Publication Date: July 2010
Reviewed by Lori Twichell
Maya Davis is back!!! I can’t believe I started this review with that sentence followed by three exclamation points. I will not, despite my college writing professor’s voice clamoring in my head, remove even one of those exclamation points. I may even add another at some point. I enjoyed this book that much.
Maya’s life at this juncture is all about change. She’s now dating Jack who is also one of her best friends. This transition is strange for Maya, but so far she thinks it’s a good change. She’s still trying to sort out those feelings when Jack starts at another job. She knows this means she won’t be seeing Jack all day every day at Cool Beans. Unfortunately it doesn’t take long for her to discover that she may have to go days and sometimes even a week without seeing Jack. To say the very least, this does not sit well with Maya. And just who is this Presley chick that Jack keeps talking about? No, it does not sit well at all. Oh and did I mention that her roommate Jen is getting married to Maya’s ex-boyfriend. And just to mix it up a little bit more, Jen’s mom is not pleased about the pairing. In fact, she comes to visit and ‘take care of things’ and this visit lasts much more than their usual three day rule. Anyone remember that old adage about fish and houseguests stinking after three days? Point proven in this book. Poor Calvin the Beagle doesn’t even know what to do with himself.
Having recently discovered the wonder that is Erynn Mangum’s writing, I have had the pleasure of devouring two of her books faster than Rocky Road ice cream disappears on a girl’s movie night. My poor husband wasn’t even allowed anywhere near the laptop for several days while I ravenously consumed my advanced e-copy of this fantastic book. I enjoyed Latte Daze even more than I enjoyed Cool Beans. I am now a certified Maya Davis fan and more than that, an Erynn Mangum fan.
Now don’t start thinking this book is perfect. It’s not. Like its delightful characters, it has inconsistencies and flaws, but they aren’t enough to take away from the overall package. The plot doesn’t have a lot of bells and whistles. There are no secret romances or surprise twist endings. A few times in the book you might catch your breath and be surprised, but those little spins and tricks aren’t what makes this book such a fun read. It’s the characters that make these books special. Complete with flaws, insecurities and quirks that make them more real than paper and ink, each character has the potential to teach you something that may help you become a better person. How can that possibly be fun? Learning life lessons? Really Lori? I’m sure you’re thinking it’s as unpalatable as eating vegetables and ‘health’ food, right? But trust me; it’s not like finding some way to disguise the taste of green veggies so you can choke them down. Mangum confronts her characters with their own flaws and inadequacies in day to day struggles that most, if not all of us, face. And when the characters deal with it, they’re very open about the tools they use to get past them. Even if it isn’t the character herself that helps you to learn (Mrs. Mitchell, I’m pointing at you right now) it may simply be the way that the people around that character react that teaches you something.
Another thing about the story, you can see the resolution to many of the conflicts during the first moments you see the conflict. And really, there were a couple of storylines that I expected to go somewhere but didn’t venture beyond just a couple of pages. In fact I walked myself back through the previous pages to see if I’d missed something, but I hadn’t. Perhaps because of the types of books I’ve been reading lately, I found myself looking beyond the snafus in Maya’s life and imagining that they were going to be much bigger or more dramatic than they really were. It seems that sometimes a twisted knee is just a twisted knee and not something that will lead to a bigger situation. It became refreshing and allowed me to relax more deeply into the adventure.
This isn’t complex or difficult reading. Layered with sweet flavors that define comfort food, Latte Daze is a satisfying hot fudge sundae garnished with plenty of nuts and a cherry on top.
Review copy provided by NavPress.