The Cupcake Queen

( 242 )

Overview

When Penny moves to Hog's Hollow from New York City, her life changes drastically. Penny's mom now runs a cupcake bakery, and Penny is stuck helping out. But that isn't the worst of it. Not only did she leave her friends back home, but her dad stayed behind too. And then there's Charity, resident mean girl who's out to get Penny. With all this, Penny still finds some things to like: Tally and Blake...and Marcus - the cute, quiet boy who runs on the beach every night. But just when Penny begins to accept her new ...

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The Cupcake Queen

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Overview

When Penny moves to Hog's Hollow from New York City, her life changes drastically. Penny's mom now runs a cupcake bakery, and Penny is stuck helping out. But that isn't the worst of it. Not only did she leave her friends back home, but her dad stayed behind too. And then there's Charity, resident mean girl who's out to get Penny. With all this, Penny still finds some things to like: Tally and Blake...and Marcus - the cute, quiet boy who runs on the beach every night. But just when Penny begins to accept her new life, she's forced to make a choice that will change everything.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Allison Fetters
Being the new girl in town is never easy, especially when one has just moved from the excitement of New York City to the sleepy town of Hogs Hollow. Penny Lane, the fourteen-year-old protagonist, is quickly swept into small town life even though it is at first against her wishes. While trying to piece together what she has heard about the mysterious Marcus and keeping herself out of the path of Charity Wharton, Penny develops a friendship with Tally, a quirky girl with her own heartache and growing pains. While experiencing the effects of not communicating with others and watching her parents' relationship come to its end, Penny is forced to make some very mature decisions. In the process, she must look at herself and follow her heart. The story is heartwarming and is as comforting as the confections produced by The Cupcake Queen bakery. Reviewer: Allison Fetters
Publishers Weekly
What begins as a formulaic novel about Penny, a 13-year-old girl who’s uprooted from Manhattan to the podunk town of Hog’s Hollow (population 5,134) after her parents’ separation, quietly evolves into an endearing and poignant story about standing up to adversity and finding peace in what is, rather than holding out for what could be. Penny’s friendship with Tally, an outspoken free spirit and proud founder of the cheeky RPS Society (as in rock, paper, scissors), boosts Penny’s confidence (she’s being picked on by the popular clique at school) and teaches her that getting used to new surroundings takes effort—as well as a propped-up sense of humor. Penny’s burgeoning bond with Marcus, a cute boy with a troubled past and a shared propensity for working through problems while stargazing during moonlit walks on the beach, lends a touch of romance while remaining refreshingly true to age—Hepler (coauthor of Jars of Glass, among others) favors linked pinky fingers over sloppy kisses. And the trio’s various relationships with fill-in adults (Penny’s grandmother, Tally’s aunt) as confidantes is a welcome ingredient that makes for layered teen reading. Ages 12–up. (Sept.)
Kirkus Reviews
Jaded Manhattan eighth grader Penny is bemused when she is whisked away from her dad to spend the summer in her mom's tiny hometown. Things go from bad to worse when Mom decides to stay in Hog's Hollow, open a cupcake bakery and enroll Penny at the local high school. Penny's sardonic first-person narration is sophisticated, but at heart she is still just a 13-year-old casualty of her parents' unraveling marriage and their inability to communicate with each other or with her. When she finds herself targeted for elaborate pranks by the local queen bee, she must dig deep to survive her freshman year. Much is familiar here: The characters are drawn with broad strokes-mysterious love interest, quirky best friend, evil nemesis-and the plot device by which the popular crowd is tricked into gaining weight will ring bells with readers who have seen Mean Girls. But Hepler's novel is greater than the sum of its parts, held together by Penny's genuine voice and emotions. Readers will root for Penny, a talented artist, as she develops her gifts and adapts to small-town life. (Fiction. 11-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780525421573
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/17/2009
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,028,309
  • Age range: 11 - 15 Years
  • Lexile: 710L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Heather Hepler grew up in North Texas. She has lived in Reno, on the coast of Maine, in the interior of Alaska, and near Death Valley, but she currently is being held against her will in Tyler, Texas. She holds a Master's in Library Science from the University of North Texas and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Southern Maine. She works as a reviewer for VOYA, Kirkus Reviews, Publisher’s Weekly, Library Media Connection, and The New York Times. Her first novel, Scrambled Eggs at Midnight (Dutton) is set for release in May 2006. The second, The Dream Factory (Dutton) will be released Spring 2007. Her writing has also appeared in the Southwest Review and the Cincinnati Review.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 242 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(176)

4 Star

(40)

3 Star

(15)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 243 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com

    Penny Lane is definitely a fish out of water. She has moved to Hog's Hollow with her mother. Hog's Hollow is her mother's hometown, and they've temporarily moved in with Penny's grandmother. At least that's what her mom has told her. Penny would much rather return to New York and live with her father.

    Penny's not looking forward to starting school in her new town. Before school starts, a disaster occurs at a birthday party. Her mom has opened a cupcake business in town and the father of the birthday girl caused the food table to tumble. But no one blames Mr. Wharton. All eyes are on Penny and her mom.

    When Penny arrives at her new school, of course Charity, the birthday girl, is the queen of all and makes life miserable. It starts with a play on her name when she opens her locker and hundreds of pennies come tumbling out. The only bright spot in the fiasco is that she is befriended by independent Tally. But the pennies are only the first of many attempts to torture Penny.

    Penny constantly wants to return to New York. Her mom isn't communicating with her, and conversations with her father are limited. Her grandma tries to get her to talk to her mom. And Penny is stuck working at the cupcake bakery. Penny is creative though, and designs amazing artwork on each of the cupcakes.

    Through it all, Penny encounters a boy and his dog on the beach. Slowly, she learns about Marcus and the secrets that he's keeping. It turns out that everyone seems to have secrets deep inside. As Penny's wish to return to New York becomes reality, she comes to the realization that there's more to Hog's Hollow than she realized. Does she want to return to New York or finally make Hog's Hollow home?

    Reading THE CUPCAKE QUEEN made me think of Jenny B. Jones' SO NOT HAPPENING novel. Both have the main character, a city girl, stuck in the middle of a small town. Penny is torn between her old life and the life that is being forced upon her. It takes other interesting students to make her realize what she has even in light of the hassles received from Charity and her gang.

    I enjoyed reading THE CUPCAKE QUEEN quite a bit and sat down and finished it in one evening. It's one of those stories that you don't want to see end. I'd love to see more of Penny and her friends!!

    19 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2012

    GREAT

    Good i really like how creative it was

    10 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Delicious confection of a novel!

    Just like the sumptuous looking cupcakes on its cover, The Cupcake Queen is a deliciously satisfying novel to dig into. The teenage issues are familiar (such as divorce, grief and bullying), but Heather Hepler serves them up with a unique storyline that holds your interest and has all the ingredients of a fun, enjoyable read.

    Having a major sweet tooth, I have to mention the cupcakes first. They were one of my favorite aspects of the story and I loved how they often mirrored what was going on in Penny's life. The ladybug cupcakes with the licorice antennae, the triple chocolate mudslides (which looked like real mudslides), the "horns of plenty" with the teeny fruits and the ice cream cone cupcakes were just a few of my favorites. The only drawback was that I couldn't see them and more importantly, sample any!

    The town of Hog's Hollow itself and the cast of characters within it were extremely well drawn and interesting. The adults with food names (Mr. Fish, Miss Beans, and Madame Framboise) were especially humorous and added to the quirkiness of small town living. Penny's unorthodox best friends Tally and Blake were extremely likable characters to me. I have to mention that before reading this book I never knew that Rock, Paper, Scissors is something taken very seriously in certain circles. Did you know that people even compete in professional tournaments for it too? Penny's parents, on the other hand, had me consistently frustrated with the way they shut her out from what was really going on. At one point Penny says, "I'd like someone to just talk to me. I want to shout that at the back of mother's head: Just talk to me! But I don't, because maybe if no one says anything out loud, it can still change. " It was moments like this I could really feel Penny's frustration and sadness as my own.

    Upon first moving to Hog's Hollow, Penny felt like no one understood what she was going through. The longer she stayed there, the more she came to realize that a lot of people did actually care about her and could empathize with her problems. I found it satisfying to watch the small town charm of Hog's Hollow work it's magic and help her to become a happier person.
    The underlying message of The Cupcake Queen is that life is always going to throw out unexpected (and often unwelcome) surprises. But sometimes, when you give things a chance, it can all work out much sweeter than you ever expected. You just need to trust in yourself and follow your heart.

    8 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2012

    The cupcake queen

    I love this book so much ive done it for about 3 book reports

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 12, 2010

    a good book

    it was a good book escipally for people with problems with family and shows how thankful you should be!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGRRRRRRRRRRRRRRREEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTTT

    this is a great book that just made me laugh i just couldn't get enough i just sat there and read it's romantic and yummy at the same time

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    Cupcake Queen!

    This book is so good!!! My teacher gave it to me and i thought it was going to be sooooooooo boring! When i got into it my mind was blowed away! I love Penny! Anyone can read this book! My friend, Kai and Hope say they think it would be a great book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:)

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Cheesy and has no plot

    This book is the worst most awful book I have ever read. Thumbs down x 10. The book was really cheesy and had absolutely no plot. I couldn't even finsish it. I had no idea what the main character (Penny) was talking about. Whenever I went to read a part, I was like, "What is she rambling on about now?" Honestly this book is horrible. Really, the author could've done better. I think the author was just a lady who felt like writing a cheesy book with cupcakes in it. I could not finish this book and I forced myself to read it, but at page 93 i stopped because I really didn't know what the main plot was. Do me a favor and don't read this book.

    3 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2012

    Amazing

    This is an amazing book. If you like romance, drama, and humor, you definatly should read this book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2012

    13reads2

    This book was great! I couldnt put it down. It was long enough, but I finished it before getting bored of the story. Basically its about a girl who moves to hogs hollow with her mom, and they open a bakery. She meets Tally, and also Celeste, whos mean. Tally enters a contest and helps her get back at Celeste, the bully. Its totally appropriate for any age that likes this type of book. It makes me hungry!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Best book ever!!!!!

    I bought this book when i didnt have a nook so i boght it in paper back and i loved it!! Im reading a nother book by her and i love that one too!!!!!!!!!!!

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2013

    The cupcake queen

    I love this book im allmost done m on page 108 it is sooooooooooooooooooo ggood all my friends are begging for the book

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2012

    Mya B.

    Why! Why books! WHY must you end in the middle of the sentance in the middle of a sentence of the sample!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2012

    Amazing

    Penny Lane is not fitting in. She already has an enemy and she hasnt even stated school yet! She and her mom have gone to live with grandma to "take a break" from penny's dad. Not divorced yet, but if not then what are they? Penny finds refuge in a quirky girl with her hair tips died blue and cat-glasses. Tally. Tally is pennys first friend in Hogs Hollow. Together they plan on getting revenge on Charity, a bully, who, so penny thought, had no reason to be mean. With the help of Blake, Tallys friend, Tally herself, and maybe this one guy who penny cant seem to stop thinking of who runs on the beach at night with his dog Sam, Penny is truly thr cupcake qieen. Great book, by the way. I got it at my school bookfair and couldnt put it down!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2012

    Amazing

    Sooo good, it kept you tuned in. I finished the book in two days. Thete was so much drama. It proves that love is powerful.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 2, 2012

    I freakin love this book!!

    Im glad charity won the contest because shes a nasty pig herself! Da haa!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 14, 2011

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED READ THIS BOOK SO GREAT

    This book is about a girl named Penny and her parents getting a divorce.She made a new friendbut the "popular" girls didnt like her because of the cupcake accedient that had happened.I DONT WANT TO SPOIL IT FOR YOU SRRY.My favorite character was penny because she just went along and didnt care about what people said about her so she is like a role model.I liked this book because at first i didnt like it but then it got really good and you can laugh about some things that they say.You should read this because its funny and people who dont care about what "mean" or "popular" people say they should read OR whoever is interested in cupcake decorating.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 24, 2011

    Not for.....

    This book was good when i was in middle school but even then i was reading books way way more advanced then this but i enjoyed it it was a break from classic books just fun and light and took not even two hours to finish

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 18, 2011

    pretty good

    not the best book ever but good enough 2 finish. i thought the beginning was 2 boring though.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    The Cupcake Queen

    The Cupcake Queen was one of my favorite books that was by Heather Hepler!! The story was great and I loved the characters.... especially the main characters Penny. She's moved to Hogs Hollow with not much that she likes 'till she finds her new friends Tally and Blake... but of course Marcus!! But I didn't like how the story ended, I wished there was more to it..... but it was still one of the best books that I read.... over and over again.....

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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