Review: Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

Stay Sweet book coverI heard about this book and put it at the top of my list since it was about a girl working in an ice cream stand, similar to one of my characters. I didn’t quite pick up the authenticity tidbits I’d hoped for (the situations were different), but I got to experience a good story.

Amelia is going to be head girl at the Meade Creamery ice cream stand for its summer season in their vacation town before she heads off to college. The Meade Creamery has always only hired girls, ever since its founder Molly Meade opened it after World War II. Amelia and her best friend, Cate, have put their time in, starting as freshman and working there through their senior year. But just before the stand is scheduled to open, Amelia makes a shocking discovery that results in a boy—Grady Meade—taking over the stand. Molly’s hands-off management style no longer applies.

Amelia takes her head girl duties seriously which eventually causes friction with the more free-spirited Cate. But even more significant is the fact that Amelia has to work with Grady to learn to make the four ice cream flavors the stand offers. In the process, she discovers Molly’s diary, which she reads as the summer progresses. Consequently, we get two different storylines—Amelia’s and Molly’s. Molly’s comes with a surprise at the end, and Amelia’s friendship with Cate is tested as her relationship with Grady develops unexpectedly.

I’ll be honest—this is a fairly quiet story, but it surprises you at the end with a feminist twist. And the ice cream theme is fun and gives it a summer feel. I liked the story and the quest for the recipe that Amelia and Grady go on. Grady is a good character even though I found him kind of off-putting at times, but he grows and you learn more about why he’s the way he is. Cate is also a well-developed character. And of course Amelia is complex and interesting.

Pick this up for next summer, or for a reminder in the middle of winter. You will want to go get ice cream, though.