Thursday, July 5, 2018

BOOK REVIEW | Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

Title: Stay Sweet
Author: Siobhan Vivian
Series? No, Stay Sweet is a standalone
Pages: 368
Publication Date: April 24, 2018
Publisher: Simon Schuster Books for Young Readers
Source: I listened to the audiobook of Stay Sweet from my local library via Libby.
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…

Stay Sweet is Siobhan Vivian's newest release, and follows Amelia's summer as "Head Girl" at an ice cream stand over the summer. It's been a while since I've read anything by Siobhan Vivian. I enjoyed The List, but didn't love it, and loved the first two books in the Burn for Burn trilogy, which she co-authored with Jenny Han. (The third book, however, is dead to me.) After seeing reviews of Stay Sweet, I decided to give it a go, and I'm pleased that I did! While not perfect, Stay Sweet is my favorite book of Vivian's to date. 

The shining star of Stay Sweet is the friendships. Amelia and her best friend, Cate, work at an all-girls ice cream shop, Meade Creamery. The camaraderie among the girls was done very well, and reminded me of how I interact with all of my friends. Amelia and Cate's friendship isn't picture-perfect, and I liked that everything isn't smooth sailing. Another thing that I really liked about Stay Sweet was the setting. Meade Creamery and the small town Amelia lived in seemed so real. Because of how authentic the friendships and setting were, I was able to imagine and transport myself into the story.

From the reviews I have read, many people thought the romance was unnecessary. While I would agree that the romance isn't paramount to the story, I thought it was nice to have the subplot. I wish that there was more buildup to Amelia and Brady's relationship, though. There were supposed to be moments between them, but I didn't think they had that electric chemistry. When the did eventually get together though, I thought their relationship was very sweet.

Throughout reading Stay Sweet, the book was around a 3.5 Star read for me. The ending, however, bumped up my rating. I love how everything resolved, and the choices Amelia makes. Amelia grows as a character and finds her voice, and I loved it. I can't be that specific, for obvious reasons, but Stay Sweet's ending was lovely. While everyone is resolved, the ending doesn't feel too perfect either, adding another dose of realism to the plot. 

My main problem with Stay Sweet was the lack of depth for some of the characters. While Amelia is a wonderfully rounded out characters, the others aren't as much. Cate, for instance, was very much a two-note character for the majority of the book. One one hand, Cate could be kind and supportive. But most of the time, she was bossy, rude, and manipulative.  There is a pretty big fight (and reunion) in the book, but it didn't pack as much of an emotional punch as I was expecting. If Cate's character was fleshed out more, those scenes would have been stronger. There are also other girls who work the stand that didn't add much to the story. They were there to show how great Meade Creamery was and how it brought people together, but none of them had that much personality. There were even new workers at Meade Creamery that were never named, making them feel inconsequential.

Stay Sweet isn't the best contemporary romance I have read, but it was a wonderful summer read. With many of the contemporaries I read, there is a disconnect. The setting doesn't feel tangible, or the friendships aren't nuanced, etc., etc. The list goes on. With Stay Sweet though, I was completely on board. I would have enjoyed Stay Sweet even more if secondary characters were more complex, but I still recommend it - especially for the summer months! 

With that, I give Stay Sweet
4 out of 5 Ice Cream Cones!


  1. It sounds like this is a very fluffy summer read! I have to admit, while I love the idea of fluff, a lot of the time I just can't get past the lack of depth in characters. Still, any book with solid friendships is one that I have to at least try. I feel like friendships are so underrated in the YA community but they're one of my favorite things to see in books! Lovely review, Genni!

    Laura @BlueEyeBooks

    1. I would say this is quasi-fluffy! Amelia actually goes through a lot (disillusionment, finding her purpose) throughout the book, and it made the plot much more meaningful. Friendships are also one of my favorite things in YA books. I always hate when the protagonist is "too cool" or "misunderstood" to have friends.

      Thanks Laura!

  2. I got a copy of this book and I was thinking about reading it! I'm not a huge YA contemporary fan though when I do read YA contemporary, I like it as fluffy anf as swoony as possible. :D I'm glad you liked this one despite issues with character depth. Hopefully you enjoy more of this author's books!

    Have a wonderful day, Genni. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    1. Stay Sweet does have it's fluff, but I don't think it's that swoony, honeslty. The romance is cute, but it never made me yearn, if that makes sense.

      Thanks Alyssa! You as well. :D

  3. I loved this book! And I agree, it's the best Vivian book to date. I adored Molly's story, and when we found out the whole truth, I was floored, but admired her even more. She left behind a wonderful legacy, and it was fantastic the way it inspired Amelia. And I love romance, and will always love romance in a book. I thought Amelia and Grady were really sweet together.

    1. Out of the Siobhan Vivian books I have read, this is by far my favorite! Like you, I admired Molly so much! She was such a mystery, and I loved going back to her journals and learning more about her. I love romance in my books as well, and though I didn't absolutely love their relationship, I thought it was very sweet. :)

      Thanks for stopping by Sam!