Pumpkin Spice Secrets

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 04 Dec 2017

Member Reviews

3.75 but rounded to 4 Stars!

Pumpkin Spice Secrets by Hillary Homzie is a deliciously fun middle grade story about first crushes, friendship and self-discovery. 

At first, I had a difficult time getting into this book. I would read a few chapters and take days/weeks of break before I pick it up again. (I started reading October of last year and finished Jan 9) It wasn’t terrible or anything. Actually, the story was paced well, easy to read and charming in its own way. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for a middle grade book or something. But when I finished this a few days ago… I surprisingly had a change of heart and ended up really liking it. It’s light, fun, and incredibly cute. If I had been a tween reading this book, there’s no doubt in my mind that I would fall head over heels in love. 

The characters were great and delightful. I really liked Maddie and thought she was just the kindest and sweetest girl. Tween me definitely could relate to her public speaking anxiety and boy dilemma. The friendships between the girls and the boys too were absolutely heartwarming. Maddie and Jana’s bond was amazing and that scene between them in the end just made my heart melt. The characters were just all so adorable and fun. And Maddie and Jacob – definitely shippable! I can just picture them together in their late teens being all lovey dovey and that would certainly make me swoon! 

While I initially had a difficult time getting into this book, I definitely think it’s an amazing and cheerful read with many sweet moments that will make you smile and your heart happy. Pumpkin Spice Secrets is a fun, lighthearted, and lovely story with a sprinkle of tween drama – a sure hit for middle grade readers (and even adults) looking for something adorable and entertaining. 

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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A book with a name that includes a type of muffin and frappé, both of which feature in the book? Sold! 

This is one of those cliché tween first crush books that follows the usual script:
* Shy girl meets first crush / dreamy boy of her dreams.
* Shy girl plans on gushing about dreamy to her outgoing friend.
* Outgoing friend gets in first and tells shy girl about dreamy new crush.
* Turns out dreamy 1 and dreamy 2 are actually the same boy. What’s a shy girl to do?!
* Shy girl pretends not to be crushing on dreamy while internally cringing every time outgoing girl openly crushes.
* Dreamy starts spending more time with shy girl and develops his own crush. Aargh! Panic stations!
* Outgoing girl finds out she’s not the only girl in the world and some boys will actually like someone other than her. Oh, no! The sky’s falling!
* Friend break up scene ...
* Drama, drama, drama.
* Friends make up. Aww!
* Shy girl and dreamy are free to live happily ever after - until one of them develops a new crush.

The moral of the story: If you can communicate openly and honestly you will never secure a leading role in a romance novel.

Snarky, anti-romance, I’m going to die alone surrounded by my cats sarcasm aside? This was actually quite a sweet story. Sure, I wanted to strangle shy girl and outgoing girl, and tell them to wake up to themselves and actually talk, but I accidentally enjoyed reading this one.

I loved that dreamy wasn’t a pretentious pretty boy. I liked that shy girl had an older sister who came through with some sisterly love and had a surprisingly rebellious attitude beneath her studious exterior. There’s a café in this book so major props for that. The school sounded like one I’d like to attend. I loved the birthday locker idea. The girls play soccer.

My favourite thing about this book is that the tweens actually acted their age, and even a tad younger sometimes. It bugs me when the 12 year olds are really 20 year old characters in disguise. The tweens in this book spoke and acted like kids. They didn’t sound like walking thesauruses. They got cranky and grounded. They planned sleepovers. There weren’t any drugs or tween sex or even any swearing that I can remember. It was just a really sweet book.

And did I mention the pumpkin spice muffins and pumpkin spice frappés with whipped cream, caramel swirls and sprinkles?? Yum! 😋 I definitely need to find more books with food items included in the title.

Favourite sentence: “Mom doesn’t get angry very often, but when she does, she spews like a shaken-up soda can.”

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley (thank you so much to NetGalley, Sky Pony Press and Xpresso Book Tours for the opportunity) in exchange for honest feedback.
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Seventh grade romance. Maddie ends up with a crush on the same boy as her best friend. Middle school drama rings true, and readers will be satisfied with a "happily ever after" ending.
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Maddie is having coffee with her stressed out older sister at a local coffee shop when she spills her pumpkin spice latte all over the very cute Jacob. He's got a good sense of humor about it... and amazing blue eyes. When school starts and Maddie gets together with her best friends Jana, Torielle and Katie, she's about to confess her crush when Jana announces that SHE likes Jacob. Not only that, but one of their frenemies, Fiona, is Jacob's cousin. Jacob and Lukas start eating lunch with the girls, mainly because Jacob seems to like Maddie, but she sticks to the best friend code and doesn't encourage him. Well, not a lot. They end up working on a debate project at school, and are on the con side of the issue of video surveillance while Jana and Fiona are on the pro side. Maddie's grades slip, and she almost has to miss Jana's birthday party because her parents are so angry, but she does extra credit and manages to be allowed to go. She helps Jana decorate Jacob's locker for his birthday, which makes up for the fact that Maddie spends the afternoon at the library with Jacob on his birthday. Eventually, Jana finds out, and is so embarrassed that she refuses to talk to Maddie. Can the two friends patch things up, and what will happen with Maddie and Jacob?
Strengths: This. This is middle school. These are the concerns that many middle schoolers have. Boys. Friends. Failing pop quizzes. First crushes. Meeting a boy to study. The covers on this series are amazing. Middle school girls love to read romance books, but some of my 6th graders just don't need a lot of details that YA authors include. These are similar to the Darling Crush series, but with MUCH better covers.
Weaknesses: Realistically overly dramatic, which sort of annoyed me as an adult, but is absolutely true to life. The characters are very privileged, but are at least somewhat ethnically diverse. (Maddie is part Cuban, Jana is Indian, Torielle is African-American (and the brainy one of the group), and Katie is the token blonde. But if we want books that represent all of our students, we still need some books about middle class children, right? The biggest complaint my students have is that they want books about African American characters who don't live in the inner city.
What I really think:  I would have saved up my babysitting money and purchased these in middle school!Since Follett only has them in paperback or Follett Bound, I'm using an Amazon gift card a grandparent donated and ordering these in hard back. They will see a TON of wear!
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I'll admit I requested this for the soul purpose of the title. I say "Pumpkin Spice" in the title and was like SIGN ME UP. I didn't even pay attention to the genre and I glossed over the synopsis. If I would've paid closer attention I would've thought twice about requesting it since I don't read any middle grade contemporary fiction, EVER. 

So the book follows Maddie a 12 year old who is getting ready to start 7th grade. She and her sister Elvie start off at the book at the local coffee shop where her sister who is merely 16 years old is getting ready to give her the grownup "7th grade is crucial" talk. Maddie gets a pumpkin spice frappe (this is where the title comes in) and clumsily spills her tasty drink a new but very cute stranger and all over the floor. In the midst of waiting for the coffee shop staff to clean up the mess she she and the stranger spark a conversation and she finds out he attends her junior high school and that she suddenly has this massive crush on him. She's extremely excited to get home and tell someone about her first crush mainly, her best friend(s) before the new school year begins. That however doesn't happen and so from there the story actually begins.

I'm not necessarily fond of reading about overachieving protagonist it makes for a very boring story. So I guess it's a good thing that Maddie's sister wasn't the protaganist in this novel or I'd have pulled my hair out. However I still wasn't fond of having to read about anything she said or did. 

Quite a bit of unnecessary dialogue and descriptions for a good 90% of the book and it made it a little boring. Then there was that other 10% where dialogue and scenes were glossed over mostly at the end and it felt rushed. (I'm just never happy lol) 

I did like the bit of Maddie's development and the lesson in the story.  Maddie went from being shy and letting people talk over her to sticking up for herself. I can't relate to the characters that much. Granted I haven't been a 12 year old girl for quite some time. I had to remind myself that this book wasn't written with ME (or my age range) in mind. I can see some pre-teen reading this an really enjoying this book. Maybe 10-13 year old Deniece would have loved it, honestly. However it was just a decent read.
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What book could be more perfect for you Tween to read in the Fall than one titled with the drink mascot of the season?

Girl likes guy, girl’s best friend likes the same guy, what’s a girl to do? I’m pretty sure that’s just another Tuesday for tweens and teens trying to survive those oh so fun hormonal years but Homzie at least makes an entertaining story out of it.

You know those ‘girly’ light romance books adult women like to read because they’re easy paced, light hearted, require more emotion than logic to enjoy? This is the middle school version of that. Consider it the gateway drug for that genre lol. You get something sweet and innocent to read that you don’t have to worry will corrupt your kid unless you’re anti-romance.

What’s better than first crushes and friendship while trying to navigate school amidst all this other that feels so much more important? As a mom of a daughter I had no problem with her picking this up and was glad to find out it’s part of a series so I’m guaranteed more for her to read.
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https://thebarefooteddandelion.blogspot.co.uk/2017/09/pumpkin-spice-secrets-by-hillary-homzie.html

Pumpkin Spice Secrets is a cute little contemporary novel ideal for this autumn. I've seen it described by other bloggers as Chick Lit for young teens, and I think that statement fits perfectly. It's a feel good book, that's an ideal read for those cold day at home under a blanket. It's short and sweet and I highly recommend it.
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Maddie along with Elvie her sister, go to buy drinks out and discuss her beginning seventh grade, only after she spills her drink all down a really cute guy's back, she finds herself gaining a crush on him, Jacob who later winds up in her new school class.

Then when one of her best friends Jana announces she has a crush on Jacob, Maddie feels unsure of what to do about her feelings, after all there's girl code to think of!

Yet, when Maddie ends up texting Jacob and arranging to meet up with him on his birthday behind Jana's back we can expect Jana to find out eventually somehow as they fight for their friendship over a guy the two are put to the test.

Overall it's a great book for early teen readers to pick up with cute moments and first crushes as well as dealing with friendship and school troubles with grades it's a relatable read for us all!

Many thanks to the publishers for allowing me to review this book for them!
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This is the equivalent of chick lit, but for the middle-school readers, or how I imagine chick-lit would be, since I try not to read it.

The eternal triangle, except that Maudie is trying to not be part of it.  It is actually an interesting study in how not to betray your best friend, when she has a crush on the same boy that you have one on.

Cute, well written, but that's the whole story.  And of course, the boy is perfect boy(tm), as they all seem to be, that is when they are not bad boy(tm).

So, light reading.  Usual friendship dynamics.  Nothing worth quoting.  

 

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
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