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Stay Sweet: 08/09/19
Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian opens with the promise of being a lighthearted summer YA about scooping ice cream. Amelia and Cate are at their last summers of scooping ice cream at the Meade Creamery. Amelia has been promoted to head girl. On the day before opening, everything goes wrong when Amelia discovers Molly Meade dead in the creamery.
Now if Stay Sweet were a cozy mystery, Amelia would open the creamery and spend her free time tracking down the murderer. Would it be one of the other girls? An old lover? Someone who wanted the last for something else?
But this isn't a cozy mystery. Molly Meade was old and she died of natural causes. Her death though is the event that thrusts Amelia into a completely different direction.
The all female company is now headed by a grandnephew, Grady. The recipes are missing. No one knows how to use the machine to make more ice cream. And there's only a limited supply.
So Amelia does her best to step into Molly's shoes, giving the head girl position to Cate. Can she recreate Molly's lifetime of work in a single summer? Or will she be too distracted by handsome Grady?
My one quibble with the book is the cover design. It contains a huge spoiler for the ultimate direction of book. It's also the first big clue that this small town YA/NA fits into the road narrative spectrum.
Amelia spends most of this book as a marginalized traveler (66) . She's marginalized by her youth and by the fact that she has no vested stage in Molly Meade Creamery, even if she has the most knowledge about the company.
The setting of this novel is rural (33) Sand Lake, a town that saw its heyday in the 1940s and has been shrinking ever since. This novel is a road narrative where events are put into play with the arrival of a stranger to this rural place. Grady is both a means to an end and a foil.
Finally there is the route that Amelia takes. Though she is tied to the ice cream stand, she travels constantly between it and the house behind it. She also goes to the lake and to other spots around the town. Most of her journeys are offroad (66) and on foot. But they are still tied to the conflict between place and road.
Put all together, Stay Sweet is the novel of a marginalized traveler going offroad a rural setting.