“A delectable mixture of ice cream and romance.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“For fans of Jenny Han.” —School Library Journal
“A rare, enjoyable portrait of a woman-run business.” —Kirkus Reviews
From the author of The Last Boy and Girl in the World and The List comes a bold and sweet 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 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…
Vivian (The Last Boy and Girl in the World) serves a delectable mixture of ice cream and romance in this story about a small-town girl whose life revolves around her summer job at an ice-cream stand. After working for four years at Meade Creamery, Amelia is excited and nervous when the elderly owner, Molly Meade, promotes her to "head girl." But on Amelia's first day as manager, Molly dies, leaving the business to her grandnephew Grady, a college student with big changes in mind. As Amelia finds herself falling for Grady, she tries to uphold Meade Creamery traditions without alienating him. Meanwhile, the rest of the employees seem more interested in shirking their duties than saving the shop. Inserting passages from Molly Meade's diary into her book, Vivian deftly parallels the woman's WWII romance and trials as a young entrepreneur with Amelia's story, adding an extra layer of intrigue and suspense. While evoking the warmth of rural life and employee comradeship, Vivian writes an empowering novel for young women with big dreams. Ages 14 up.
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All the summer feels!
Stay Sweet is a book all about teens and ice cream that belies it’s true feminist nature. Siobhan Vivian has put together a fantastic read that is just fluffy enough, just feminist enough, just romantic enough, and just nostalgic enough to make you feel all the summer feels.
Stay Sweet centres on 17 year old Amelia Van Hagen, who’s been working at the local ice cream stand, Meade Creamery, for the last four summers. The stand is run entirely by girls, and steeped in girl-power traditions. Working at Meade Creamery means you work hard, but you make girl friends who will help you out, in good times and bad, whether you need advice on a new lipstick, a romance, or you’re going through a hard time.
Amelia sees these summers as formative. This is her last summer as a Meade Creamery girl, and it’s bittersweet to be saying goodbye to not just her favorite job, but also her town, and her best friend Cate as they move on to separate universities.
Things change rapidly when Meade Creamery’s owner and founder, Molly Meade, passes away and leaves the ice cream stand to her great-nephew. Grady Meade is a business major, and he decides to try his hand at keeping the stand alive.
The problem? No one has the recipes for Molly Meade’s famous ice cream. Oh and also, Amelia’s original, coveted job as Head Girl (aka the manager) is threatened by Grady’s presence. Grady is trying a lot of new things to make changes to the stand that threaten it’s place as a Sand Lake institution.
HOW MUCH DO I LOVE THIS BOOK? LET ME COUNT THE WAYS:
The focus on a female friendships. Without a doubt, this is my favorite part of the book. Amelia and Cate are the oldest girls at Meade Creamery, so they’re known as seniors. They were both in line for the Head Girl job, so there’s tension there. Responsible Amelia has always felt a little inferior to Cate, so even she questions why Cate – the more fun, flirtatious, and popular girl didn’t get it the job. This tension made for a really authentic friendship story.
Ice cream. If you love anything about ice cream, you’ll love reading this story. From homemade waffle cones to the science of ice cream formation to perfect scooping, this book is a dream for an ice cream lover.
50s teenagerdom. Stay Sweet cycles between Amelia’s story and Molly Meade’s story, which Amelia accesses through her diary. It’s cute to see how it all comes together. Author Siobhan Vivian actually bought vintage Seventeen magazines to get the voice of Molly just right.
Realistic romance. I don’t think it’s a spoiler to say that a romance brews between Grady and Amelia. I love how it’s slow and a secondary plot. It’s swoony enough that you want them to have that happy ending but realistic in that they’re both teenagers at the cusp of something new.
Entrepreneurship. Between Molly Meade starting her own ice cream stand to Grady trying to take over, there’s a lot about running a business in this book. But it’s not boring, I promise! Stay Sweet gives you a really good sense of how much work and passion needs to go into doing something you love.
It’s unpredictable. Full disclosure: I went into this book thinking it would be a cute, flirty summer romance. And it IS. But it’s also WAY more than that – it’s empowering and feminist and about taking control of your life and making it work for you. And doesn’t everyone want that in their summer romance, too?
THE FINAL WORD:
Look, I know a YA book about girls who work coveted jobs at an ice cream stand already SCREAMS Tiff. So I guess it’s no surprise that STAY SWEET by Siobhan Vivian is definitely going to be on my best-of list for 2018. Perfect for any contemporary reader who loves summer romances, but especially ones who appreciate that a simple scoop of vanilla ice cream can have hidden depths. Stay Sweet reels you in with it’s ice cream and cuteness, then draws you deeper with the complexity of it’s true flavour: feminism. And it does it all in a way that leaves you wanting another whole scoop (or carton!) of Meade Creamery after you’re finished. (Sequel, please?)