Review: The Sugar Queen

Title:  The Sugar Queen

Author:  Sarah Addison Allen

Published:  May 20, 2008

Page Count:  288

ISBN:  978-0553805499

My Rating:  3.5/5

In this irresistible follow-up to her New York Times bestselling debut, Garden Spells, author Sarah Addison Allen tells the tale of a young woman whose family secrets—and secret passions—are about to change her life forever.

Twenty-seven-year-old Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter in her North Carolina hometown is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her hidden closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night…. Until she finds it harboring none other than local waitress Della Lee Baker, a tough-talking, tenderhearted woman who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother…

Fleeing a life of bad luck and big mistakes, Della Lee has decided Josey’s clandestine closet is the safest place to crash. In return she’s going to change Josey’s life—because, clearly, it is not the closet of a happy woman. With Della Lee’s tough love, Josey is soon forgoing pecan rolls and caramels, tapping into her startlingly keen feminine instincts, and finding her narrow existence quickly expanding.

Before long, Josey bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who makes the best sandwiches in town, is hounded by books that inexplicably appear whenever she needs them, and—most amazing of all—has a close connection to Josey’s longtime crush. 

As little by little Josey dares to step outside herself, she discovers a world where the color red has astonishing power, passion can make eggs fry in their cartons, and romance can blossom at any time—even for her. It seems that Della Lee’s work is done, and it’s time for her to move on. But the truth about where she’s going, why she showed up in the first place—and what Chloe has to do with it all—is about to add one more unexpected chapter to Josey’s fast-changing life.

Brimming with warmth, wit, and a sprinkling of magic, here is a spellbinding tale of friendship, love—and the enchanting possibilities of every new day.

The Sugar Queen is truly a modern fairy tale.  We have the princess trapped in the castle – Josey, who is basically a prisoner in her own home, a twenty-seven year old woman who has no friends of her own and spends her days a slave to her mother’s exciting social life.  We have the fairy godmother – Della Lee, who makes it her mission to help Josey find the life she truly deserves.  And we even have the prince charming – Adam, Josey’s mailman, who she’s been in love with for years, and yet he barely knows of her existance.

This is a sweet, fun book with decent characters and some plot twists that I definitely didn’t see coming.  I liked the character of Josey but I have to admit that I did find myself getting quite annoyed with her after some time.  I mean, she’s twenty-seven and doesn’t have ANY guts whatsoever when it comes to sticking up for herself.  She can’t even be honest with her own mother!  It frustrated me to no end.  So it was a relief when she finally started to have some confidence and believe in herself (thanks to Della Lee mostly), and when this started to happen the book really improved for me.

I do think that some of the characters could have been more well-developed.  I liked the character of Chloe but felt like there could have been a lot more there for Allen to explore with her.  Same with Adam – there was just not enough depth for me.  Having said that, I loved Della Lee and she was probably my favorite of all of them – she was so feisty, so confident, yet still dealing with huge issues of her own.  She was just a great personality for me to read about.

Oh, and also … I’m a huge fan of the ending.  I totally didn’t expect what happened, and I love that.

I enjoyed The Sugar Queen.  Not one of my favorites, but a very entertaining read, especially if you are the fairy tale type.  This one’s got all the fairy tale elements wrapped up in a modern day story – so much fun. 🙂

More reviews – (let me know if I missed yours!)


11 thoughts on “Review: The Sugar Queen”

  1. I just read this book and while my review won’t appear for a while, I agree! I didn’t think of the fairy tale angle but your comparisons make a lot of sense to me. The book is definitely fun, but at times was a little too sweet for me.

  2. I never thought of it in terms of a Cinderella story! Glad you enjoyed it and especially the ending, now I just need to go read Garden Spells.

    Thanks for the link to my review 🙂

  3. Hey, I need a little help. It has been a while since I read this one. I can’t remember a lot of the details. Is there any reason I might not want my 12 year old daughter to read it?

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