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Lisa Schroeder is the author of the teen verse novels The Day Before; I Heart You, You Haunt Me and its companion novel, Chasing Brooklyn; Far from You; and the teen prose novel Falling for You. She is also the author of the middle grade prose novels It’s Raining Cupcakes, Sprinkles and Secrets, and Frosting and Friendship. She lives in Beaverton, Oregon. Find out more about Lisa and her books at LisaSchroederBooks.com or on Twitter at @Lisa_Schroeder.
There’s the real kind of happiness when you have to smile because you feel so good inside. It’s like you’ve just eaten the most delicious cupcake or cuddled with the most adorable kitten. When you look around, everything looks like it’s trimmed in gold. Beautiful. Joyful. Happy.
Then there’s the fake kind of happiness. Something is supposed to make you happy. Your brain keeps saying you should be happy about this and you want to be, but no matter how hard you try to feel the real happiness, for some reason you can’t. So you smile anyway and put on the best happy show you can because you don’t want to look like a bad person. Sometimes, though, if you’re lucky, the fake happiness eventually and magically turns into real happiness.
Today I’m supposed to feel happy and excited. Instead I feel sad and jealous. No one knows that, though. I made sure of it. All day at school I was the picture of happiness. I should get an Emmy for my performance today. Or an Oscar. Or, at the very least, a new tube of lip gloss, because my lips are really dry from all that smiling.
As I ride my yellow mountain bike home, my legs pumping hard and fast and my face all scrunched up and ugly because I don’t have to pretend to be happy anymore, I think of that horrible old woman, Miss Gulch, from The Wizard of Oz. The one who took Toto from Dorothy? I probably look like her. What a scary thought.
I take a deep breath, slow down my sad and jealous legs, and tell myself to relax. And then I turn my thoughts to the list of things I go to when I’m in serious need of cheering up. Well, not an actual list. That might be weird to have a piece of paper with Sophie’s List of Pick-Me-Ups written at the top and then a list of items that fill the page.
Usually I’m a pretty happy person. But there are some days, like today, when the world feels like a big, rotten tomato. (For the record, I hate tomatoes.)
I go over my mental pick-me-up list and realize that with the long, boring weekend stretching out ahead of me, I’m going to need almost every single thing on the list to help me through it.
First on the list is my dog. Daisy is a Havanese, which means she’s an adorable, white bundle of fluffiness. And before you think I’m really shallow and only love my dog because of how she looks, when I say she’s cute, I mean even her personality is cute! When she wags her tail, which is a lot of the time, her whole body wiggles. She has a small collection of stuffed animals (ones I used to play with) that she’s claimed as hers, and she loves it when I grab one and throw it so she can chase it and bring it back to me to play tug-of-war. And when I’ve worn her out from tossing a bear or a tiger down the hallway a hundred times, she’ll set the stuffed animal down, crawl into my lap, and paw at my hand as if to say, Pet me, pet me! See? So cute!
Next on the list is my best friend, Isabel. What can I say about Isabel? She’s the best friend a girl could have. She used to live in the duplex next to ours, but they moved last summer so her mom could open a cupcake shop. The shop is called It’s Raining Cupcakes, and Isabel and her parents live in an apartment above it. I think it’s pretty great, and I’m happy her mom is living out her dream, but I miss having Isabel right next door. We still see each other a lot, but won’t this weekend, which brings me to the actual reason the world feels like a big, rotten tomato.
Isabel is out of town, in New York City, so she can’t be a part of my cheer-myself-up plan. In fact, her being in New York City is the reason I’m not happy. She entered a baking contest through a magazine and her recipe was good enough to earn her a spot in the bake-off. The finalists all flew to New York this morning, where they’ll compete in the bake-off tomorrow.
I’m the one who told Isabel about the contest. I’m glad she got to go, but I wanted to go too! I wanted to compete for the grand prize of one thousand dollars. That’s a lot of money, and it would have paid for some singing and acting lessons, something I really want to do so I can be an actress someday.
When I woke up this morning, it hit me pretty hard that Isabel was in New York City while I was stuck here, in the small town of Willow, and my happiness quickly disappeared. It’ll be back one of these days—hopefully by the time Isabel gets home and tells me whether or not she won the contest.
In the meantime, back to my list. Musicals. I love, love, LOVE musicals. Movies like The Sound of Music, The Wizard of Oz, Annie, Hairspray, Mamma Mia!, and High School Musical. I have a whole collection of musical movies I’ve gotten as gifts since I was six years old. When I’m feeling down, I pop one in and snuggle up with my favorite blanket and a good snack. Soon everything fades away. In fact, it fades away so much that halfway through the movie, I’m usually up and singing along. I can’t help it! It’s like I want to be in the movie singing those songs so bad, I just have to get up and do the closest thing to it—singing and dancing around in my bedroom (usually in my purple pajamas).
Fourth on the list is shopping. I don’t even have to buy anything, it’s just fun to look at all of the cool clothes, sparkly jewelry, and beautiful shoes. Sometimes I’ll try on shoes I know my mom would never approve of in a million years and pretend I’m a movie star with a red-carpet event I have to attend. You know, like it’s absolutely crucial that I have the right pair of shoes. Now that’s a type of pretending I don’t mind at all.
Finally, chocolate. There’s a little plaque that hangs in our kitchen. It’s been there for as long as I can remember. It says HAND OVER THE CHOCOLATE AND NO ONE GETS HURT. I can just imagine a bank robber going into a bank, strolling up to the counter, and saying those words. At first, the bank teller is terrified. But when the robber demands chocolate instead of money, the teller says, “Oh, honey, I sure do understand. It’s been one of those days, huh?”
I love chocolate. It’s definitely my snack of choice, when given an option. I know, I know. I should be eating apples, bananas, and carrots, and I do eat those things, I swear! But like my mom always says—everything in moderation.
Last summer, as I thought about a cupcake recipe for the Baker’s Best baking contest, I knew I wanted my recipe to include chocolate. I mean, if you have two flavors of cupcakes sitting side by side, one with chocolate and one without, I bet people choose the chocolate one most of the time. The recipe I finally ended up submitting for my entry was one for watermelon chocolate cupcakes—chocolate cake with a watermelon-flavored frosting. (See? I like fruit, too!) My whole family thought they were amazing. But I guess the judges didn’t agree. Stupid judges.
Stupid sadness and jealousy.
When I get home, I put my bike in the garage and go in the house. Daisy greets me at the door with her usual jumping, spinning, and pet me, pet me routine.
“Hello, adorable dog of mine and number one on my list,” I whisper, petting her as she rolls over, giving me her belly to scratch.
After a sufficient amount of scratching time, I stand up. “Come on, Daisy. You want a treat?”
She follows me into the kitchen, her tail wagging so hard it’s practically picking her up off the ground. I toss her a Milk-Bone, get a spoon from the silverware drawer, and then grab the chocolate ice cream from the freezer.
I don’t even get a bowl. I sit on a stool at the counter and dig in.
“Sophie, is that you?” Mom calls from the other room.
“No, it’s a stranger raiding your freezer.”
Mom appears, smiling. I have to say, my mom is so cute. No, not Daisy-cute, but girlie-cute, I guess. She wears her blond hair short but stylish, and she has a round face with big blue eyes. And she always wears the cutest clothes, not like she’s trying to be sixteen again, just fresh and fun. Today she’s wearing jeans and a pink T-shirt that says WAG MORE, BARK LESS.
“Hi, honey. How was school today?”
I shrug my shoulders, partly because I don’t want to tell her about my rotten tomato day and partly because my mouth is full of chocolatey, creamy goodness.
“I’ve been thinking about you,” she says. “Thinking about how you’re probably a little sad to be here and not in New York City like Isabel.”
The way she looks at me and the way her caring comes through in her voice, I feel tears rising up. I blink hard a few times, then I shrug again, scared that if I try to talk about it, I’ll have a full-blown tearfest going on. And I don’t want that. The whole point of the chocolate ice cream is to cheer myself up!
“I have a surprise for you,” she says, her face now literally beaming.
I swallow my mouthful of ice cream. Thoughts of a tearfest disappear at the mention of the word “surprise.” I totally forgot that’s another one on my list of pick-me-ups! Except, it’s sort of hard to make a surprise happen by myself.
I wait, my spoon frozen in midair.
She brings her hand around from behind her back, and she’s holding three tickets. I lean in, my eyes squinting, trying to read the small words.
My spoon makes a loud clanking noise as I drop it on to the counter and grab the tickets from her hand.
Lisa Schroeder is the author of six novels for teens: I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, FAR FROM YOU, CHASING BROOKLYN, THE DAY BEFORE, FALLING FOR YOU and THE BRIDGE FROM ME TO YOU. She's also the author of the middle grade IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES and CHARMED LIFE series. Her books have been translated into several languages and have been selected for a number of state reading lists. When she's not writing, you will probably find Lisa reading, walking the dog, or baking yummy treats. Lisa is a native Oregonian and lives in Beaverton with her husband and two sons.
Twelve-year-old Sophie yearns to be an actress. When she's offered the opportunity to appear in a television commercial, at first it seems like a dream come true. There's just one problem--the commercial is for Beatrice's Brownies, the successful chain that just might put the cupcake bakery owned by her friend Isabel's family out of business! Can Sophie follow her dreams without losing her best friend?
SPRINKLES AND SECRETS is the follow-up to Schroeder's IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES. It is a great read on its own, but I recommend reading it together with IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES. The book picks up the story where CUPCAKES left off, with a cliffhanger ending after the bake-off, and is told from the viewpoint of CUPCAKES' main character Isabel's best friend, Sophie. I felt that Sophie's character was consistent in both books, but readers will find it illuminating to see that while Isabel's assessment of Sophie as a girl who always seems to get what she wants isn't exactly wrong, life isn't always easy for Sophie either.
Sophie is an appealing main character with a caring personality and a mostly sunny outlook on life. While Sophie's dilemma in SPRINKLES AND SECRETS is not nearly as weighty as Isabel's was in IT'S RAINING CUPCAKES, her struggle to balance her own dreams with loyalty to her friend is relatable, as are the missteps she makes along the way. Sophie has the benefit of a very close family to offer support and advice, but ultimately she wrestles with her conscience and follows her heart to make her own decisions.
The book is written in a style simple enough to draw in a reluctant reader, while the story is plenty engaging for more sophisticated readers (I think I enjoyed the book as much as my ten-year-old daughter did).Read more ›
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Have you ever met a girl with big dreams? Twelve year old Sophie is very talented in acting, all she wants is a spot on a commercial. When she gets the spot for the commercial, she realizes it's for Beatrice's Brownies, the top competitor for her best friend Isabel's family business It's Raining Cupcakes. Sophie is unsure about what she should do, if she keeps the commercial a secret or if she just tells Isabel, she'll crush her anyway. Isabel finds out about the commercial and.....
I think you should definitely read this book because the chapter titles are cute and funny: Chocolate Milk: It comes from sweet cows. Monster Cookies: They're not scary, only delicious. You should also read this book because, when I was reading it I really loved the middle because Sophie and Isabel were not talking to each other because Isabel was mad at Sophie. It was a little more interesting then the rest of the book, but this book is not the kind of book that is really boring in the beginning. One more reason you should read this book is because people our age (girls-9-10-11-12) can relate to this book because it deals with friendship problems and how to solve them. Have you ever met a girl with a big heart?
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i love this book best book ever when you read this book you will want to read it again i know i did. lisa should write another book with this series about if dennis won the contest or not and if isabel will see jack again! i laughed and cryed at many parts. when the book ended i wanted more like i did at the end of its raing cupcakes and i got more!! buy and read this book you wont regret it love this book!!!!!!!!!!!!
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