Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Review: The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

Book Info:
The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Bantam (April 14, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-0553384840
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4.5/5

Twenty-seven-year-old Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter in her North Carolina hometown is her favorite season, she's a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her hidden closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother's house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night... Until she finds it harboring none other than local waitress Della Lee Baker, a tough-talking, tenderhearted woman who is one part nemesis -- and two parts fairy godmother...

Fleeing a life of bad luck and big mistakes, Della Lee has decided Josey's clandestine closet is the safest place to crash. In return she's going to change Josey's life -- because, clearly, it is not the closet of a happy woman. With Della Lee's tough love, Josey is soon forgoing pecan rolls and caramels, tapping into her startlingly keen feminine instincts, and finding her narrow existence quickly expanding.

Before long, Josey bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who makes the best sandwiches in town, is hounded by books that inexplicably appear whenever she needs them, and -- most amazing of all -- has a close connection to Josey's longtime crush.

As little by little Josey dares to step outside herself, she discovers a world where the color red has astonishing power, passion can make eggs fry in their cartons, and romance can blossom at any time -- even for her. It seems that Della Lee's work is done, and it's time for her to move on. But the truth about where she's going, why she showed up in the first place -- and what Chloe has to do with it all -- is about to add one more unexpected chapter to Josey's fast-changing life. Brimming with warmth, wit, and a sprinkling of magic, here is a spellbinding tale of friendship, love and the enchanting possibilities of every new day.

First, I must apologize for the super long book description. I usually try to shorten these a bit, but I didn't really know what to leave out on this one, so it all stayed.

I read Sarah Addison Allen's first book, Garden Spells last year, and while I enjoyed it, I didn't love it. Friends at PaperbackSwap had raved about it so much that I expected something more. It was good, but I didn't fall in love with it.

The Sugar Queen was another story. I hadn't heard much about the book, but knew it would include a little bit of magic. Since I went in with no expectations I found myself completely wrapped up in the story.

The characters were all believable, quirky and people I could easily see myself being friends with. They were all a little bit flawed and this made them all the more likeable. I really enjoyed how all the story lines came together and were intertwined.

I also loved the little bit of magic throughout the entire story. I'm not usually one for unbelievable things happening in books, but this time around it had me charmed. Just as the tree was one of my favorite parts of Garden Spells, I loved the books in The Sugar Queen. The Sugar Queen is a wonderful story, and I will definitely be on the lookout for Allen's next book! 4.5 stars


Anna said...

I've heard good things about this one. I'll have to keep it in mind. Thanks for the review.

Diary of an Eccentric

Sandy Nawrot said...

A little magic is good for a girl's soul now and again! Like you, if I am in the right mood, unbelievable things can tick me off and make me impatient. But in the right mood, it can sweep me off my feet. I'll keep my eyes open for this one!

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

I also enjoyed Garden Spells and The Sugar Queen; great review Melissa.

Zibilee said...

I really enjoy magical realism at times, so this book sounds great! Have you read The Cornflake House? It has some similar magical realism in it, if you are looking for that sort of thing. Great post, by the way.

Passages to the Past said...

This just moved up a few notches in the TBR pile! What a fantastic review! I've only read good things about this author.