Book Review: How to Eat a Cupcake

How to Eat a Cupcake
Published By: William Morrow
Publication Date: March 13, 2012
Page Count: 320
Buy it at Amazon or IndieBound
Source: Graciously Provided by the Publisher via NetGalley
Audience: Adult - Fiction

This book had me at cupcake. I have a small addiction to delightful little treats. I am constantly seeking out cupcake shops to test out their goods and hunting for recipes to make my own yummy treats at home. I went into this expecting a light, sugary chick lit concoction, but I ended up getting so much more than that. Layered among the delicious cupcake references lurked family secrets and a dark mystery. This book took me by surprise and I loved savoring every moment of it.

How to Eat a Cupcake follows the story of Annie and Julia, two estranged childhood friends who haven't managed to get over past wrongs. However, a chance meeting at a social function, brings these two back together and sets them on to a path of becoming business partners. Julia has a mind for profits and she knows that Annie's cupcakes are delicious enough to be worth the investment. Annie eventually decides that she needs to leave her personal feelings about Julia aside in order to gain the financial capital she needs to start the bakery of her dreams.

At the heart of this book are friendship and forgiveness. I enjoyed watching Annie and Julia's friendship evolve and grow into something new. I also thought it was particularly interesting that how these women chose to eat a cupcake spoke such volumes on their personalities. These two women became dear friends to me during the hours it took me to read the book. I finished the bulk of it in one sitting. I wanted to make sure that both of these women would be okay when I had completed the last sentence. Plus, I have to admit that their journey to opening and running Treat made me want a cupcakery of my very own. I know its a lot of hard work to run a business like that, but I can't help but imagine how fun and rewarding it would also be. 

I also loved the setting of this one. Reading this book makes me want to visit San Francisco as soon as possible. Donohue does a nice job of describing the setting in such a way that I could see everything as Julia and Annie did. I have never been to San Francisco, but this novel showed me that it has a lot to offer. If only Treat really existed....

Furthermore, I fell in love with Meg Donohue's writing style. I loved that she alternated between Annie's perspective and Julia's perspective. It was nice to know what each woman was thinking. Donohue has a down to earth style that feels comfortable and warm. I can imagine spending more time in the presence of her words in the future. I was quite impressed when I learned that this was a debut novel. Its such a well put together plot and the characters are addicting and complex.

This novel is a must read for cupcake lovers, foodies, and fans of women's fiction. I hesitate to call this chick lit because in my mind that term conjures up light, fluffy romances laden with girl power and sarcasm (perhaps I am wrong in that assumption). How to Eat a Cupcake doesn't follow that format; it is much more complex. My one caution - be prepared for your sweet tooth to rise up in protest that Annie's cupcakes are only fictional. You might just have to go in search of an adequate cupcake substitute.

One Last Gripe: I wasn't ready for the story to end. I would love to read more books featuring Annie & Julia.

My Favorite Thing About This Book: The cupcakes!!!

First Sentence: People frequently make the assumption that I'm unreliable.

Favorite Character: Julia

Least Favorite Character: Jake

Funny, free-spirited Annie Quintana and sophisticated, ambitious Julia St. Clair come from two different worlds. Yet, as the daughter of the St. Clair’s housekeeper, Annie grew up in Julia’s San Francisco mansion and they forged a bond that only two little girls who know nothing of class differences and scholarships could—until a life-altering betrayal destroyed their friendship. 

A decade later, Annie is now a talented, if underpaid, pastry chef who bakes to fill the void left in her heart by her mother’s death. Julia, a successful businesswoman, is tormented by a painful secret that could jeopardize her engagement to the man she loves. When a chance reunion prompts the unlikely duo to open a cupcakery, they must overcome past hurts and a mysterious saboteur or risk losing their fledgling business and any chance of healing their fractured friendship.


  1. Meg Donohue's debut novel, "How to Eat a Cupcake," is a fun, enjoyable, and satisfying exploration of relationships tested by conflict, real and imagined betrayals, jealousy, differences in social backgrounds, and of course, secrets. There's always gotta be a good secret or two in a truly good novel! And when you add in numerous mentions of delectable-sounding cupcakes, you get a recipe for a story that your waistline will be glad you're experiencing vicariously.

  2. Thanks for the review :)
    This one wasn't even on my radar because the name made me assume (like you) that it was fluffy chick-lit, but (unlike you) I almost never want to read fluffy chick-lit. However, if it has a bit more depth, I'm tempted to check this out.

  3. You also had me at cupcake ;) Sounds like a cute book. I think anyone who can bake secretly fantasizes about opening up their own shop.

    Just how many cupcakes should I have on hand before I read this book?


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