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How to Eat a Cupcake: A Novel

How to Eat a Cupcake: A Novel

4.1 123
by Meg Donohue

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“An irresistible blend of sweet and tart, this book is truly a treat to be savored.”
—Beth Kendrick, author of The Bake Off and Second Time Around

“A sparkling, witty story about an unlikely, yet redemptive, friendship….Grab one of these for your best friend and read it together—preferably with a plate


“An irresistible blend of sweet and tart, this book is truly a treat to be savored.”
—Beth Kendrick, author of The Bake Off and Second Time Around

“A sparkling, witty story about an unlikely, yet redemptive, friendship….Grab one of these for your best friend and read it together—preferably with a plate of Meyer Lemon cupcakes nearby.”
—Katie Crouch, bestselling author of Girls in Trucks and Men and Dogs

Author Meg Donohue has cooked up an absolutely scrumptious debut novel, How to Eat a Cupcake, that explores what happens when two childhood friends, Annie and Julia, reconnect as adults and decide to open a cupcakery. But success in their new baking business venture will depend upon their overcoming old betrayals, first loves, and an unexpected and quite dangerous threat. Donohue’s How to Eat a Cupcake is contemporary women’s fiction at its smartest, sweetest, and most satisfying, joining the ranks of The Recipe Club, The School for Essential Ingredients, and Joanne Harris’s classic Chocolat by proving once again that fiction and food make an unbeatable combination.

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?”
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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HarperCollins Publishers
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Meet the Author

Meg Donohue is the USA Today bestselling author of How to Eat a Cupcake, All the Summer Girls, and Dog Crazy. 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, three children, and dog.

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How to Eat a Cupcake: A Novel 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 123 reviews.
KimballSK More than 1 year ago
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!
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
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.
mommybooknerd More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So much better than I expected. I loved the writing style with the different perspectives. I craved cupcakes when I was done!
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
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!
anniemichelle More than 1 year ago
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!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
olympicgram More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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....
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
How to Eat a Cupcake is written from the perspectives of Annie and Julia, unlikely childhood friends who previously had a falling out in high school. Ten years later, they decide to open a cupcake shop together knowing they have unresolved issues between them. The story of the two girls' struggles to find and understand themselves to begin the journey back to each other and a lasting friendship is filled with mishaps, dark moments, a mysterious death and learning to trust and love again. Author Meg Donohue manages to include all of these factors sprinkled with delicious prose focused on the heaven that is Annie's cupcake creations. Oddly enough, Annie's love of creating delectable pastries and Julia's desperate desire to eat every crumb is the common ground that brings them back together. This book managed to be funny, delicious, dark and heart warming all at once. It's definitely one of my favorite reads this year.
NanaM11 More than 1 year ago
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.
bookgirlTC More than 1 year ago
Julia and Annie grew up together. Annie's mother, Lucia, was Julia's nanny and became the family cook. They became estranged at 18 and it's now ten years later. Julia is a successful business woman who's recently moved home to San Francisco to plan her wedding and Annie is a successful baker with a growing reputation. Julia's mother has hired Annie to supply cupcakes for her charity event and the two reunite. Julia, who's bored, suggests a business proposition to Annie: open a cupcakery, funded by Julia's money and Annie's incredible baking talent. The book is about how they resolve the rift that tore their friendship apart 10 years ago. I found it slow-going at first. Annie hates Julia for something she thinks Julia did and Julia is depressed over something that's recently happened in her life. Both instances are hinted at, but, it's not until the last 80 or so pages that we find out what happened. Overall, I enjoyed the book, I just wish we'd gotten to the heart of the matter sooner - oh, and there was a twist I didn't see coming.
girlfromwvirginia More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Interesting idea. Maybe fix up your grammar? Other than that, seems pretty good to me. <p> Nebula&star
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Short, but you could use that as sort of your prologue. 4/5 stars! :D Keep it up!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Write more
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hi. My name is Eloise, and l love cupcakes with a capital L . Some people are plain cool with my obsession of cupcakes ; Others ......... it's ok . My friends always encourage me. Now l want to tell you a story about my cupcake adventures........ here they are. One day l was at my house sittimg in my bed. Now before l go any further I want to tell you about my bed . Its a grey metal loft bed with a desk underneath. Now while l was sitting in my bed an idea popped into my head . I wanted to run a cupcake bakery. <p> Hi guys !! So this is my first story. Pleaase please please comment and rate it. Character apps ons accepted. Thanks
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Overall this was a good book but some of the "mystery" could have come earlier instead of drawn out so much. It was a good touch on friendship and the stuggles they may face, especially while growing and changing. Easy to relate to and inspiring in the regard of following your dreams. I would suggest reading - great for commuting
leeval62 More than 1 year ago
One of those books you just don't want to see the last page. Enjoy!
nookgeekCD More than 1 year ago
This is a good read. It is told from the view of both main characters, making for a delightful story. something that I didn't like: Without a spoiler: the ending added a character that was unnecessary. some of those cupcake recipes would have been nice!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago