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Host a party inspired by the aromateurs from Stacey Lee's The Secret of a Heart Note!


Welcome back to Totally Lit Parties, a feature in which Corrie shows you how to throw YA-themed parties!

The Secret of a Heart Note is one of those books that you make grabby hands at upon finding out the description. After you read it, you'll want to share it with a friend, planting a seed of excitement and watching it bloom as they get into the story. What better way to share this delicious book than throwing a party to celebrate it so you can escape to its world for a little longer?


An obvious invitation is this Santa Guadalupe High homecoming tradition:

If somebody buys you a burger, that’s an invitation to the dance. Eat it and accept the invitation.

How you choose to create a cheeseburger depends on what makes the most sense for your group.

•  Hand out actual cheeseburgers with stickers on the wrappers with the party details.

•  Put gummy cheeseburgers in a small box.

•  Craft cards that looks like cheeseburgers.

•  Send postcards that feature cheeseburgers.

No matter which way you choose, you'll know your guests are saying 'yes' if they accept your cheeseburger.

What to Wear

Mim shops for clothes on a budget and has to keep accidental skin contact to a minimum. While she drew the line at gloves, you don’t have to. You could also take a note from Kali by wearing items that fit your culture or heritage. Other options include making your own Puddle Jumper t-shirt, or dressing like your favorite love-hungry adult. (I’d totally channel Ms. DiCarlo with Clorox wipes and a manuscript in hand.)


Get Dirty

•  Paper Flowers: Make paper flowers of varying sizes to create your own unique bouquet, using book pages, origami, or even coffee filters. Better yet, make them all to create a fun look that’s as complex as your heart notes.

•  Potted Plants: Not everyone can have a giant garden like Mim does, so bring the greenery indoors instead. Decorate plant pots with paint and tape, or decoupage them with tissue paper or other items (like a map).

•  Brown Thumb: If you’re like me, keeping plants alive is beyond your skill set. Never fear; check out these ideas for DIY faux plants! I’m partial to the pincushion cacti, but I can’t get over how adorable the cardboard ones look.

•  Book It: Making your own pressed flower bookmarks is super simple. You will need:

-  Clothes iron

- Wax paper

- Parchment paper

- Flowers

- Scissors

Fold a piece of wax paper in half; this will be the maximum size of the finished bookmark. Reopen the wax paper after the crease has been created, and place flowers on one of the halves in a design of your choosing. Fold the other half of wax paper on top of the flowers and gently press. Cover with parchment paper and iron to melt the wax paper together. Check on the wax paper regularly; the bookmark will be finished when it becomes mostly translucent and doesn’t peel apart. Trim the wax paper, if necessary. This bookmark can also double as a window decoration. 

•  Bath Bomb: In addition to creating love potions, Mim uses her knowledge of plants to help people with everyday ailments. Making your own therapeutic bath bombs is a fun activity and a great party favor that's both simple and highly customizable. Check out this link for detailed directions.

•  Sniff Test: A companion activity to making bath bombs is conducting a scent test. Cover the labels of the oil bottles and number them. (Make sure to create an answer key beforehand.) Pass them around to see who can identify the most scents. Increase the level of difficulty by mixing a few scents together, to see who can identify the multifaceted aromas.

Get Out

•  Garden Time: Mim gets some of her plants from a local botanical garden, so take a trip to the one nearest you. A lot of public gardens also have small workshops or lectures (typically for free).

•  Surf’s Up: If you live near a body of water, head down to the beach. The beach (and salt water in particular) play an important role in the story. If you’re extra adventurous, take a surfing lesson!

•  Kick It: Court plays soccer, and the big homecoming game is a soccer match. Check around for a local high school or college game that you can attend. If not, sometimes sports bars will show soccer games (especially if you ask).

•  Slam: In honor of Kali, who's an excellent poet, attend a poetry reading or hold one of your own.

•  Volunteer: Mim and Kali volunteer with a local group called the Puddle Jumpers. Find an organization that could use some volunteers and spend an afternoon helping out. If there's a greater need for donations, organize a drive.

•  Thrifty: Mim buys her clothes at a second-hand shop. Head out to a local thrift store to put together some awesome outfits, hold a scavenger hunt, or even gather supplies for other activities (e.g., a teacup could become a planter, and an ice cube tray a bath bomb mold).

Tasty Business and Boozy Beverages

A fresh and organic meal is a great way to honor the story. Toss together a salad that includes different types of lettuce and some colorful fruit or vegetables for added visual interest. A seven-spice soup will give guests lots of aromas to identify. Dirt pudding cups with sprigs of fresh mint 'planted' would be a fun dessert. Additionally, you can purchase edible flowers to decorate any dishes. If you're hosting a brunch, banana scones would be perfect for your menu.

Concoct a signature cocktail for the event, maybe with elderflower, rosewater, or lavender. A mint julep or sangria would also work. For a non-alcoholic option, make homemade lemonade or water flavored with different fruits. Use glass pitchers to show off the beauty of the ingredients.

Do you have any other The Secret of a Heart Note-themed party ideas? Let us know in the comments!

Corrie Golando lives in Lafayette, IN, with her husband and two greyhounds.  She spent 10 years as a middle school/high school English teacher, and her students gave her a love for all things YA.  When she's not working at the high school library, she is writing fanfiction and doing something crafty.  She has a love of all things coated in glitter, much to her husband's horror.