A summer read about first love, feminism, and ice cream.
Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been owned and managed exclusively by local girls, who inevitably become the best of friends. Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that the stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business…but Grady’s got some changes in mind…
I have been on a slew of shit reads lately. Yeah, I know a harsh way to start the review, but I’ll just say it now, Stay Sweet isn’t bad. It’s a little bland and other than the twist towards the end of the novel there’s nothing that really stuck out to me, but it didn’t turn me into a rage inducing Book Hulk like some of my other recent reads being said.
That being said, this book is a little forgettable. I started writing my review about thirty minutes after I finished the book, only because I know it’s going to go from my memory fast.
What I liked about the book: it was very summery. I like light hearted books in the summer time, and while there were a few darker moments in this book it was for the most part pretty light. I mean, there’s only so many ways you can make ice cream dark.
I also found the characters to be relatively unoffensive for the most part, although bland. Though I do have to say, the book overall underwhelmed me.
The blurb says that feminism is going to be a strong theme throughout the novel. Honestly, other than one character’s decision I didn’t really see any shades of feminism throughout the book. I looked. So, to quiet the disappointment I am inserting a gif that defines feminism.
I thought that this book could’ve been a strong story about female friendship, however the friendship ended up being a bad friendship and took a backseat to the kind of weird romance.
I did not like the ship in this book. For one thing, there was a weird power dynamic that gave me the icks. And for another, I really did not like Grady he seemed like a weak character who didn’t have a spine. And I don’t do spineless and neither should Amelia. But Amelia was sort of spineless too…so.
God, Amelia. She is the main character in the book. Though, the novel is not told in her point of view. It’s in this weird stilted third person POV. I don’t know if that’s Vivian’s typical style-this is the first book I read by her-but it just made the book seem off to me. This is just a preference thing, but it just didn’t work. It probably didn’t help that the lead was also extremely weak and pretty much devoid of any personality, other than she wants to work at the ice cream parlor for the summer.
The ice cream was the most interesting part to me. I actually bought a fairly decent ice cream machine this year, so I’ve been trying out different recipes and was interested in reading this. However, I was just shaking my head at how ridiculous hard it was for these characters to make some decent ice cream. Seriously, couldn’t they just invest in a copy of The Perfect Scoop already and call it a day?
Digression aside, I think Vivian did over complicate the process. Probably on purpose to give the plot some extra fodder, but still. A basic Philadelphia style vanilla isn’t that complex. You’re not even making a custard, but I digress (again).
A lot of things were either over complicated or essentially all realities were suspended in order to add to the plot. It annoyed me. I also hated how a GoFundMe was essentially used to resolve all of the MC’s problems (including the rift with her friend) at the end of the book. Did I mention I fucking hate GoFundMes. Now occasionally, there will be a worth while cause up there, but its not an adequate way to raise money for a business. And there is a lot of pandering that goes on on that website as well.
At the end of the day, I found Stay Sweet to be fairly inoffensive. I just don’t think it’s one of those books that’s going to stick with me a week or so from writing this. It wasn’t bad though. If you like quick little summer time reads, you might want to give it a try, but it is far from perfect.
Overall Rating: C+