How to Eat a Cupcake: A Novel

( 111 )

Overview

Free-spirited Annie Quintana and sophisticated Julia St. Clair come from two different worlds. Yet, as the daughter of the St. Clairs' housekeeper, Annie grew up in Julia's San Francisco mansion and they forged a bond that only two little girls oblivious to class differences could—until a life-altering betrayal destroyed their friendship.

A decade later, Annie bakes to fill the void left in her heart by her mother's death, and a painful secret jeopardizes Julia's engagement to ...

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How to Eat a Cupcake: A Novel

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Overview

Free-spirited Annie Quintana and sophisticated Julia St. Clair come from two different worlds. Yet, as the daughter of the St. Clairs' housekeeper, Annie grew up in Julia's San Francisco mansion and they forged a bond that only two little girls oblivious to class differences could—until a life-altering betrayal destroyed their friendship.

A decade later, Annie bakes to fill the void left in her heart by her mother's death, and a painful secret jeopardizes Julia's engagement to the man she loves. A chance reunion prompts the unlikely duo to open a cupcakery, but when a mysterious saboteur opens up old wounds, they must finally face the truth about their past or risk losing everything.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Donohue’s sweet debut is a clever exploration of how a West Coast mean girl grows up and gives in to friendship, love, and dozens of delicious cupcakes. Julia St. Clair, a spoiled and pampered Pacific Heights princess, returns home to marry and comes face-to-face with childhood playmate Annie Quintana, daughter of the St. Clair family’s Ecuadoran cook and now a rising pastry chef. In high school, Julia cruelly betrayed Annie just before Annie’s mother died under mysterious circumstances. After Annie caters a charity event at the mansion where she grew up, the two 28-year-olds reconnect, and Annie accepts Julia’s offer to go into business with a cupcake shop. Julia’s handsome ex-beau Jake muscles his way between the old friends as they tentatively try to forgive, forget, and get rich—if a sinister stalker doesn’t destroy their successful cupcakery first. While the revenge-fueled thriller plays out, Julia finally reveals a dark secret to Annie and begins to embrace the love of her long-suffering fiancé, while Annie finds a crazy love of her own with a pompous produce farmer. Donohue’s culinary romantic thriller will keep readers hungry for more. Agent: Elisabeth Weed, Weed Literary. (Mar.)
Katie Crouch
“[A] sparkling, witty story. Donohue’s voice is lovely, intelligent, and alluring. Grab one of these for your best friend and read it together—preferably with a plate of Meyer Lemon cupcakes nearby.”
Sarah Jio
“Beautifully written and quietly wise, Meg Donohue’s How to Eat a Cupcake is an achingly honest portrayal of the many layers of friendship—a story so vividly told, you can (almost) taste the buttercream.”
Zoe Fishman
“A heartwarming and unpredictable tale of friendship, family and frosting.”
Beth Kendrick
“An irresistible blend of sweet and tart, this book is truly a treat to be savored.”
Rebecca Rasmussen
“Deliciously engaging. Donohue writes with charm and grace. What could be better than friendship and cupcakes?”
Katie Crouch
"[A] sparkling, witty story. Donohue’s voice is lovely, intelligent, and alluring. Grab one of these for your best friend and read it together—preferably with a plate of Meyer Lemon cupcakes nearby."
Sarah Jio
"Beautifully written and quietly wise, Meg Donohue’s How to Eat a Cupcake is an achingly honest portrayal of the many layers of friendship—a story so vividly told, you can (almost) taste the buttercream."
Zoe Fishman
"A heartwarming and unpredictable tale of friendship, family and frosting."
Beth Kendrick
"An irresistible blend of sweet and tart, this book is truly a treat to be savored."
Rebecca Rasmussen
"Deliciously engaging. Donohue writes with charm and grace. What could be better than friendship and cupcakes?"
Kirkus Reviews
A little friendship, a little wit and a little mystery make for a charming debut about two old friends reconciled after starting a cupcakery (a bakery specializing in cupcakes). Annie Quintana and Julia St. Claire have an unusual relationship. Raised like sisters, there is a gulf between them—Annie's mother Lucia was nanny and cook to the St. Clair family. The distance between the Pacific Heights carriage house and the mansion may be measured in yards, but as the girls entered high school, it became an impossible distance. Ten years after graduation (which coincided with a prep-school scandal and Lucia's untimely death), Annie and Julia meet again at a St. Claire fundraiser. Annie, now a talented pastry chef, is catering and surprised to see a subdued Julia, who has quit her job in finance and moved back into the manse to plan her wedding. Annie hasn't forgiven Julia for her past transgressions, and Julia has conveniently forgotten all about them, which makes for some awkwardness when Julia offers to finance Annie's cupcake shop. As Julia promises to bow out after her wedding, Annie agrees to a business partnership, but every meeting is colored by her anger and Julia's nonchalance. What Annie doesn't know: Julia is depressed, recovering from a serious trauma and unsure if she should marry Wes, who may be too good for her. And what Julia doesn't know about Annie: she's dating her high school sweetheart and knows the truth about what Julia did to destroy her reputation. In the meantime, their cupcakery is a grand success—except for the frequent vandalism, notes telling them to get out and a frightening man in a hoodie who is always lurking in the shadows. When the truth is finally revealed, it brings real danger to Julia and Annie, who have finally learned to be the sisters they were meant to be. Despite the sugary title, Donohue has written a sharp little novel featuring the subtle characterizations of two appealingly flawed young women.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062069283
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/13/2012
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 164,417
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Meg Donohue is the author of How to Eat a Cupcake. She has an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University and a BA in comparative literature from Dartmouth College. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she now lives in San Francisco with her husband, their two young daughters, and their dog.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 111 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(53)

4 Star

(31)

3 Star

(15)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(8)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 111 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Tasty Treat!

    How to Eat a Cupcake is told from both of the perspectives of Julia and Annie, old high school friends who parted ways after a mishap their senior year. Sometimes, this literary technique of multiple perspectives can go wrong, but in How to Eat a Cupcake it flows perfectly. Each character has such a distinct voice: Julia distant and troubled, Annie hilarious and sometimes sad, but always sassy. As we have been taught, there are two sides to every story and I like that Donohue chose to let us see both of these POV's come together, from their awkward reunion, to clashing flashbacks and current mutual understandings.

    Annie and Julia are unlikely friends from the beginning and only by forgiving and understanding each other can they remain so. They come together to start a cupcakery and the descriptions of the shop and the sweets were so detailed that I longed for a cupcake ASAP!

    Throughout How to Eat a Cupcake, several mysteries begin to unfold: one from their shared past and destruction of their friendship in their high school years, one involving Annie's mom and her missing recipe book and another that threatens their burgeoning business and possibly their lives.

    A couple of love interests float in and out and in again, but this book is not a romance. The real relationship being dissected in detail in How to Eat a Cupcake is the bond between friends and the trust and understanding needed to put a broken friendship back together again.

    Donohue has put together a perfect cupcake of a novel. The story has many levels: sweet, tart, spicy and mellow. What a great treat to curl up and pass the time with!

    23 out of 27 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2012

    Are you looking for a book that is centered around friendship an

    Are you looking for a book that is centered around friendship and will take you on a journey with two friends who are reconnecting? This book would be the one to pick up and read and pass onto a friend.

    The book hops between both main characters points of view with ease - Julia is the organized, behind the counter, saleswoman who is trying to find out what her future should look like and Annie has always felt left out, but can bake like the dickens! (Yes, I used dickens in a review!) They are friends from the past, but history and drama has separated them. Although this book had some predictability to it, the overall story and writing were superb, so I didn't mind that I knew where it was headed.

    A sweet (in more ways than one) book that friends of all ages can enjoy.

    16 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 17, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Annie Quintana and Julia St. Clair as a different as night is to

    Annie Quintana and Julia St. Clair as a different as night is to day. Separated by ten years, the two find themselves brought together once again. Julia St. Clair is ambitious, sophisticated and is very wealthy. The only daughter of the St. Clair family, she is in the planning process of her wedding to Wesley, a Southern businessman but is hiding a secret she must tell him before she marries. Julia finds herself with time on her hands now that she has quit her job to move back home to San Francisco to begin planning her wedding with her mother, Lolly.

    Annie Quintana has been used to taking the back seat in life, especially when it comes to Julia or the St. Clair family. Annie's mother Lucia was the housekeeper for the St. Clair's and also became a close personal friend to Lolly during the time she worked there. Annie grew up with Julia since they lived in a small apartment on the St. Clair estate and was provided for by the St. Clair family. Attending the same schools as Julia since they were both only children. It made sense for them to be friends. Lucia died in the kitchen after having a brain aneurism and after attending the funeral and dealing with issues in high school, the girls grew apart.

    Now that Annie has been asked by Lolly St. Clair to cater her party by bringing her delicious cupcakes, Annie and Julia are reunited. By this reunion isn't a warm one. The reader gets a sense that something more has happened between the two girls and as they begin to make plans to go into the cupcake business together, the reader is taken on a journey between alternate points of view between Julia and Annie.

    As they come to terms with how they can work together in running this business, the reader gets a sense that all is not what it seems to be. Annie is warm and hard working, trying to find a way to make her cupcake business a success while still working through some unresolved issues with Julia that happened in high school. Julia on the other hand remains distant from wedding plans, avoids confrontation with Annie over what issues she has with her, and seeks solace in sharing drinks with her ex boyfriend Jake Logan.

    I received How To Eat A Cupcake by Meg Donahue compliments of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. The beginning of the book starts off pretty slow for me trying to figure out where these two fit into each other's lives but about 1/3 of the way through the story picks up. I related to Annie the most, having been raised in Julia's shadow most of her life, she seeks resolution with Julia before she can move forward but Julia is constantly changing the subject or passes it off without realizing the impact it had on Annie's childhood. Julia is a bit self absorbed and likes to be the center of attention, seeking to remain at the top of whatever event is going on at the time. I really liked this book because it portrays a unique connection between the two women who come from different walks of life but are drawn together in a compelling way. I rate this one a 4.5 out of 5 stars and highly recommend this one for a great summer read. The only thing missing were some recipes for these delicious cupcakes that are invented along the way!

    10 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2012

    Very good read

    So much better than I expected. I loved the writing style with the different perspectives. I craved cupcakes when I was done!

    9 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 13, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    wonderful dedut

    Donohue has blasted her debut novel right out of the ballpark. It was moving, believable, well written and real. The characters were well developed and despite their imperfections you found yourself rooting for them, grieving with them, celebrating with them...just simply feeling for them throughout the entire novel. The novel was perfectly paced and it kept me engaged from start to finish. Just when I thought I may have figured things out Donohue threw me for a loop. I am so excited to see what else Donohue has in store for us as readers. One thing I know for sure is that she has talent and staying power! I rate this book 5 stars and highly recommend it.

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 6, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    I finished How to Eat a Cupcake late last night propped up in be

    I finished How to Eat a Cupcake late last night propped up in bed and drooling on my pillow! A delightfully delicious sweet story of rekindled friendship with a little romance & mystery stirred in...:)

    This is the story of Annie & Julia. Best friends from very different worlds who grow up together. They grow apart through childhood hurts and losses, go their separate ways & at a turning point in both their lives end up coming together again. Through the love of cupcakes and family they manage to build a thriving "Cupcakery", find love and the friendship they thought was lost along the way.

    I do have one complaint...You need to include some of those mouth watering cupcake recipes!!!

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2013

    Enjoyed this one...

    I liked this authors writing. Easy light hearted read about friendship and family, with just enough mystery to keep you turning pages instead of turning out the light. Will definately look for more from this author. Would highly reccomend this book and definately pickup and read again.


    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 30, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Totally unexpected.

    This book was not at all what I was expecting from the title. However it was more than I was hoping for. It is fun, sometimes sentamental and mysterious. I loved it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2013

    Yummy story!

    I really enjoyed this book. Julia and Annie's story was sweet and interesting. I was worried this would be predictable, but I was happily surprised with the entire story. I couldn't decide which character to root for, but by the end of this book I was seriously voting for both Julia and Annie. One thing missing......cupcake recipes....

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2013

    Great distraction reading!

    I wasn't at all confident in a book that cost $3, but I'm very glad I gave it a chance. It's a cute story, if a bit fluffy and predictable. I really liked it though. I was instantly hooked! And despite being mostly predictable, the twist at the end was entirely unexpected!! I highly recommend this for anyone looking for a little distraction in their life.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 9, 2013

    Loved this book. The characters grew up and into each others' li

    Loved this book. The characters grew up and into each others' lives. It was very well written and I enjoyed reading it. It is her first novel and I will certainly read her next one. I wasn't sure what to expect but I wasn't disappointed. I loved the title, the cover, and what Sarah Jio wrote in her comments about the book.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    Looking forward to more from this author

    Looking forward to more from this author

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 2, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Mom¿s Choice Awards Recipient!

    How to Eat a Cupcake is a recipient of the prestigious Mom's Choice Award. The Mom’s Choice Awards
    honors excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. An esteemed panel of judges includes education, media and other experts as well as parents, children, librarians, performing artists, producers, medical and business professionals, authors, scientists and others. A sampling of the panel members includes: Dr. Twila C. Liggett, ten-time Emmy-winner, professor and founder of PBS’s Reading Rainbow; Julie Aigner-Clark, Creator of Baby Einstein and The Safe Side Project; Jodee Blanco, New York Times best-selling Author and; LeAnn Thieman, motivational speaker and coauthor of seven Chicken Soup For The Soul books. Parents and educators look for the Mom’s Choice Awards seal in selecting quality materials and products for children and families.

    2 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2012

    Yum

    Looks like i'm going to be hungry

    2 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2012

    Entertaining

    Good book, especially for a first-time author. Kept my attention. I would read another by this author when she publishes again.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2014

    Would recommend

    I enjoyed this book it was my first from Meg Donohue and looked up more books by her to read since I enjoyed this one so much. It kept your attention and had surprises along the way. I would recommend it for sure.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2013

    question

    How many pages is this book

    1 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2013

    Not spaced proporaly

    There are very few spacing parts to it, and the paragraphs are all jumbled together

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2014

    Alicia

    Walked in.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2014

    Fun

    This book was a great read on my recent vacation. It was a light read but still worthwhile - nice ending.

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