Twelve-year-old Isabel is dying to get out of Oregon. She spends her free time in the library, reading and dreaming about faraway places. When her mom decides to open a cupcake shop in their little town of Willow, Isabel feels just like buttercream frosting to a cupcake-stuck. It seems as if it will be another disappointing summer, until Isabel learns of a baking contest. If she can come up with a winning recipe, she might have a chance of competing in the bake-off in New York City! But Isabel's best friend, Sophie, is also entering the contest, and things always seem to go Sophie's way. To make matters worse, Isabel and her mom don't exactly see eye-to-eye on the type of recipe Isabel should enter. In this sweet treat by popular teen author Lisa Schroeder, Isabel discovers that maybe it's not about where you go in life as much as it is about enjoying the view from wherever you are.
This was a really cute book. I thought it had some important lessons in it about dealing with jealousy in friendships. Isabel feels like her friend Sophie always gets whatever she wants. Isabel frustrated with her feelings of coming in second to Sophie quite often. In the end, she learns to work out these problems.
The one aspect of this book I didn't particularly enjoy was the attitude of Isabel's mother. She seemed to be suffering from depression or bipolar disorder. I don't know exactly what was going on there. I understand that it's an issue that some kids do have to face, but it seemed to bring the whole book down a lot. If there was some explanation perhaps, on a kid level, of what the problem was, maybe it would have made a lot more sense. Maybe. I'm looking at it from the viewpoint of an adult though, a kid might not notice it or care, I don't know.
However, overall I did like the book a lot. I loved all the cupcakes mentioned in the book and there were recipes at the end. It would be a great book for an older middle grader and they might want to try out the recipes.