Although Not for Me, Stay Sweet Promises to be the Perfect Summery Read | Review: Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

6:00 AM

Stay Sweet feels like the perfectly indulgent cool-down contemporary. Unfortunately, I struggled with it and wasn't terribly keen on the story. (Still, I think fans of YA contemporary will positively devour it.)

Stay Sweet
by Siobhan Vivian

A summer read about first love, feminism, and ice cream.

Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been owned and managed exclusively by local girls, who inevitably become the best of friends. Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that the stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business…but Grady’s got some changes in mind…

Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian 
Rating: ★☆☆☆☆

“Look for green lights, not stop signs.” 

Siobhan Vivian had me at the mentions of feminism and ice cream, but lost me somewhere along the way. Up until Stay Sweet, I hadn't read much by Vivian. (I've read only the first book in her team-up with Jenny Han and her standalone novel The Last Boy and Girl in the World.) Yet, I've always meant to. Her work has always held a sparkle of intrigue for me.

With all that is happening in our world, I found myself most drawn to the idea of Stay Sweet. It sounded like the perfect antidote for all things hopeless and dreary. Plus, I was eating ice cream (Ben and Jerry's Non-Dairy Cookie Dough is THE BEST but I'm also loving their Crème Brûlée Cookie one and now I'm craving more ice-cream SO BRB) and feeling spontaneous in picking out something to read. Thus, Stay Sweet seemed like fate.

Look, there's no simple way to say this but do you know what Stay Sweet reminded me of? That old vine of the little kid, at Christmas, or a birthday, unwrapping his present and seeing its an avocado. And he is just like, "An avocado? Thanks." And politely puts it aside? Well, Stay Sweet is the avocado and I'm the kid setting it aside. (I love avocados. But, I didn't ask for one.)

So here's where my main problem with Stay Sweet begins to materialize: I didn't necessarily hate it. I just felt exceptionally misled by the synopsis and the longer the story went on, the more frustrated I became. Suddenly, what I had hoped the novel to be became something else and, honestly, it was not what I wanted. (Which isn't anyone's fault! Siobhan Vivian set out to tell the story she intended to. I am not saying anything at all about her storytelling ability. I just couldn't connect with Stay Sweet.)

Not only did I have issues connecting with the story and its tone, I never found myself especially interested in any of the characters. In-fact, I downright dislike a majority of them and it kept taking me in and out of the story.

Ultimately, I felt as though Stay Sweet had a lot going on for it but there just wasn't enough depth to it to make me more interested. (Ugh, that came out wrong.) There was a lot about it that felt under-developed, and it left me with this overwhelming feeling of, "That's it?" But, I've been wondering if this is necessarily a testament to the novel itself or merely a nod to the fact that I've been growing out of this genre once more.

Regardless, Stay Sweet didn't work for me.

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