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How to Eat a Cupcake: A Novel by Meg Donohue
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How to Eat a Cupcake: A Novel (edition 2012)

by Meg Donohue

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1903362,147 (3.6)9
arielfl's review
Thank you to Jen at Bookclub Girl for providing me with a copy of this novel. Check out the interview with author Meg Donohue at her blog or use this link http://www.blogtalkradio.com/book-club-girl/2012/04/24/meg-donohue-discusses-how...

This is a cute chick lit story about two girl who grow up as friends, Anna and Julia. The story is told in alternating chapters between the voice of Anna and Julia through various months. Sometimes the story jumps in time from where the last narrator left off.

The story begins when Anna's Ecuadorian mother is taken in as the nanny/ maid by Julia's wealthy parents when she has to leave home sixteen and pregnant. Despite the differences in wealth, the two girls grow up as friends until something terrible happens that breaks the friendship when they are in high school.

The girls reconnect years later at a party thrown by Julia's mother Lolly and decide to open a cup cake bakery. The story unfolds in the months leading up to the opening of the bakery. Various vandalism incidents occur at the bakery that seem to be tied to what drove the girls apart years ago. What exactly that is is hinted at for the first two hundred pages. Julia starts out as a very unsympathetic character but by the end of the book you find yourself rooting for the friendship between the two girls.

Various supporting characters such as gigolo Jake, earnest farmer Ogden, sweet fiance Wes, and well meaning Lolly add further interest to the story. Even though Anna's mother Lucia has passed by the start of the story, her character also figures largely in the plot.

This book is part mystery, part romance, and part love letter to the special friendship that exists between women. Add to that descriptions of cupcakes that are so luscious you will soon be running out to your local bakery to fill a craving that you didn't even know that you had. ( )
  arielfl | Apr 25, 2012 |
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Not what I expected, but I was more than pleasantly surprised.

Ten years after high school, once best friends and pseudo-sisters reconnect. Annie is still smarting over the way Julia betrayed her as a teen, as well as the loss of her mother around the same time. Julia needs to FEEL something again, after a traumatic incident of her own, and what better way than to launch Annie into business as a way of making up for past misdeeds?

There are men, including one who got in the way in the past, and does so again, temporarily again, though this time both women are older and wiser and not as easily fooled, but this books isn't really a romance. It's not light and fluffy as a cupcake (though the vivid descriptions made me incredibly hungry). There's a bit of mystery, even danger at the end, but it's not really about that, either.

It's told alternately from Annie and Julia's points of view, and at first, I had a hard time liking either of them; Annie felt too brash and in your face, Julia too tightly controlled and deliberately oblivious. They grew on me, and in the end I was rooting for them to let each other in, as friend and confidant and business partner, and for their cupcakery, Treat, to succeed. ( )
  writerbeverly | May 1, 2014 |
Derivative--Two Broke Girls, if Caroline still had money.
  LibraryGirl11 | Mar 24, 2014 |
A fairly delightful little book. Would recommend to a friend or my mother.
  kc.teadrinker | Jul 26, 2013 |
How to Eat a Cupcake by Meg Donohue
Source: Purchase
Rating: 4/5 stars

When Annie Quintana was a senior in high school her mother Lucia died. In a cruel twist of fate, that same year Annie’s best friend, Julia St. Clair turned on her, got her kicked out of her fancy prep school and nearly cost Annie her a chance to go to college. Ten years later Annie has built a good life for herself and has no desire to revisit her painful past. She is a master baker who has channeled her mother in the interceding years through her cooking. Though she never found her mother’s original cookbook, Annie has been able to cobble together what she remembers of her mother’s recipes to create the most scrumptious cupcakes. But as we all know, fate often has plans for us that we don’t anticipate or desire.

Here’s what I liked:

*Annie: she is just a delightful character who (like me!) has a tendency to resort to sarcasm and humor when she is nervous. I like that Annie, in a roundabout way, makes the decision (kind of) to confront her past and her ex-best friend, Julia St. Clair. Annie is never going to live the life she has earned without exorcising the demons that still haunt her.

*Julia: I really didn’t want to like Julia but as the plot begins to unfold liking her is pretty much inevitable. She may be rich, beautiful and successful but Julia has demons of her own that she is trying desperately to ignore. Reconnecting with Annie not only helps the two women heal their shared past wounds but also allows Julia to deal with her current demons and move on to the life she deserves.

*The Mystery: Saying too much here would be spoilery and tacky so I will just say this: you kind of don’t see this element coming at the beginning of the read and that is what makes it so intriguing.

*The Cupcakes and the Cupcakery: The recipes and descriptions of how the cupcakes look, smell, and taste is one of the highlights of this read for me. The descriptions and the cupcakes are so rich and vivid that you can all but taste what Annie is baking. Thank God you can’t gain weight from imagining yourself eating a cupcake  By the same taken, the cupcakery that Annie and Julia create together is magnificent. Again, the descriptions are spot on and are so well-worded that I could absolutely envision what Treat looks like. Plus, it’s a place that smells like and sells nothing but goodness, how can this not be on the “What I Liked” list?

The Bottom Line: I can’t honestly say I jumped for joy over the awesomeness of this read but I did truly enjoy it. It is a solid and well-written novel with endearing characters, a tiny bit of mystery, a tiny bit of romance, and a whole lot of feel-good moments. Also, it is a stand-alone so you won’t have to worry about what came before and/or what comes next; everything is tied up neatly at the end. Enjoy! ( )
  arthistorychick | May 23, 2013 |
Julia St. Clair and Anita "Annie" Quintana grew up together in the Pacific Heights San Francisco home owned by Julia's parents. Annie's mother is Julia's nanny and the St. Clair's housekeeper. In their youth, despite their socio economic differences, the girls are good friends, more like sisters. During their senior year of high school, a rift occurs between them that widens after the death of Annie's mom.

Ten years later, the two woman are brought back together by Julia's mom. Annie is now a baker and Julia is an investment banker. Although the women are no longer friends they enter into business together. Someone who doesn't want them to be together sabotages their burgeoning business. At the same time Annie is looking for her mother's recipe book that holds the key to all of the special desserts her mother used to make. Although the two women now work together, secrets still keep them apart. Slowly, as the women work to make their business succeed, and Julia tries to plan her wedding, the book unveils the secrets.

The books is a fun read and tells a satisfying story. After I finished it, I wanted to either eat a cupcake or to go try to bake one. The story is told between the alternating first person point of view of Julia and Annie. The narration choice enhanced the story as it allowed the reader to better understand the outwardly distant Julia and the value she placed on her friendship with Annie as well as the source of Annie's bitterness.

There are a few flaws. For me, the easy resolution of the incident that initially ruined the friendship between the two girls was too neatly resolved and trust between them too quickly restored. Some of the other relationships were not clearly delineated either. Overall however, I enjoyed this book. I'm giving this book four stars because it was so much fun to read.

By the way, all of the main characters eat cupcakes in different ways. You'll have to read the book to discover the secret of how to eat a cupcake.
  Reveries | Oct 3, 2012 |
Is it possible for two grown women, from differing socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds, to put teenage hurts aside and become friends once again? This appears to be the underlying question in How To Eat A Cupcake by Meg Donohue. Although Annie Quintana and Julia St. Clair were close friends as children, their high school years were fraught with teenage mischief and abuse that led to a severed friendship. As adults, Annie and Julia are still at opposite ends of the socioeconomic spectrum, but Annie is comfortable in her new life. Julia has left behind her New York success to return to California and prepare for her wedding. Julia is looking forward to her marriage but feels that her life is somewhat lacking without a job to keep her time occupied. Fortunately Julia's mother has kept up with Annie's success as a pastry chef and hired her to provide pastries for an upcoming party.

Annie and Julia's forced reunion doesn't end in tears or chaos. It does end, surprisingly, with Julia taking an interest in Annie's talents that eventually ends with them becoming business partners in a cupcakery. While they work together on their business plans, it quickly becomes apparent that they have unfinished childhood business. It is only after they confront each other with their residual anger and hurt that they are able to move forward and develop a growing respect for one another's skills and forge ahead with their business plans.

Annie has specific ideas about where the cupcakery should be situated and they are hopeful that Annie's baking talents will bring in the wanted business. Before their business even gets off the ground they are faced with vandalism to their new cupcakery. Growing a business, planning a wedding and searching for Annie's mother's lost recipe book, all add drama and tension to a newly minted partnership and growing friendship.

Ms. Donohue has provided an intriguing tale into friendship between two women that are as different from one another as night and day. Annie has been able to make a success of her life despite the betrayal she suffered in high school at the hands of her closest friend, Julia. This was quickly followed by the death of her mother, the only family she really had. Julia experienced teen jealousy that resulted in the destruction of a friendship. She went on to become a successful businesswoman without giving much thought to the destruction she left behind. Both Annie and Julia have regrets and fears to overcome, but they do so tentatively as they work toward a new relationship built on trust in one another's business skills and knowledge. How To Eat a Cupcake isn't fraught with angst and turmoil, but it is filled with drama and a sense of wonder as two women find their way to becoming friends once again. ( )
  BookDivasReads | Aug 3, 2012 |
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!!! ( )
  annie.michelle | Jul 23, 2012 |
A somewhat predictable ending, but a very good read! ( )
  yukon92 | Jun 26, 2012 |
As one of my last reads of 2011, this book was a pleasant surprise. The blurb made me think it was going to be nothing more than a superficial romance type of book. It was actually a lot deeper than that and I found myself thoroughly sad when the book came to an end.

The Good: First off, I LOVE the cover. It makes me perfectly hungry for a great cupcake. Speaking of cupcakes...the descriptions of the cupcakes in this novel are mouth-watering. I'm not lying. Here's an example,



"For Ogden, I selected a Moroccan Vanilla Bean and Pumpkin Spice cupcake. I saw the exact moment in Ogden's eyes that the dash of heat- courtesy of a healthy pinch of cayenne-hit his tongue, and the moment a split-second later that the sugary vanilla swept away the heat, like salve on a wound."



Ummm? Gorgeous? Not only for the beautiful sentence structure but for the yummy taste it elicits. So now that I've raved about the cupcake descriptions, I have to admit that I fell in love with the characters. Almost all of them. Even snooty-patootie Julia. She is your typical rich-bitch type of character but the difference is that by the end of the book, she knows she has been one and she's willing to change. In fact, she's been willing to change the entire book she just wasn't given the chance to. Annie on the other hand is a kindred spirit that I adore. She is curvy, snarky and completely cynical. And why shouldn't she be after what she's gone through? The thing I really liked about this book is that the romance was the PERFECT amount. There were some subtle hints at romance here and there, just enough to get a taste and then when the romance between characters picked up it wasn't extreme or out of the ordinary. It was honestly, so perfect because it felt like real life situations. I thought Donohue did GREAT with that aspect. I also thought the conflict in the novel was done very well. There was the wedge between the two main characters Julia and Annie. There were conflicts with the "perfect" idea of a cupcakery and then there were a couple of side conflicts that fit into the novel well. I really thought this was an excellent, fun, contemporary adult read!



The Bad: As much as I adored the characters, they did get somewhat annoying at some points. I wanted to shake Annie and tell her to just let shit go. Honestly, must you dwell on the stupid things? Move on girl. Julia on the other hand, I would have just slapped in the face if it were real life. She was acting like a whiny baby who acted like she didn't do anything wrong. But that's just nitpicky really...

Overall, I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed this novel! It went by REALLY fast and believe it or not, I read the cupcake parts while doing the elliptical and I was so interested in the book that I went further than I had intended to when I was working out. *That never happens btw* I give this book a B+!!

**I received this book free from the publisher through www.netgalley.com. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. ( )
  hankesj | May 5, 2012 |
Thank you to Jen at Bookclub Girl for providing me with a copy of this novel. Check out the interview with author Meg Donohue at her blog or use this link http://www.blogtalkradio.com/book-club-girl/2012/04/24/meg-donohue-discusses-how...

This is a cute chick lit story about two girl who grow up as friends, Anna and Julia. The story is told in alternating chapters between the voice of Anna and Julia through various months. Sometimes the story jumps in time from where the last narrator left off.

The story begins when Anna's Ecuadorian mother is taken in as the nanny/ maid by Julia's wealthy parents when she has to leave home sixteen and pregnant. Despite the differences in wealth, the two girls grow up as friends until something terrible happens that breaks the friendship when they are in high school.

The girls reconnect years later at a party thrown by Julia's mother Lolly and decide to open a cup cake bakery. The story unfolds in the months leading up to the opening of the bakery. Various vandalism incidents occur at the bakery that seem to be tied to what drove the girls apart years ago. What exactly that is is hinted at for the first two hundred pages. Julia starts out as a very unsympathetic character but by the end of the book you find yourself rooting for the friendship between the two girls.

Various supporting characters such as gigolo Jake, earnest farmer Ogden, sweet fiance Wes, and well meaning Lolly add further interest to the story. Even though Anna's mother Lucia has passed by the start of the story, her character also figures largely in the plot.

This book is part mystery, part romance, and part love letter to the special friendship that exists between women. Add to that descriptions of cupcakes that are so luscious you will soon be running out to your local bakery to fill a craving that you didn't even know that you had. ( )
  arielfl | Apr 25, 2012 |
ON MY WISH LIST
  rdh123 | Mar 27, 2012 |
I gained weight with every page

I live in San Francisco, where this novel is so evocatively set. After the coldest, dreariest, rainiest week ever, I felt I deserved a treat. I pulled How to Eat a Cupcake off the shelf.

At the novel’s heart, are two very different women with a shared past. Annie Quintana grew up in the carriage house of the St. Clair’s Pacific Heights mansion. Her mother, Lucia, was the nanny to Julia St. Clair, and the two girls were raised practically as sisters. They were the closest of friends until a rift in their teen years. The last time they’d seen each other was at Lucia’s funeral, a decade prior.

As the novel opens, Annie and Julia live very different lives. Annie is a baker who has finally accepted a catering job from Julia’s mother, Lolly. What she doesn’t know is that her erstwhile friend has left New York’s high finance whirl and has moved home for the month’s leading up to her wedding. They have an awkward (and engineered) reunion at Lolly’s party.

And that would have been that, perhaps, but Julia needs something to do with herself that doesn’t involve wedding planning and nurturing the secret she’s keeping from her fiancé and the world. In the midst of a sugar high, she proposes to Annie that they collaborate on opening a cupcake shop. Despite her distrust of Julia, Annie can’t pass up the opportunity to make her dreams come true. And so an uneasy alliance is born.

As the two women work together towards a common goal, they work to heal their fractured relationship. There are many allusions to past wrongs before the full story is eventually teased out, and there are an equal number of ominous foreshadowings, because not everyone seems to want these two to succeed. Beyond that there are subplots about men, parents, business, and many, many references to delicious cupcakes! I will warn you now, the cravings became unbearable. Kara’s Cupcakes, That Takes the Cake, American Cupcake, I hit them all! Let this serve as a warning to all dieters.

The fact that debut novelist Meg Donohue’s prose was tempting enough to send me to multiple bakeries speaks volumes. In many ways, How to Eat a Cupcake is fairly typical women’s fiction. There really weren’t too many big surprises along the way, but that’s not why I was reading it. Sometimes some semi-formulaic entertainment is exactly what you’re looking for. For me, in the midst of some god-awful dreary weather, it was exactly the literary comfort food I needed. ( )
  suetu | Mar 22, 2012 |
How To Eat a Cupcake is a story of friendship, family and forgiveness. Annie Quintana and Julia St.Clair were once as close as sisters, raised in the St Clair home by Annie's mother, the family's nanny. But it has been a decade since Annie has stepped foot in the family home, devastated by the Julia's teenage betrayal and Lucia's sudden death. The reunion between the women is marred by bitterness and resentment but nevertheless Julia offers Annie the chance to open her own cupcakery and Annie can't resist the opportunity. Working together isn't easy but the pair discover their differences are an asset in the new business and begin to develop a new appreciation for each other.

Told through alternate chapters from Annie and Julia's perspective the story of How To Eat A Cupcake reveals the history of the girls and the issues they are facing in the present. I like the structure because Annie and Julia each interpret and approach things differently, and we are able to understand both sides of the relationship.

Initially I sympathised with Annie on the assumption that she and her mother were treated badly by the St Clair family but it becomes evident that in fact Annie was given many of the same advantages as Julia and Julia's parents, were very generous employers. While I can sympathise with Annie's distress at her mother's sudden passing and the situation that arose due to Julia's careless remarks, Annie's attitude towards Julia's parents seems just plainly ungrateful. Neither does it say much about her character that despite so strongly disliking Julia, Annie was willing to take advantage of her wealth out of a twisted sense of entitlement. I actually ended up liking Julia slightly more than Annie, whose bitterness is rarely relieved.
The author deliberately predisposes us to dislike Julie who is rich, smart and effortlessly stylish, with a privileged, blinkered attitude that marks her as spoilt and entitled. As the story progresses, Donahue humanises Julia though, her behaviour is shown to be rarely deliberate but simply unthinking. She does possess the arrogance of wealth but Julia is willing to apologise, to make amends and persists, even though Annie rather churlishly continues to throw it back in her face.
Both Annie and Julia also have their own issues, Annie wants to find her mothers missing journal/recipe book and is embarking on an ill advised relationship with an old school friend while Julia is hiding a secret from her fiance. There is also romance, of sorts, for both the girls.

While the complicated relationship between the girls is a feature of the novel, there is also the mystery of the continued vandalism at 'Treat', the cupcake store they own together. The identity of the faceless man hanging around the shop is easily guessed but the identity of the vandal, and his motives, turned out to be quite a surprise.

Despite not being enamored with How To Eat A Cupcake, it is a quick and pleasant read, and if nothing else I was left craving a delicious cupcake. ( )
  shelleyraec | Mar 20, 2012 |
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! ( )
  ReviewsFromTheHeart | Mar 17, 2012 |
I loved the story in this novel about the sophisticated Julia St Clair and the spunky Annie Quintana. While as different as possible, the girls grew up together basically as sisters although Annies mother was a servant in the St Clair's home. After a falling out just prior to her mothers death, the girls are reunited at a charity event put on by Mrs St Clair where she has asked Julia to bake cupcakes. Ultimately, the girls go into business together and learn to get over their differences.

The book is about friendship and forgiveness and shows strong female leads. The guys in the story are minor characters without any depth. However, the women characters are fully developed and fun to get to know. Worth the read and an enjoyable story.

Reader received a complimentary copy from Good Reads First Reads. ( )
  dgmlrhodes | Mar 15, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
So here we have a pair of unlikely friends: the snobby, spoiled daughter of aristocrats and the savvy, curvy and outspoken first-generation American who was once her partner in crime. Sounds a bit cliche on the surface, I know, and who hasn't read a book about two friends from different sides of the tracks? But I was pleasantly surprised by Meg Donohue's How To Eat A Cupcake, though a few points didn't sit right with me. Let's peel back the cupcake liner and take a bite.

Initially, Julia is exactly the type of snot I despise: a gorgeous former prom queen who glides through life in perfect high heels. From the get-go I felt like I was on Annie's "side," believing without a doubt that Julia was capable of being manipulative and callous. It's obvious Julia is Going Through Some Things (big, oh-so-mysterioussss things) and Annie is, well . . . not. In Julia's eyes, anyway. She's too self-obsessed and delusional to realize other people have invisible wounds, too.

Annie is the tough-as-nails baker chick who doesn't let anyone -- or anything -- crack her veneer, though she's not obnoxious about it. Since losing her mother (not a spoiler; we learn this early on), she's desperate to reconnect with Lucia -- and she's convinced her mom's secrets are kept in a recipe book that also functioned as her diary. But, of course, that baby is nowhere to be found.

That's where the book derailed for me a bit -- instead of focusing on the damaged friendship between two women with a lifetime of shared history, we're presented two "mysteries" to solve: the case of someone vandalizing the cupcake shop they open in the Mission, and the creepiness of some dude who has been lurking around at night. The cases could be linked, we think, and the story dissolves into some sort of "whodunnit?" that felt awkward and out-of-place in an otherwise light novel. About cupcakes.

That's not to say it was bad. When the truth eventually came out, especially about the hooded lurker, I was surprised -- in a good way. Both Annie and Julia make amazing transformations in the story, too, which is broken down by month. Julia's calculated "way to eat a cupcake" is signature to her character -- a type-A planner; an organized control freak who can't just lose herself in a dessert. By contrast, Annie is the free-wheeling dreamer who has no trouble just biting into a pastry. And I was pleased with how their friendship changed and progressed throughout the novel.

Fans of foodie fiction and stories exploring the complexities of women's friendship will find a light, diverting read in How To Eat A Cupcake. Though I wish Donohue had delved even deeper into their shared past and explored the complications of growing up both poor and rich in the same home, it was a good read. ( )
  writemeg | Mar 9, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
As much as I really wanted to, I just couldn't finish this book. I picked it up several times since receiving it and just couldn't get into the storyline. ( )
  momofzandc2003 | Mar 8, 2012 |
As my friends can attest, I’m very much a fan of cupcakes. Some of them are like mini bites of heaven. Don’t get me started on my cupcake addiction or we’ll be here all day. Still, you now know why I couldn’t resist a title like How to Eat a Cupcake! There’s a special way you’re supposed to eat a cupcake? Have I been doing it wrong all these years? Read the rest of my review at http://popcornreads.com/?p=3265. ( )
  PopcornReads | Mar 1, 2012 |
How to Eat a Cupcake is a book that seems like it would be a fluff piece. It is not! This is the story of Annie and Julia who both grew up in the wealthy St. Clair family home. The difference between them was that Annie was the daughter of the nanny/cook and Julia was a St. Clair. The book begins several years after Annie’s mother has died while at work in the kitchen and Annie is coming back for a party, bringing cupcakes she has made at the bakery where she works. She and Julia are no longer friends due to an unknown betrayal by Julia when they were both at an exclusive prep school.
Julia is engaged and has left her job to come back home to her parent’s house. She has also had a traumatic incident that is only hinted at and it seems to be sucking all of the joy out of her wedding planning. After seeing Annie at the house she contacts her onetime friend and proposes a business partnership- a cupcakery. After an initial refusal, Annie agrees and they begin to work together.
It would be so easy for the story to develop into a happy coming together at this point but Ms. Donahue remains true to her characters and makes them work long and hard to even come to being able to be civil to each other. Both women have regrets about things they have done to each other and to other people that they need to work out. Add to the mix a mysterious vandal who seems to be bent on destroying the business and the plot gets even darker.
This book was a great read. The two main characters have a lifetime of shared experiences good and bad for the author to put out there. The members of their families and their significant others also bring out aspects to their characters that provide interest to the reader. There is a surprising twist at the end that works perfectly and brings about a resolution to issues that affect both women and their loved ones. I believe that this is Ms. Donahue’s first book and I look forward to reading further books by this talented author.
( Received egalley from Netgalley.com) ( )
  SharonR53 | Feb 26, 2012 |
I am guilty of somewhat judging a book by its cover. When I saw the cover of this book, I was smitten. It is so adorable, with all the fancy cupcakes in the shop window. I just loved it. Lucky for me, it turned out to be a pretty good read, too.

I loved the plot. Old friends who had a traumatic split in their relationship are drawn back together and create a cupcakery. I especially loved the name of the cupcakery - Treat. I loved how the very long shared past of Anna and Julia wove together and heavily influenced their present in so many ways. I thought this was a definite high point for the book.

For the characters, I was very taken with Anna. I found her to be likeable, fresh, she was a tiny bit edgy in her own way. I simply loved her. I had problems with Julia, Julia's fiancee, and Lolly, Julia's mother. Part of my problem with Julia was that I just did not like her. I found that I was not able to embrace her as a character. She felt distant and removed. I think some of this was by the author's design. Julia is a somewhat stand-offish person. However, I needed to be able to connect with her and I just could not. Each chapter alternated in narrative voice. Some chapter were narrated by Anna and some by Julia. I found myself grimacing when I would hit the Julia chapters because I did dislike her so.

My other problem with Julia overlaps with my problems with Lolly and Julia's fiancee (his name is escaping me). My problem with these three characters was that I found them to be riddled with cliches. Julia is very much the stereotypical spoiled rich girl. She never really broke that mold for me and that was disappointing. Likewise, Lolly was the overbearing rich mother who often means well but just fails miserably. And then there was the fiancee. While I liked him to a certain extend, I was bother by the same sense of him being a giant cliche. The fiancee is from the South and speaks with a southern drawl. That's fine. I love a good drawl. What I did not enjoy was that his speech was full of every single southern cliched expression. His overall character was forced into the "Southern Gentleman" role and nothing distinguished him as unique.

Despite these few problems, I did enjoy the book. It is a solid debut by Donohue. I will definitely check out future books by her. ( )
  ReadingWithMartinis | Feb 21, 2012 |
Meg Donohue's debut work, "How to Eat a Cupcake", is as well-prepared and appealing as the various exquisite cupcake creations described throughout the book! Food is such an integral part of our lives, not just for sustenance, but also for comfort and celebration. Food is also a universal communicator. Many times in our lives we express emotions that we cannot verbalize through cooking and sharing food. Annie Quintara is a baker of captivating cupcakes--blissful bites bursting with familiar flavors and unexpected, unique enhancements. Annie's mother, Lucia, was for many years the cook for the wealthy St. Clair family, whose daughter Julia was Annie's childhood friend. As the camaraderie of children gave way to class consciousness and competitiveness, the friendship lost its luster. Julia, the entitled, supremely blonde and beautiful rich girl is jealous of Annie in more ways than she can comprehend. Annie, always a bright and funny free spirit, is comfortable with her Ecuadorian heritage and exotic looks. A nasty rumor, started by Julia and later proven false, almost costs Annie her scholastic opportunities. A decade later, an unplanned reunion brings the former friends back together and sets in motion events which will forever change their lives. I was so drawn in to this story line, and I was quite involved with the characters, even though some of them were at times quite unlikeable. Even though I didn't always like the characters, I very much enjoyed reading their story. Annie is a sweetheart, and you root for her from beginning to end. Julia is much harder to accept, but after you get over the urge to slap her pretty face, then you also want her to find a happy ending. I have always known that the relationships formed in youth will affect us throughout all of our life. We may think that we can leave them behind, but they are woven into our souls with a fine and flexible thread. Meg Donohue is a worthy storyteller to follow, and I am eager to see what she will do with her second book.

Review Copy Gratis Amazon Vine ( )
  gincam | Feb 18, 2012 |
I really enjoyed reading 'How to Eat a Cupcake' by Meg Donohue. In fact after I finished the book, I looked for more books by her but couldn't find any. So, if this is her first book, I think she has done very well.

What attracted me to this book was the cover with a wonderful array of cupcakes in a cupcakery. After my mouth watered for a while, I started to read the story of two women of the same age who grew in the same house but weren't related to each other.

Anna Quintana was the daughter of the cook and housekeeper for the St. Clairs. She didn't know who her father was and her mother didn't tell her about her past. Anna had a bubbly personality, curly hair, was very creative with cupcakes. Since her mother died early and after an argument that they had had, Anna felt cheated out of a chance to reconcile with her mother. Anna was determined to be independent and vowed never to return to the house where she grew up.

Julia, the Sinclair's daughter was serious, a successful business woman, engaged to be married, ambitious and she hid her depression from everyone. Although she grew up with all the advantages, she was somewhat jealous of Anna for a wonderfully loving mother.

Julia's mother, Lolly had sent invitations to Annie before but when one came requesting her to cater a charity event for a fee, Annie's friend told her to go ahead and do it. When Julia tastes Annie's mocha flavored cupcake, it made her a little less sad and temporarily released her pain for all the secrets that she kept from every one. That cupcake made Julia to decide to open a cupcakery.

Julia and Anna's joint business tested to the limits any remains of any friendship that they had when they were young. Being together, eventually brought their closely held secrets, and provided for a slow healing between them.

'How to Eat a Cupcake' has mystery, humor, wit, surprises, sorrow, regret, anger and just about every emotion that you can imagine. At the first, I felt that Anna was just a little too bubbly but she grew on me and so did Julia. I was sad that the book ended.

I recommend this book to all who love to read about women's relationships and who enjoy an occasional delicious cupcake.

I received this book free from the Amazon Vine Program but that did not influence my review. ( )
  Carolee888 | Feb 8, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
How to Eat a Cupcake finds Annie going into business with her former friend, Julia. Julia was actually more than a friend as they grew up in the same house as sisters since Annie’s mom was Julia’s nanny. High school changed all that and the two didn’t speak for a decade. But Annie never held anything against Julia’s parents, so she agreed to provide the cupcakes for a party at the St. Clair home. The story of their estrangement and subsequent reconnection comes in alternating perspectives, which helped create a bond to both women. Instead of rooting only for Annie, I wanted Julia to find happiness as well. ( )
  nicole | Feb 3, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Annie and Julia were born into opposite stations - Annie to an Ecuadorian immigrant and Julia to a rich prep-school family - but as nanny to Julia, Annie's mother raised them both and as children they were practically sisters. High school antics drove them apart and after Annie's mother died, the two girls went their separate ways: Annie to pursue independent culinary dreams and Julia to business school.

As grown woman, the two cross paths again and though Annie is reluctant to place any trust in her old friend, Julia's wealth and business savvy hold the keys to making Annie's dream of owning her own cupcake shop a reality. Entering into a an uneasy partnership, the two find that their past of hurt, betrayals, and buried secrets soon surfaces. Annie and Julia must decide if they can overcome their differences amidst a new barrage of business challenges and threats to their shop and possibly even find their childhood friendship rekindled along the way.

Meg Donohue cooks up a winning recipe of friendship, and family, blended with puzzling mysteries in this heartwarming novel. The title How to Eat a Cupcake refers to the different styles each character has of consuming pastries perfectly and though Annie and Julia are as different as chocolate mocha and vanilla bean, each is a delightful heroine in the novel. Reminiscent of the works of Sarah Addison Allen, this was a book that brings descriptions to life in tastes and smells along with sights and sounds and if there's anything bad I have to say about this novel it's that it will certainly leave readers hungry for a cupcake after reading! ( )
  elbakerone | Feb 1, 2012 |
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