About the Book

Title: Pumpkinheads
Published: 2019
Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Cover Story: Putting Their (Pumpkin) Heads Together
BFF Charm: Yay x2
Talky Talk: Short and Sweet
Arty Art: Feels Like Fall
Bonus Factors: Theme Parks, Body Positivity, Tasty Business
Relationship Status: Spring Fling Fall Forever

Cover Story: Putting Their (Pumpkin) Heads Together

This cover is SO CUTE and perfectly reflects the cuteness inside the cover. It’s like they’re lying in a field, looking up at the clouds. Only in this case, the field is a pumpkin patch.

The Deal:

It’s Josiah and Deja’s last night working at DeKnock’s World Famous Pumpkin Patch and Autumn Jamboree, and Deja’s made it her mission to help Josiah (finally) talk to a girl who works in the Fudge Shoppe, a girl Josiah’s pined over since he first laid eyes on her three years prior. (There might be time to stop for a variety of snacks and miscellaneous shenanigans/adventures along the way.)

BFF Charm: Yay x2

2 BFF charms

If I were one of the seasonal workers at DeKnock’s, I would 100% attempt to become friends with Deja and Josiah. Deja’s one of those effortlessly cool girls who takes no crap but can dole it out like a pro. And Josiah’s a total sweetheart who has no idea how much of a catch he is. Truth be told, I’d probably develop massive crushes on both of them, and then I’d just make it all awkward before the patch closed for the season.

Swoonworthy Scale: 8

Josiah’s crush on the Fudge Shoppe girl is super sweet in the way most hopeless romantic crushes are, and their quest to find her before the night’s over makes for a genuinely adorable adventure. But the real swoon comes from an unexpected source, which I am not going to spoil for you.

Talky Talk: Short and Sweet

If you’ve ever read any of Rowell’s books (or her short stories), you already know how talented she is at writing relationships. Deja and Josiah might be more friends than lovers, but the sweetness remains, and Rowell shines. That said, Pumpkinheads isn’t a flat rom-com kind of story; Rowell has also included LGBTQ+ characters, worries about what comes after high school, the varying forms of friendship, and body positivity (but more on that below). Pumpkinheads is another excellent example of how the graphic novel format can be so much more than people might assume.

Arty Art: Feels Like Fall

Hicks’ art is equal parts realistic and too cute for words. Her characters aren’t wholly realistic, but that doesn’t make them less believable. And her backgrounds are lush and filled with detail. Even the panels that don’t have to do with the main story are telling a story. (I’m looking at you, Buck sequences.) The panels scream Fall in the best of ways. (Props to Sarah Stern for her excellent color work, too!)

Bonus Factor: Theme Parks

DeKnock’s is like the Disneyland of pumpkin patches and I would spend So Much Money to visit it, were it a real place. Fall is my favorite season, and DeKnock’s showcases everything that’s delightful about the season, from food like kettle corn to corn mazes to pumpkin pie and fall foliage. It’s an absolute dream.

Bonus Factor: Body Positivity

Willowdean and Ellen wearing bathing suits with positive body messages taped to them in a scene from Dumplin

Deja spends much of the book unapologetically stopping at many of the food stands. At one point, a bratty child comments on her weight. Deja’s visibly a little bothered by the comment but doesn’t let it rile her for long. (And Josiah stands up for her in a really salty way that had me chuckling for a few pages afterward.)

Bonus Factor: Tasty Business

Signs at a carnival or fair for Lemonade, Cotton Candy and more.

DeKnock’s has all sorts of food stands, and Deja and Josiah hit up or pass by many of them on their mission: Fresh kettle corn, pie, fudge, s’mores, Frito pie, succotash, and something called a Pumpkin Bomb, which is vanilla ice cream sandwiched between pieces of pumpkin pie and dipped in chocolate.

I MEAN.

Word to the wise, don’t read this book if you’re already hungry. ‘Cause you will be when you’re done.

Relationship Status: Spring Fling Fall Forever

From the moment we met, Book, I had a feeling that this wasn’t going to be a brief affair. While we might not be the most passionate pair, our smoldering love will long outlast the dying leaves and sweater weather, but there’s no better season to have first kindled our love.

Literary Matchmaking

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories

For similarly cute seasonal stories—including one by Rowell—check out the short story collection My True Love Gave to Me.

Comics Will Break Your Heart

Although Hicks is most well-known for her comics, Her prose novel, Comics Will Break Your Heart is a sweet (and comic-related) contemporary romance.

Bloom

Bloom by Kevin Panetta and Savanna Ganucheau might take place in the summer, but it’s an equally sweet story that features a love of good food.

FTC Full Disclosure: I bought a copy of this book with my own money and got neither a private dance party with Tom Hiddleston nor money in exchange for this review. Pumpkinheads is available now.

Mandy (she/her) is a manager at a tech company who lives in Austin, TX, with her husband, son, and dogs. She loves superheroes and pretty much any show or movie with “Star” in the name.