Hepler (The Cupcake Queen) pens an energetic Valentine’s Day tale for romantics and cynics alike. High school student Piper Paisley falls into the latter category—her birthday coincides with Valentine’s Day, but she dismisses the holiday as a “capitalist scam” and has bigger problems than a lack of a boyfriend. Between helping her busy mother care for her younger siblings, working for local confectioner Jan the Candy Man, competing on the swim team, and trying to keep up with schoolwork, she barely has time to breathe. After Piper’s friend Claire is dumped, their friend Jillian comes up with “The Plan,” which involves their getting dates by Valentine’s Day with help from a love potion. Gifts start showing up in Piper’s locker, and her longtime crush asks her out, but she remains skeptical, as well as oblivious to the person who’s been falling for her all along. While the story’s romantic trajectories are fairly transparent and the story ends tidily, readers seeking a romance with sweet, salty, and spicy moments (not unlike Jan’s candies) should be entertained. Ages 12–up. (Jan.)
"...teens will likely race through Hepler's (The Cupcake Queen, 2009) heartwarming, sweet-as-a-candy-heart novel and enjoy not only the characters' drama-filled love lives but also her realistic portrayal of imperfect friendships and families. The ending is satisfying, too: "Love? Maybe" turns out to be "Love? Yes!" after all."
From the Publisher
"...teens will likely race through Hepler's (The Cupcake Queen, 2009) heartwarming, sweet-as-a-candy-heart novel and enjoy not only the characters' drama-filled love lives but also her realistic portrayal of imperfect friendships and families. The ending is satisfying, too: "Love? Maybe" turns out to be "Love? Yes!" after all." — Booklist
"...goes beyond the usual teen romance and explores love from different angles lost love, friendships, family love, forgiveness, and hope...Fun, light, with morsels of sadness and plenty of chocolate" — VOYA
"Hepler (The Cupcake Queen) pens an energetic Valentine's Day tale for romantics and cynics alike....readers seeking a romance with sweet, salty, and spicy moments (not unlike Jan's candies) should be entertained." — Publishers Weekly
VOYA - Jane Gov
Despite being born on Valentine's Day and working in a candy shop, Piper is cynical, grouchy, and certainly not a romantic. In order to boost the spirits of a friend going through a breakup, she agrees to go along with a Valentine's Day plan, a fanciful scheme that includes selecting boys to pursue and developing a love potion. Piper never expected the plan to actually work, so it surprised everyone when the most popular guy in school is suddenly interested in her. Even more mysterious are the gifts she receives from a secret admirer. Regardless of her luck, Piper is still disenchanted, but with the help of a few good friends, she might be able to find that ounce of hope. Although Love? Maybe qualifies as a love story, it is not necessarily a romance. There are bits of romance, but the story goes beyond the usual teen romance and explores love from different angleslost love, friendships, family love, forgiveness, and hope. Hepler establishes realistic, relatable, and strong characters with very endearing relationships. Some of the dialogue may sound somewhat cliche, but the charming banter between Piper and her friends more than makes up for it. Fun, light, with morsels of sadness and plenty of chocolate, this story is not exactly book-report-worthy, but it will attract readers looking for a quick escape into a coming-of-age novel. Reviewer: Jane Gov
Children's Literature - Claudia Mills
Piper Paisley has good reason to be cynical about love: she's seen both her father and her stepfather abandon her family, and she's in the process of seeing one of her two best friends get dumped by her boyfriend as well. So Piper's contribution to the pre-Valentine's Day festivities at the candy store where she works is the creation of "consternation hearts" with messages like "Not Likely," "Yuck," "Go Away," and "U Stink." But then her friend Jillian comes up with a Plan to console heartbroken Claire: each girl in the trio of friends is to target two possible boys as Valentine's Day sweethearts, and to prepare for the V-Day campaign with makeovers and irresistible aphrodisiac truffles. It would be too mean of Piper not to go along with the Plan for Claire's sake, wouldn't it? Even if she knows that Valentine's Day "is just a capitalist scam" and that love is "just not for me?" As young adult novels become increasingly dark, edgy, and bitter, it's a yummy treat to find one that is bright, breezy, and big-hearted. Spoiler alert: This is a book with a happy ending, no, with happy endings all aroundan affirmation of forgiveness, girlfriend power, second chances, unexpected kindness, fundamental decency, candy, and, yes, most of all, love. Reviewer: Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Piper Paisley of Atlanta is going to turn another year older on Valentine's Day, and her friends are certain that she wants to find love, so they make a plan to each have a boyfriend for the special day. Piper is not so sure they're right, but she plays along and finds herself dating Ben Donovan, one of the most popular boys in school, but it doesn't seem right. What's even stranger is that Piper begins to receive Valentine gifts in her locker. Who is sending them? While this is a fun book about friendship and romance with a hint of mystery, the plot moves at a glacial pace. Readers may feel compelled to cut to the chase and read the ending before actually finishing the book.—Karen Alexander, Lake Fenton High School, Linden, MI
An emotionally constipated girl falls in love. Although she was born on Valentine's Day, Piper Paisley believes that "being hopeful is just a big setup for disappointment." Not that she doesn't come by her skepticism about love honestly. She's watched her mother's two marriages fall apart and felt the pain of losing both her father figures, men who she thought really cared about her. Because of this unconscious fear of rejection, Piper is the "queen of pushing people away," coming up with superficial Seinfeld-like reasons to rebuff any male who finds her attractive. But the people who love Piper aren't about to let her stay in her shell forever, and this emergence is the heart of the novel. Despite the its good intentions, the book lacks spice, and not much tension is generated in this earnest story of emotional awakening. Perhaps it's because the characters, though sometimes misguided, are essentially so well meaning that readers cannot ever doubt that the whole thing will end with a lesson learned and a group hug. The particular lesson, that while "hearts are delicate," they're also "amazingly resilient," is nevertheless valid, and while the story won't attract readers outside of a narrow demographic, girls in need of emotional comfort should find it satisfying. (Fiction. 12 & up)