Stay Sweet

Book review by
Amanda Nojadera, Common Sense Media
Stay Sweet Book Poster Image
Heartwarming summer tale promotes perseverance and teamwork.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Teens will get a brief look at the amount of work and effort that goes into running a business. They might also be inspired to try making their own ice cream.

Positive Messages

Teens will learn the importance of perseverance, courage, and teamwork. Be confident and assertive. Dream big if you want to succeed. Look for the green lights, not the stop signs.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Molly lived life on her own terms and never let anyone tell her what she couldn't do. She had the courage and confidence to start her own business when no one else believed in her except her friends. Amelia is sweet, sensitive, and cares deeply about others, which Cate says makes her vulnerable to getting taken advantage of, but she perseveres through every obstacle she encounters. As the story progresses, Amelia becomes more confident in herself and her ability to lead others. Although Cate can sometimes be manipulative and passive-aggressive, she encourages Amelia to be confident and assertive when it comes to dealing with Grady. 

Violence
Sex

Teens kiss. Brief mention of condoms.

Language

Strong language includes variations of "s--t," "f--k," "son of a bitch," "ass," "crap," "heck," "Jesus," and "screw you."

Consumerism

Grady's dad wants him to implement changes at Meade Creamery that would make the ice cream stand more profitable. When Grady refuses, his dad cuts off his credit cards.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Underage drinking at a party. Mention of beer bottles, cigarette butts, Adderall, and getting high in Amsterdam.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Stay Sweet is a heartwarming contemporary YA novel with plenty of positive messages for teens about courage, perseverance, and teamwork. The main character, Amelia Van Hagen, works at a ice cream stand that's exclusively managed by local girls until Molly Meade, the founder, passes away. Molly leaves Meade Creamery to her grandnephew, Grady, who plans to keep the ice cream stand open but has plenty of changes in mind. There's once instance of underage drinking at a party and mentions of beer bottles, cigarette butts, Adderall, and getting high in Amsterdam. Teens kiss and there's a brief mention of condoms. Strong language includes variations of "s--t" and "f--k."

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What's the story?

In 1944, Molly Meade started making "ice cream so sweet you won't miss your sweetheart" to cheer up her girlfriends while the boys were away fighting in the war. Her ice cream stand, Meade Creamery, is now an iconic Sand Lake summer tradition and has always been managed by local girls. When 17-year-old Amelia finds out she's "Head Girl" after working at the stand for the past three summers, she's convinced that her last summer in Sand Lake before college is going to be the best ever with her best friend Cate by her side. But when Molly passes away a couple of days before the stand is set to open, Amelia isn't sure that Meade Creamery can go on without its founder. And she definitely doesn't know what to think when Molly's grandnephew Grady arrives with plans to change Meade Creamery. Will things STAY SWEET in Sand Lake this summer, or will Meade Creamery close forever?

Is it any good?

Teens will love the vivid small-town setting, realistic characters, and the deliciously detailed descriptions of ice cream in Siobhan Vivian's heartwarming novel. It's clear that Meade Creamery is more than just a summer job for the girls of Sand Lake. It's a place for them to grow, support each other, and form lasting friendships. Although Amelia faces many challenges this summer, it's inspiring to see her become a confident young woman who will Stay Sweet no matter what obstacles are thrown her way. Readers, especially girls, will feel empowered to follow their own dreams and see that running a business involves plenty of courage, perseverance, and teamwork.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Stay Sweet takes place over a summer. Why are books about life-changing summers so popular? Why is summer such a magical time for teens? What are some of your favorite books set in summer?

  • How do the characters demonstrate courageperseverance, and teamwork? Why are these important character strengths?

  • How are romantic relationships treated in the book? Do they seem realistic?

Book details

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