crush on Ben Donovan for years. So much so that she totally missed the perfectness of her best bud Charlie. Or maybe she does know but she's afraid to take the leap.
The plot of Love? Maybe is not a great shocker. It follows a pretty standard romance plot where the characters end up with what they deserve (in a good way) rather than what they think they want on a superficial level. This isn't a spoiler. You know it's going to end this way. It's the exact journey that's the fun part.
And fun it is. Like chocolate? Then you will definitely like Love? Maybe. I spent much of this book drooling as Piper sold various candy concoctions. There's your normal chocolate treats, but Jan's Chocolates has options for the more adventurous as well. Think bacon truffles (I've had chocolate covered bacon - surprisingly good). My personal favorite (although not chocolate) were her Consternation Hearts, with sayings like "Buzz off."
You should definitely pick up Love? Maybe if you're in the mood for a light pick-me-up romance. The characters are nice people, their problems are realistic, the romantic tension builds up to the perfect conclusion, and best of all, the backdrop is delicious! Now I'm wondering what food Heather is going to be feature in her next book. My appetite is already whetted.
Rating: 4 / 5
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