Title: Caramel Hearts Author: E. R. Murray Publisher: Alma Books Published: 26th May 2016 Pages: 300 Format: Paperback Source:: Review Copy Add It:Goodreads, Amazon UK, The Book Depository
Summary: Liv Bloom’s life is even more complicated than that of your average fourteen-year-old: her father walked out on the family when she was young, her mother is in a recovery centre for alcoholics, and her older sister is struggling to step into Mum’s shoes. The only person she can turn to is her best friend Sarah, who gets out of scrapes at school and is a constant source of advice and companionship. One day Liv discovers a book of recipes written in her mum’s handwriting, which sets her off on a journey towards self-discovery and reconciliation – but a theft, a love rivalry and a school bully are just some of the many obstacles on the way.
Structured around real cake recipes, Caramel Hearts is a coming-of-age novel about love, disappointment and hope, and discovering the true value of friends and family, no matter how dysfunctional they are.
Caramel Hearts is a strong, moving, and wonderful piece of fiction that I am incredibly glad that I have had a chance to read. When I first discovered this book, I was ithcing to get my hands on it as it sounded like the perfect book for me and yet, despite it not being exactly what I first thought, I still very much enjoyed the book. From the title and description, I thought this book would be a light, fluffy and fun read but that is not the case. This book, instead, deals with sensitive topics, and has depth to it that I absolutely loved. On top of all of that, I also really enjoyed the recipes that ran alongside the story as well, and how it all linked in with the story too.
What really drew me into this book was the brilliant plot. It was captivating, well thought-out and really gripped me from beginning until the end. There were times when I just wanted to scream at the main protagonist but this just added to my overall enjoyment of the book. E. R. Murray has really thought the story out and intertwined a really interesting and fascinating plot onto the pages. I was reading and knowing that if the book did not end how I wanted it to, I was going to very much dislike the book but, fortunately, while it wasn’t exactly the ending I had hoped for, it wasn’t the one I did not want. Plus, it just really worked for the book.
If there is one thing that I love in books, it is in depth and moving characters and Caramel Hearts had this by the shedload. From our main protagonist, Olivia, who has a lot going on in her head and more flaws than you could count on one hand, to the side character of Mad Dog, this book was flowing with wonderfully vibrant characters that were all unique. Personally, I have to say my favourite characters was probably Jack. He was so kind and gentle and I just loved reading about him a lot. He had his issues to deal with too but he was just such a well-rounded and wonderful character that you just cannot help to love him, or I couldn’t anyway!
Overall, I very much enjoyed this book. It was addictive and gripping; I simply had to know how it was all going to end. I loved the characters, the setting, the issues. It was all so different to what I normally read but a lot closer to the school I went to as a teenager. I just very much enjoyed the entire book and am so glad that I read it. I would highly recommend it, especially if you love books that handle deep issues and are about lower-income families from not-so-nice backgrounds. Also, if you love books that are full of depth with vivid and wonderful characters, then you should definitely give this book a try!
** I received this copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I was not compensated nor was I required to write a positive review. **