Review: The Sugar Queen

Pay it Sideways Challenge(I read this book as part of the Pay it Sideways Challenge. Join in anytime, we’d love to have you!)

Like many young women in small southern towns, Josey Cirrini’s life is structured, planned, and and outwardly perfect. And like many young women, Josey has secrets. It’s little things, like the love of a red sweater her mother hates, the candy stashed in her room, and the neighborhood mailman.

But things get complicated when Della Lee Baker, a waitress from Eat and Run, appears in Josey’s closet, spouting nonsense about taking risks and eating Josey’s candy stash.

Across town, Chloe Finley is in the process of throwing her cheating boyfriend out of the house. She’s mad at Jake for cheating on her, but she’s also mad at herself for never having her own life. Books with titles like Finding Forgiveness and Old Love, New Direction follow her like lost children, making moving on more difficult.

Can Josey—with Della Lee as her strange Fairy Godmother—overcome her shyness and fear of being her own person? And can Chloe forgive Jake?

A total surprise

Books like this and The Princess Curse make me incredibly glad for things like the Pay it Sideways Challenge. I love being surprised and delighted by books, and it’s been a banner week for that.

I was a bit nervous about picking up The Sugar Queen because the review I read said I would enjoy it if I’m into “slightly romantic fluffy reads.” Typically I’m not into fluff; but I was glad to discover that this novel was a little bit darker than I thought it would be, and that the fluff was a nice balance to that seriousness.

Both Josey and Chloe are characters with whom I easily identified. Josey because she’s constantly afraid (of disappointing her mother, of risking her heart, etc.), and Chloe because she doesn’t feel she’s taken the time to know herself before jumping into a relationship.

I also came to love the magical elements of the story: Chloe hasn’t bought a book since she was 12 because relevant ones always appear when she needs them; Rawley Pelham, who cannot break a promise once he makes it.

The Sugar Queen is a little bit magical, a little bit romantic, a little bit dark, and all kinds of wonderful.

About the recommender

No Page Left Behind is home to Kat, who writes about “all genres of fiction with a few memoirs, non-fiction, and life nuggets thrown in.” So far in 2012 she’s read some YA, some romance, fantasy, and more. I enjoy her writing style and penchant for using humongous images of book covers. It’s nice to see all the details.

Like me, Kat loved The Sugar Queen for its magical undertones and fairy tale feeling. Check out her review here.

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8 Responses

  1. Jennifer O. May 13, 2012 / 10:56 pm

    This does sound like a great fairy tale-ish read. I didn’t pick up a book for a couple months, and now it seems like the ones that are landing into my hands are ones with characters with whom I so identify. I don’t know if the universe is sending me a message. LOL.

    Great review, I’m putting this on my TBR.

    • amypeveto May 14, 2012 / 9:09 pm

      Aren’t book fantastic like that? I can clearly remember several occasions when I “accidentally” ended up reading a book that was perfect for me at that exact moment. Gotta love it. :)

      I think you’ll like The Sugar Queen. Hope you get to it soon!

  2. Jenny May 14, 2012 / 4:18 pm

    I’m glad you stepped out of your comfort zone for this one. I liked it a lot. I like most of Addison’s book…the ones I’ve read anyway.

    • amypeveto May 14, 2012 / 9:11 pm

      I’d never read any of Addison’s novels, and am not sure I’d ever heard of her before now. Although frankly I don’t pay much attention to authors themselves; the only reason I remember them is if I like what they’ve written and want to find more of their stuff.

      I’m glad I stepped out too — I enjoyed The Sugar Queen much more than I thought I would.

  3. Kat (No Page Left Behind) May 16, 2012 / 8:20 am

    OMG I’m so excited that you read and liked this book!!! The Sugar Queen is my favorite Sarah Addison Allen book (although all of hers are wonderfully magical, character-driven gems)!

    This Pay It Sideways Challenge sounds amazing – I think I might have to join up :)

    • amypeveto May 16, 2012 / 7:18 pm

      Thanks for “recommending” it to me, Kat! :) I was hesitant at first, but ended up really, really enjoying the book. It was like candy (teehee) for my brain, and I loved it!

      Yes, I’d love for you to join the Pay it Sideways Challenge. I’m not certain how many people are participating, but I’m enjoying stretching my reading wings a little.

  4. Annalisa May 17, 2012 / 4:52 am

    This is also on my Pay it Sideways Challenge list. I’m glad you like it because I’ve been a bit unsure about it myself! Still don’t have a copy, looks like I’ll have to hurry up and hunt one down!

    • amypeveto May 18, 2012 / 11:54 pm

      It’s definitely worth a read. It started out a little on the fluffy side, but there’s plenty of “meat” later in the story to make the reading worthwhile and still enjoyable. Hope you get a copy soon!

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