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The Sweetest Thing

The Sweetest Thing

4.1 18
by Christina Mandelski

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A delicious confection for Sarah Dessen fans
In the world of Sheridan Wells, life is perfect when she’s decorating a cake. Unfortunately, everything else is a complete mess: her mom ran off years ago, her dad is more interested in his restaurant, and the idea of a boyfriend is laughable.
But Sheridan is convinced finding her mom will


A delicious confection for Sarah Dessen fans
In the world of Sheridan Wells, life is perfect when she’s decorating a cake. Unfortunately, everything else is a complete mess: her mom ran off years ago, her dad is more interested in his restaurant, and the idea of a boyfriend is laughable.
But Sheridan is convinced finding her mom will solve all her problems—only her dad’s about to get a cooking show in New York, which means her dream of a perfect family will be dashed.

Using just the right amount of romance, family drama, and cute boys, The Sweetest Thing will entice fans with its perfect mixture of girl-friendly ingredients.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Debut author Mandelski follows a pretty basic recipe in this coming-of-age novel that offers an abundance of familial and romantic drama. Fifteen-year-old Sheridan Wells, aka "Cake Girl," is happy with her smalltown life in western Michigan, creating amazing cakes in her grandmother's bakery. Her father, who runs the hottest restaurant in town, is distant, but Sheridan truly longs for her mother, who abandoned the family years ago. When her father is offered a cooking show in New York City, Sheridan refuses to consider leaving the town she loves, holding out hope for her mother's return; her mother says she'll do just that in birthday cards Sheridan receives each year, though readers should see through these promises quickly, draining that story line of genuine tension. After Sheridan's contact with her mother proves a disappointment, she is finally able to move on. Sheridan is believably self-absorbed and melodramatic when faced with unwanted changes in her life, but her bratty attitude and emotional naïveté don't diminish until late into the novel, which flattens the story's arc and isn't likely to endear her to many readers. Ages 12–up. (May)
Kirkus Reviews

A teen with a talent for cake decorating wrestles with love and loss in this coming-of-age story.

Sheridan Wells lives with her father, a well-known chef and restaurateur, in small-town Michigan. Her mother, a cake decorator and Sheridan's inspiration, deserted the family when Sheridan was 7. Nonetheless, Sheridan thinks about her obsessively and longs to reunite. So when her father is offered his own television cooking show and Sheridan is asked to celebrate her birthday during the first episode, she gets a crazily brilliant idea—why not track down her mother and get her to co-decorate the birthday cake? The plot is complicated by Sheridan's dueling love interests, and the author makes the risky choice of creating a central character that takes a long time to warm to. The most engaging scenes take place in the kitchen, demonstrating Sheridan's passion for the art of cooking and cake decoration, and they showcase the intrinsic rewards of a job well done. Although satisfying, the climax, which takes place on several fronts, is not as stirring as it should be.

Aimed squarely at teenage girls, this sensitive story explores the need to embrace the reality rather than the fantasy of love, both familial and romantic. (Fiction. 12 & up)

School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Sheridan Wells, aka "Cake Girl," would rather spend Friday nights decorating her tasty creations at her grandmother's bakery than going to parties. Content behind the counter, the Michigan teen's junior year is turned upside down when her chef and restaurateur dad lands his own cooking show on ExtremeCuisine TV. Now she's expected to move to New York City and maybe even spend time in front of the camera herself. More importantly, however, that means she won't be in her hometown if and when her long-absent mother finally decides to return. Self-absorbed and melodramatic, Sheridan is believable, but only mildly likable. Her romantic interests are less realistic and behave more like 40-year-old men than teenage boys. Nonetheless, there is plenty of family and relationship drama, and the goings-on might appeal to nondiscriminating teens.—Richelle Roth, Boone County Public Library, KY

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)
560L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Christina Mandelski was born a stone’s throw from the Atlantic Ocean, which explains her dream of spending every day on the beach with a laptop and a bottomless glass of cherry limeade. For now she gets by at a desk, giving life to the characters that knock around in her head and reminding herself that sand in a keyboard is no fun. When not writing, she’s sublimely happy hanging out with her husband and two young daughters in Houston, Texas. You can visit her online at www.christinamandelski.com.

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The Sweetest Thing 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The sweetest thing is about 15 year old sheridan whose mom left her a long time ago, so to her she is stuck with her dad, but sheridan is so convinced that finding her mom will solve all her problems. When sheridan is baking cakes in a way she feels closer to her somehow but when she finally gets in contact with her mom the truth really suprises her. Donovan wells her father is so intrested in his resturant and he is actually getting his own tv show in New York but sheridan refuses to go. sheridan also finds that he best friend jack and Ethan the hottest boy in school are actually into her. This book is full with holding back and moving forward in live
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LindaFictionFervor More than 1 year ago
Just like its title, this book is one of the sweetest I’ve ever read. It bears great resemblance to a novel I’ve read before, Bittersweet by Sarah Ockler, but there are definitely differences. Sheridan got on my nerves. Constantly moaning about how she wanted her mom to come back even though she knew fully well that her mother left because she cheated on Sheridan’s father. Sure, I understand that she’s attached, but she was attached to the point of obsession. I guess that was the point, but Sheridan still irritates me. I loved Sheridan’s dad though. Sure, I wasn’t too fond of him when I first started out reading the novel, but seeing him constantly trying to connect with Sheridan while Sheridan just pushed him away and yearned for her mom made me sympathetic to him. He’s one of those wonder dads who tries his best to make his baby girl as happy as possible. Now, romance interests number one versus number two. Let’s use cliché phrases to sum them up, shall we? Ethan: popular bad boy who suddenly takes an interest in the heroine. Jack: heroine’s best friend who has been longing to be with her since the beginning of time. Although Christina Mandelski subtly inserted that Jack was in love with Sheridan, I could tell as soon as he made his first appearance. (‘Cause I’m just that good.) And of course, since I’m always on Team BFF-Who’s-a-Boy, you know who I chose. Hands down. Not to mention that Jack’s adorable anyway. I’ve never really been quite impressed with plotlines of contemporary novels as I have for fantasy novels, but there’s nothing you can do about that, eh? (Fantasy novels just require more imagination, I think.) Even so, I was satisfied with the plotline of The Sweetest Thing: Sheridan’s dad, who is a renowned cook, just landed his own cooking show on a channel. But here’s the catch: he and Sheridan will have to move to New York. While he’s all for leaving behind their little town of St. Mary’s, Sheridan’s reluctant. She’d be leaving behind her best friends and her grandmother. And plus, what if her mom came back? So Sheridan’s unwilling to leave her little “triangle” of her house, her dad’s restaurant, and her grandmother’s bakery. She wants to stay at St. Mary’s and continue decorating cakes–her favorite thing in the world. Ah, I almost forgot to mention the cakes! Personally, I love when sweets are involved in any book (I can’t resist the sugary goodness), so I loved reading about Sheridan’s decorating the cakes. I’d totally love to see them in real life. And then be able to eat them, mmm. The Sweetest Thing was a cute contemporary that delved deep into my soul; in addition to the adorable romance, it taught an important lesson–that sometimes you have to stop dreaming and appreciate what you have. Source: Galley received from publisher for review
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful YA book, My 12 year old loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont really know what to think of this book. It is really boring in the beginning. It gets more exciting in the middle though. You have to really commit to it. Sheridan was not always a likeable character. I also thought some of the other characters had no depth. Haley was mentioned a lot throughout the book, but it doesnt desribe her in enough detail. Shes just a stereotypical mean girl. Its a good book for a rainy day if you dont have anything to do.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Lauren817 More than 1 year ago
The Sweetest Thing by Cristina Mandelski has been on my to be read list for a while now, because not only was the cover and title simply adorable, but the premise sounded amazing as well as Sarah Dessen like- which is ALWAYS a big win in my book. Luckily, I recently had the chance to read it, and even though it contained a few slight flaws, I found it to be just as sweet and endearing as it appeared! The Sweetest Thing introduces the character of Sheridan Wells aka "Cake Girl." Sheridan has always taken great pride her in cakes because (a) she enjoys creating them and (b) it brings her closer to her MIA mother. Recently, though, the cakes have been the only constant good thing in her life, as not only did her father just spring a huge surprise on her-one that may change her life forever- but she's also dealing with friend as well as boy problems. However, Sheridan knows how she will fix this all: she will find her mother and ask for her to come back home. A win-win for all, right? Well, as Sheridan is soon to learn you can't have always have your cake and eat it too... The Sweetest Thing has a lot of good things going for it, and one of them was definitely the plot. It wasn't the most original and suspenseful one out there, but I still enjoyed it nonetheless. First, I liked seeing Sheridan's cake hobby. I don't thing I've ever read a YA book where the main character loved making cakes, so it was fun to see why Sheridan enjoyed making her cakes as well as the yummy descriptions of them. The mother-daughter drama in this one, though, got on my nerves from time to time. It was just a bit too cliched and compliant-filled for me to really get invested in it, and to be honest, I never really saw what Sheridan saw in her mother, because in all truth, her mother was a grade-a jerk for most of the book, especially towards the end. However, as they say, you live and you learn and that was without a doubt the case for Sheridan in this. The boy drama was also a little overdone, especially since it was easy to predict who Sheridan would end up with in the end, but I did enjoy seeing the different problems and twists that appeared up throughout Sheridan's path to her future boyfriend. Sheridan herself was a character I had love-hate feelings toward, because while I did find her to be a funny and sweet girl for the most part, her constant whining as well as dependency on her mother got the best of me sometimes. I still enjoyed seeing her journey develop on the page, because she did evolve greatly as a character by the end. I really enjoyed the side characters in this one, though. I loved Lori's wisdom as well as her hilarious little one-lines, and Jack, Sheridan's other BFF, was just as great and lovebable! I also enjoyed seeing Sheridan's grandma. Lastly, I really enjoyed the writing in this one. Christina created a very readable and addicting plot, even though I wasn't also the biggest fan of all the characters and plot lines. I also really enjoyed the titles for each chapter- they really managed to grab my attention. Sweet as well as sugary, The Sweetest Thing by Christina Mandelski is a decent debut. Not a "MUST-read" but certainly a great pick for a lazy day. I looked forward to reading more by Ms. Mandelski. Grade: B
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful story everything combined in it love a passion for doing something a dream. Sheridan is a sweet girl who goes through so maany things yet none of them turned out her way. When I tread this book in every chapter i would say no way that didn't just happen. This story sometimes curved aand sometimes Mrs.Mandelski told it straight forward. I encourage every girl to read this book.
FuzzyCoffeeBooks More than 1 year ago
The cover makes me want a donut. Seriously. *takes break from review writing to find donuts* Okay. I'm back. Did y'all know that Krispy Kreme has snowman shaped donuts? I love Christmas time!! What I Liked: 1) Sheridan. Sheridan was an interesting MC. She's a strong girl, but she has her weaknesses and isn't afraid of them. It's kind of funny, because I think some of my favorite YA MCs are the ones who remind me of real teenagers, and Sheridan definitely does that. She was also able to frustrate me, which while it may sound bad, isn't. I related to her enough so that I at one point was like, "come on, Sheridan!! Just listen to me." (I believe I can change books by talking out loud to them.) 2) The unique idea. A teenager who wants to spend her time decorating cakes! I loved that. It was also a nice place to lose yourself, this bakery that she works in. 3) One Shot. With so many series out there - not that I'm complaining about them - it's nice to finish a book and feel as if your questions were answered. The whole story was wrapped up very nicely, and I really appreciated that. For the record, I notice this more with contemporary fiction than with paranormal stories. 4) This was a light book. One you can sit down, read in a few hours, and feel good when you're done. There are so many books out there with big bad issues, and I read those too, but sometimes you just want to read something that doesn't make your brain or heart hurt too much. This one fits the bill as a "feel-good" read. What I Didn't Like: 1) My chief complaint about The Sweetest Thing was the lack of depth to the relationships between the characters. There are a few characters that have strained relationships, particularly Sheridan and her father, but even the people she is close to, her best friends, and her Grandmother, those relationships were a little weak. Overall thoughts: For Miz Mandelski's first YA novel, I definitely think this was a fun read. I've already suggested it to several people, and am now recommending it to all of you! If you're looking for a light, fun read with personable characters and a well-tuned plot, then pick up a copy of The Sweetest Thing. And make sure to have something sweet in your house while you read! This book will trigger your sweet tooth!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
jwitt33 More than 1 year ago
I received an ecopy of this book free of charge from NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. From Goodreads: "In the world of Sheridan Wells, life is perfect when she¿s decorating a cake. Unfortunately, everything else is a complete mess: her mom ran off years ago, her dad is more interested in his restaurant, and the idea of a boyfriend is laughable." All that Sheridan lives for is cake decorating ... and the day when her mother will come home. Her mother left her and her father when she was young, and for many years on her birthday she would send her a card saying how much she loved her and missed her and couldn't wait to see her. Unfortunately, she never did come home, and then eventually she stopped sending the cards altogether. But that didn't stop Sheridan from hoping and praying that one day her mother would come home and they would all be a happy family again. Then her father, who is a world famous chef, is offered his own show in New York, and all of Sheridan's plans for their future are ruined. She decides that she has to find her mother, bring her home, and then her dad will forget about the show offer and stay in their little town, and all would be well in the world. I really wanted to like this book ... really! But it was hard because Sheridan was just such a brat! I didn't really find myself pulling for her because she wasn't very likable at all. I like snarky characters, but she went way beyond snark straight into downright rude territory. By the end of the book I couldn't have cared less if she ever found her mother at all, and I really couldn't understand why her father and friends put up with her. Of course, her father wasn't very nice either, so it was kind of like the apple didn't fall far from the tree. For most of the book he was cold and distant and didn't act like a father at all, except to order Sheridan around, or just plain ignore her. The only redeeming character was her best friend, Jack, and I couldn't understand why he put up with her and her attitude either. All in all, these were hard people to care about. I did finish the book, though, because I figured there would have to be a heck of a payoff at the end, and there kind of was, but by the time I got to it, I didn't really care what happened. This is a tough review to write because even though I didn't like the characters, I thought the writing was okay. I personally didn't care for the book, but I can see how some people would. I won't say that I don't recommend the book, I will just say that it wasn't the right fit for me, and I will leave it to you to determine if you want to read it or not :D
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jenny_Geek More than 1 year ago
What a great book to show the way teenagers truly behave! Sheridan is stubborn, ego-centric and completely hates change. When she was little, her mother ran off and left her and her dad. Sheridan spends most of her time with her Nanny decorating cakes. Her dad is a fabulous chef and finds out that he's being given his own cooking show. The catch? He and Sheridan will have to move to New York. Sheridan throws a massive, teenage-like tantrum about it and then decides to truly find her real mother. As the story progresses, Sheridan starts to learn more about her father's true motives and also learns a lot about her real mother, both from her Nanny and also her father. When Sheridan learns more about her mother and the circumstances surrounding her mother leaving, I got a bit weepy. What I loved about this story was that even though Sheridan showed a lot of strength, she retained a lot of the same qualities as a normal teenage girl. Of course she doesn't want her world turned upside down by moving. Of course she feels like her father isn't paying her any attention. Of course she feels like the world is against her. She's a normal teenage girl. I'm not saying that all teenage girls feel like this. But what I do love about this book was that Sheridan's character was real.
KimballSK More than 1 year ago
The Sweetest Thing was a perfect palate cleanser for what has turned out to be a paranormal and "serious novel" reading month for me. The novel centers around a talented cake-decorating teen, Sheridan. I love baking, so I found the descriptions of her confections interesting. ?Sheridan handles her family and boy problems without the whiny-angst-filled tone that is, usually, so prevalent in YA novels. (She does have her indecisive and bratty moments, they came off naturally and didn't annoy me.) The one criticism I would have (and I feel that I am having it more and more these days, maybe it's not you, it's me...) is the love interests are kind of lame. I do like her BFF, Jack, who holds a torch for her that everyone can see but her, natch. However, her bad boy crush wasn't so bad and neither of them really made the sparks fly from the pages. The Sweetest Thing reminds me of old-school Judy Blume novels in all of the best ways (and is definitely written for the young teen demo.) The plot held my interest throughout and I was hoping for a happy ending for Sheridan even though the book was so realistic, in parts, that I wasn't sure it would come.
KSowa More than 1 year ago
Sheridan Wells loves to decorate cakes, but when she isn't working in her family's bakery, her life is kind of a mess. Her mother left years ago, her dad is busy running a restaurant and the boy she likes doesn't know she exists. When her dad lands a deal for a cooking show and wants to move to New York City, Sheridan is convinced that finding her mom is the key to making them one big happy family again. This book was a fresh breeze in a field where author's feel the need to wrap everything up and fix it all. What I most enjoyed about the story was the raw emotions that surrounded Sheridan and her conflicted feelings about her mom. There were some very painful and heart wrenching scenes as Sheridan's father, grandmother and even best friend confront her in brutally honest ways about the mom that she longs to know again. It's not easy to create characters with flaws that are not always likable. Sheridan's dad is driven, but distant and doesn't always say the right thing. In return, Sheridan is closed in and escapes to her cake decorating rather than really facing the emotions she has about her life and her future. The characters showed real growth throughout the book which really helped me become attached to the story. The ending is not sad, but not everything is resolved, either. This is a book that is hopeful and bitter-sweet. There is a strong moral compass embedded in the story, but I didn't feel as if it was preachy. Instead, Sheridan's family, friends and community serve as a guidepost, which was much more realistic that some big epiphany. I gave this 4 stars.
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
When I picked up this book, I was expecting a lovey, dovey fluff book. One where I can relax and not get all my emotions jumbled. Well, I can say that I was wrong about this book. Really wrong! But, I liked it. It did what great writing is supposed to do. It caught me in it stickiness of cake frosting and held me down. The plot line of this book is good. One thing I enjoyed is watching the characters grow in the plot line. The plot pacing is also amazing. As the reader, you are thrown into lies, deceptions created by others in order to protect but all it did is create more tension. I liked that the tension grew more and more as you continue to read deeper. I love that this book had a great build up to the truth. The reader is given information little by little, as well as the main character. There was so much left unsaid and undone, that watching them learn the truth was heart breaking yet exhilarating. The love in this book is lovely as well as heart breaking. After learning the whole truth, Sheridan learns more about herself and how to deal with everything. But she also got a second chance at love. Something she never saw coming. I loved that Sheridan learned to let go and love what she has around her. That is not something easy to do, but I am glad that she did. I can tell you that this is one amazing book! Even though it turn out not to be a fluffy book, it road me like a roller coaster! I enjoyed Ms. Mandelski great writing. Her characters, the plot, as well as her amazing descriptions of beautiful cakes and emotions, left me begging for more. She wrote about finding the truth and letting it go. She gave me a love worth fighting for and one I love to see in books.
MVavra More than 1 year ago
Cake plus family drama plus a love story, I mean, what's not to love? Not only is the layered story full of humor and heart, the emotional tension keeps the pages turning. Not to mention the writing is spot-on--rich and authentic. I loved every word of this novel. Highly recommended!!
ReadergirlReviews More than 1 year ago
Christina Mandelski is making her YA debut with what will surely be a huge success. This story wasn't exactly what I was expecting when I picked it up. I expected cute, fun, light-hearted, which would have been great. It far surpassed my expectations, however. It had a depth and emotion to it that I wasn't expecting just by reading the blurb and looking at the cover. Sheridan's love of cake-making was amazing. I could almost see her decorating these gorgeous cakes in front of me, and I was reminded consistently of one of my favorite cable shows, The Cake Boss. This book made me want to be a cake decorator! She is enormously talented, but in more than one way. There were times that I wanted to knock her in the forehad and tell her to wake up on a couple things, but that only meant she made me care about her. Her issues with her parents alienate her somewhat and it was so endearing to watch her deal with these things. Her guy issues were a little predictable, but I have to say that I adore the one she ends up with. I saw it coming, but I still rooted for it, and still LOVE that choice. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and look forward to seeing more in the future from this author!