Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Wicked Sweet by Mar'ce Merrell
Chantal is a planner, and her summer-before-senior-year plan requires best friend Jillian, resumé updating, and studying for AP classes. Jillian wants something different and is afraid to leave introverted Chantal in the dust. All that changes, though, when popular classmates Parker and Will suspiciously start hanging out with the girls.
Chantal only sees one thing: Jillian ditching her for Parker—a guy who can’t even be trusted! Chantal hatches a new plan, one that will expose Parker and Will for what they truly are, and along the way, get her best friend back with the littlest lie and a lot of mouthwatering cake. After all, what are best friends for?
There are so many covers I see that steer me away from whatever book they happen to be on, but this is one cover that compelled me to want to read the book before I even read the premise-- I can't resist cake, even when it's just in pictorial form. And although Wicked Sweet is not quite on the same level as a delicious cake, it's still pretty, well, sweet.
Wicked Sweet is far more about the characters and their relationships than an action-packed storyline, so it's a good thing that the main characters are pretty complex. I think I mainly feel that way because Chantal gets the largest amount of space to narrate, and she and I would definitely be friends. We have that overworked, crazy AP student thing going for us, so I totally sympathize with her stress and inability to handle a change in schedule. I felt for her struggle, especially when she found her solace in baking, hence she's my favorite. The other three narrators-- Jillian, Parker, and Will-- I'm not as crazy about. Will is generally an annoying jerk, so it's more I dislike him as a person rather than thinking he's an unbelievable character. Parker is generally a nice guy, but he's so nice that even his more shady motivations don't have the ability to instigate any emotion in me. I do like Jillian, though; although many of her decisions made me a bit mad, that's part of her realism. She has the most emotional story line and always manages to convey her angst well in her harried actions, so it's easy to see the growth she makes.
However, despite the complexity of the main characters, there's a few things that detract from my enjoyment of the book as a whole. The novel switches between the perspectives of the four leads rather rapidly, which means there is plenty of action coming and going, but because sometimes the character only gets two or three pages in one chapter, it makes the story awkwardly paced. The pacing is even more off when the characters are not in the same general area, because then the events jumped around a bit too much and made it hard for me to connect everything that was going on. There's a lot of lying and scheming happening in this story, which is fun but some of it seemed implausible, especially considering the one-dimensional nature of the minor characters who help drive the more far-fetched events along.
I wish Wicked Sweet had a more evenly paced story and developed minor characters, but I still very much enjoy the complexity of the leads and the fun their story provides even when it doesn't seem entirely believable.
Book details: Feiwel and Friends/Hardcover/$16.99
Source: sent by publisher for review