Saturday, August 18, 2012

Review: The Wedding Cake Girl by Anne Pfeffer

Book Cover and Synopsis:
Seventeen year old Alexandra spends so much time helping others realize their dreams that she never has time for her own. An expert ocean diver and reluctant maker of wedding cakes, she longs to leave roses and frosting behind to study oceanography. Alex’s mother won’t have it—needy and dependent, Mom can’t run the family wedding cake business on her own.

No matter what Alex does, things only get worse for her. When she risks her life to save a tourist while scuba diving and becomes the local hero, Mom's angry with Alex for going diving at all. Mom also discourages Alex's new friendship with the insanely wealthy Jeremy, a fun boy with a secret. Then, Alex's best friend, Zack, a hunky island guy, starts to take an interest in her as well. The problem is, he's dating another girl.

As Alex struggles to learn where she stands between her two difficult and confusing Prince Charmings, it occurs to her that maybe what she really needs is a Prince Charming for Mom. If she doesn't do something, she will make cakes all her life and die in her "Sue's Wedding Cakery" apron with a spatula in her hand.

Featuring a colorful island setting, dangerous underwater diving adventures, a family of billionaires, and lots and lots of buttercream, this is Alex's journey toward not only finding love, but learning how to step forward and take control of her own life, a rite of passage that faces all young readers.

My Thoughts:
This book starts out as a light and fun story with a unique island setting, and the characters are immediately likeable and easy to sympathize with. Alex's diving hobby is a fun diversion; the underwater scenes are written so vividly that it's easy to imagine yourself in the situations. Of course there are a couple slightly unrealistic (but fun!) plot points, but overall I initially found the story to be quite enjoyable and a nice change of pace. I was all set to give a rating of 4 or 5 stars, until....

Unfortunately, about two-thirds of the way through the tone of the story changes, with sex becoming a larger issue than what I care to read about. During make-out sessions Alex's boyfriend lightly pressures her, and while she resists, she does consider giving in. Closer to the end, one of the main characters admits to being gay, which was unexpected and in my opinion seemed forced... it was as if the story was mostly written and then someone had a last minute idea to throw this in for controversy. These were both very disappointing happenings in a book that I originally thought would be a fun, mostly innocent "trip" to an island...

Honestly, in the beginning I really did enjoy the story; the diving scenes were exciting and fun, and the wedding cake business was interesting as well. However, when the tone changed and the above mentioned topics became front and center, my interest waned and I just wanted to be done so I could move on to other things. I wish the story had played out differently, because it had potential and was on a good fun streak until things suddenly got muddied by what I consider unnecessary themes.

For those wanting more info on possible content concerns:
Obviously there are the issues mentioned above, but of top of that, God's name is misused a dozen or so times, and minor profanities such as h*ll, *ss, etc, are each used a few times. A couple innuendos are present, and one time Alex visits a friend's house and discovers he has a girl in his room; nothing graphic is really seen, it's more just implied and then later referenced a couple times.

My Rating: 3 stars

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm... this does sound like it could have had a lot of potential. So sad when books turn bad.

    Thanks, Valerie for the review!