Reviewed by Jaglvr for TeensReadToo.com
Penny Lane is definitely a fish out of water. She has moved to Hog's Hollow with her mother. Hog's Hollow is her mother's hometown, and they've temporarily moved in with Penny's grandmother. At least that's what her mom has told her. Penny would much rather return to New York and live with her father.
Penny's not looking forward to starting school in her new town. Before school starts, a disaster occurs at a birthday party. Her mom has opened a cupcake business in town and the father of the birthday girl caused the food table to tumble. But no one blames Mr. Wharton. All eyes are on Penny and her mom.
When Penny arrives at her new school, of course Charity, the birthday girl, is the queen of all and makes life miserable. It starts with a play on her name when she opens her locker and hundreds of pennies come tumbling out. The only bright spot in the fiasco is that she is befriended by independent Tally. But the pennies are only the first of many attempts to torture Penny.
Penny constantly wants to return to New York. Her mom isn't communicating with her, and conversations with her father are limited. Her grandma tries to get her to talk to her mom. And Penny is stuck working at the cupcake bakery. Penny is creative though, and designs amazing artwork on each of the cupcakes.
Through it all, Penny encounters a boy and his dog on the beach. Slowly, she learns about Marcus and the secrets that he's keeping. It turns out that everyone seems to have secrets deep inside. As Penny's wish to return to New York becomes reality, she comes to the realization that there's more to Hog's Hollow than she realized. Does she want to return to New York or finally make Hog's Hollow home?
Reading THE CUPCAKE QUEEN made me think of Jenny B. Jones' SO NOT HAPPENING novel. Both have the main character, a city girl, stuck in the middle of a small town. Penny is torn between her old life and the life that is being forced upon her. It takes other interesting students to make her realize what she has even in light of the hassles received from Charity and her gang.
I enjoyed reading THE CUPCAKE QUEEN quite a bit and sat down and finished it in one evening. It's one of those stories that you don't want to see end. I'd love to see more of Penny and her friends!!