Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Secret of a Heart Note ~ Stacey Lee review [@epicreads @staceyleeauthor @KatherineTegen]

The Secret of a Heart Note
Katherine Tegen Books
December 27, 2016
384 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Love chose me, and I tried, but I couldn’t stop the arrow in its flight.

As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, fifteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of using her extraordinary sense of smell to mix base notes, top notes, and heart notes into elixirs that help others fall in love.

All while remaining incurably alone.

For Mim, the rules are clear—falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school existence—taking up a sport and limping away flush from victory, joining the debate club and saying things like “That’s a logical fallacy!” Having a boyfriend.

When she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the school soccer star to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that when it comes to falling in love, the choice isn’t always hers to make.

If you were better than I was at reading email the week after Christmas, you may have have read the first chapters of The Secret of a Heart Note thanks to Epic Reads' FIRST5. (If not, maybe they're still in your inbox? You should go check.)

The Secret of a Heart Note has one of my favorite first lines: "Most people don't know that heartache smells like blueberries." It's such a wonderful introduction to Mim and the whole idea of aromateurs.  Everything else about this books is contemporary, realistic YA fiction, but then we have the fact that Mim and her mother, as aromateurs, have a super sense of smell that allows them to create carefully mixed elixirs that help others fall in love. It's a great, fun bit of magic.

For so long that's has been all of Mim's life: her mother, their garden, learning scents, the life destined for her. But it is not all that she wants, she also wants a normal, teenage life.

She's managed to convince her mother to let her attend public high school but it's not long before managing her school work and her work with scents becomes difficult.

I really enjoyed the premise of this book, what Mim and her mother (and their ancestors) are able to do, the sort of 'rules' around all of it and how it's shaped her life. I also liked that it was something everyone knew about (not something she had to hide) but that it also made people wary of her. All of that - Mim's past, that she's spent so long not interacting with a lot of people, not at school, what's expected of her as an aromateur, trying to balance everything - comes together to make Mim a unique character and to make for a fun story.

It was fun discovering more about Mim, about aromateurs and how it all works, as she struggled to fix her mistakes and stay within the rules - or figure out if they needed breaking.

The Secret of a Heart Note is a sweet story about Mim growing up, deciding what she wants and how to fit that into what has always been expected of and for her. It was nice to see a fuller picture of Mim's relationship with her mother as the story progressed. I didn't quite get why the novel's romance started but liked it once it had.

(There are also a number of plants I now want to see/smell . . . )

finished copy received from publisher, for review

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