Monday, June 25, 2018

Salted Caramel Dreams by Jackie Nastri Bardenwerper, 2018

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Jasmine and Kiara have been best friends forever. They've always shared everything, down to their favorite salted caramel dessert. But this year, everything changes -- Kiara joins the school basketball team, and is suddenly too cool to be friends with Jasmine. Jasmine has never felt more alone.

Her mom signs her up for a dance class against her will, and she hates it at first, but it starts to grow on her. One of the other girls in class, Ava, is really nice, and her best friend, Joseph, is very cute! Things are looking up.

But just when Jasmine is starting to be comfortable with her new normal, Kiara reaches out. Can the girls help each other when they need it most?

(240 pages)

This. This is exactly what I needed to start off the summer.

It's grabbing and interesting and has a good message, but at the same time it's light and rather fluffy and fun. It's not stressful, there are no big dark secrets or terrible decisions. Jasmine's best friend drops her for the cool kids, and Jasmine has to find her own path. I loved it.

Maybe I'd have reviewed it a little more negatively if I'd read it in a different frame of mind (it's not exactly breaking new ground, here!), but for the purpose it offers to serve it does a lovely job. I cared about Jasmine, I loved the descriptions of her projects and plans for an Etsy shop, and I was angry when Kiara hurt her. I've done some drama myself, so it was easy to understand what she was going through in auditioning and preparing for the play, and I loved watching her shake herself off and find new hobbies and form new friendships after Kiara dumped her. Too many MG school-drama books are way too melodramatic and ridiculous; this was just the right balance of hurt and maturity.

Also, the climax was slightly too convenient but it played off well enough that I found it to still be plausible and certainly enjoyable.

Basically, Salted Caramel Dreams is exactly what it says on the tin–and probably better than you were thinking it would be. Now that I'm finished with it I want only two things: 1) more books in this Swirl series and 2) a salted caramel steamer. Those things sound awesome!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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