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Who Can Take A Sunrise, Sprinkle It With Dew?

Forever Young Adult Presents: A review of Love? Maybe. by Heather Hepler

Who Can Take A Sunrise, Sprinkle It With Dew?

BOOK REPORT for Love? Maybe. by Heather Hepler

Cover Story: Tasty
BFF Charm: Yes
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: Vanilla
Bonus Factors: Candy, Private School, Boy Next Door, Awesome Grownups
Anti-Bonus Factor: the Atlanta Braves
Relationship Status: Crush? Maybe.

Cover Story: Tasty

You guys, I never thought I'd be happy about the way retailers push us from one holiday to the next like a cruise ship tour guide hustling tourists through the Uffizi, but this book cover makes me SO GLAD Valentine's Day is already on store shelves, because YUM CANDY GET IN MAH BELLEH. Even the twee hearts are ok, thanks to the clean, white cover and near-total absence of hot pink. Also, YUM CANDY GET IN MAH BELLEH.

The Deal:

Piper's birthday is Valentine's Day, and nothing could be less appropriate. She's not a romantic -- she broke off with the last guy she dated because he pronounced "robot" as "row-butt" (a worthy reason) -- and it's easy to see why. Her dad left when she was little and her stepdad took off a year ago, and her mom still hasn't been able to get back on her feet. After her BFF's boyfriend dumps her, Piper reluctantly goes along with their friend Jillian's plan to snag dates by V-Day -- for Claire's sake, of course -- and ends up dating Ben Donovan, the most crushed-on boy at school. But is it enough to thaw her cynical little type-A heart? And why does it bug her so much when Jillian moves in on Piper's best guy friend/boy next door Charlie, who seems to be pulling away from Piper?

BFF Charm: Yes

Oh, Pipe, I swear I could hear an echo of 17-year-old me when you went off on Valentine's Day being a commercial creation designed to make money by ensmuggening the already-smug couples and depressing single people, and you have a much better reason to feel that way than I did. I'm glad you have Jillian and Claire and all your friends, but I'd be happy to join y'all, and not just for the free chocolates from your job at the candy store. Besides, while it's nice you're learning how not to be cynical ALL the time, I could remind you that being cynical MOST of the time, or at least sometimes, is damn funny, and in return, you could organize my life.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

There're lots of little romances fluttering around here, complete with sloppy grins and butterfly tingles, and my all-time favorite, the boy next door, but none of them amp up the swoonworthy scale. I guess it's asking a little too much to want more of ALL the stories -- that didn't work out so well for Valentine's Day -- but would it hurt to get more dish on Jillian's and Piper's mom's romances, especially since Jillian's the one who gets the Michael Moscovitz type?

Talky Talk: Vanilla

Like really good vanilla ice cream, Hepler's style is unremarkable and easy on the palate, with a few strong notes to make you glad you went with a classic instead of raspberry-hazelnut-fudge-caramel surprise. Piper's sarcasm is frequently snortworthy, and Hepler makes wise use of it to paint a picture.

Bonus Factor: Candy

Piper's after-school job is helping out at Jan the Candy Man, a boutique candy store down the block from her mom's flower shop. A CANDY STORE. That is LIVING THE DREAM. I must have consumed 17 pounds of chocolate while reading this book, including these unbelievably yummy caramels my mom made that have approximately two days' worth of calories each. Piper gets to help Jan come up with taffy flavors and her cute little "Consternation Hearts" -- little candy hearts like those chalky-but-awesome conversation hearts, except they say things like "U Stink" and "No Way" instead of "Be Mine" and "Call Me".

Bonus Factor: Private School

This private school has morning break after first period! And a coffee bar in the caff! It's enough to overcome my long-standing bias towards public schools. You can bet test scores would be higher if all schools had coffee bars and morning break. I've heard cinnamon rolls are really good for study skills, too.

Bonus Factor: Boy Next Door

Charlie's not really a Brian Krakow -- he's a well-built, 6-foot-plus state champion swimmer who has a sense of humor and a majorly adorbs way with little kids -- but he IS the classic BND. He and Piper have known each other since they were in diapers, and meet every night on Piper's roof to wish on stars and finish each others' sentences.

Bonus Factor: Awesome Grownups

Even though Piper's mom works crazy hours, since Valentine's Day is a florist's busiest season, she's really awesome and understanding. And Piper's stand-in dad, her boss Jan, is exceedingly cool. He gives Piper and her friends a ton of freedom, respects their ideas, genuinely likes hanging out with them, but still looks out for their safety and isn't a gross pedo.

Anti-Bonus Factor: The Atlanta Braves

OK, so they're only mentioned twice in the book and have no bearing on it at all, except as an incidental example of male bonding, but I HATE THE BRAVES WITH THE FIRE OF A ZILLION SUNS and cannot ignore any appearance of theirs EVER, BECAUSE THEY SUCK. Thanks for letting me get that off my chest.

Casting Call:

Ashley Rickards as Piper

I'm not sure who'd be good at playing a slightly grumpy Type A, but maybe Ashley Rickards could give it a shot.

Taylor Kitsch as Charlie

He's definitely sweeter and less messed up than old Tim Riggins (though he does have his sad secrets), but FYA standby Taylor Kitsch would be a great Charlie. I'd pay double to see him in the dance party scene with Piper's little kid brother and sister.

Relationship Status: Crush? Maybe.

This book has a lot going for it, and I'm not just talking about the candy. It's funny and sweet, and has some mild chemistry happening. I really liked flirting with it in class, and will admit to changing the way I get to 3rd period so I can pass it in the halls. I might not admit I have a crush on it yet, but I do blush whenever my BFF teases me about it, and I'm going to make sure I'm at the game Friday night so we can run into each other.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Penguin. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Love? Maybe will be available January 5.

Meghan Miller's photo About the Author: Meghan is an erstwhile librarian in exile from Texas and writer for Forever Young Adult. She loves books, cooking and homey things like knitting and vintage cocktails. Although she’s around books all the time, she doesn’t get to read as much as she’d like.