Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fresh New Voice of YA- The Espressologist by Kristina Springer

The Espressologist by Kristina Springer
"What’s your drink of choice? Is it a small pumpkin spice latte? Then you’re lots of fun and a bit sassy. Or a medium americano? You prefer simplicity in life. Or perhaps it’s a small decaf soy sugar-free hazelnut caffe latte? Some might call you a yuppie. Seventeen-year-old barista Jane Turner has this theory that you can tell a lot about a person by their regular coffee drink. She scribbles it all down in a notebook and calls it Espressology. So it’s not a totally crazy idea when Jane starts hooking up some of her friends based on their coffee orders. Like her best friend, Em, a medium hot chocolate, and Cam, a toffee nut latte. But when her boss, Derek, gets wind of Jane’s Espressology, he makes it an in-store holiday promotion, promising customers their perfect matches for the price of their favorite coffee. Things are going better than Derek could ever have hoped, so why is Jane so freaked out? Does it have anything to do with Em dating Cam? She’s the one who set them up! She should be happy for them, right?"-summary from Amazon

This was a very cute, funny book. There isn't too much there beyond that, so this is not the book to read if you want character development and a meaty storyline. But the book serves its purpose, which is to be a fun, frothy (no pun intended, or maybe pun intended) read that you can curl up with by the fire with a cup of your favorite coffee drink (or maybe hot cocoa, if coffee's not your thing) and just enjoy. It's a very sweet book, what with all the matchmaking going on, and it was a joy to read. It was a great break from the darker books I'd been reading and a short one at that.

While I do enjoy short novels, in that they go by very quickly and I can read more books, I have a problem with them if they're hardcover. I've expressed my frustrations with this sort of thing several times before, and it never makes any sense to me as to why a less-than-200 page book get made as a hardcover but a 400 page book doesn't. So unfortunately, I think that will deter readers from buying it in the store. I also have a problem with short novels because you don't get much development or subplots going on because there isn't enough room to do it in. But I don't really know how to necessarily expand the story because the short length kept things tight and what's there isn't expandable.

I'm not really sure how to categorize this review. The novel definitely serves its purpose and I did really love reading it. It's a compelling tale with some fun characters and romances at the center of it, but it's too short of a ride to fully enjoy it. If I were doing grading (which I may be do at some point in the future), this would probably be a B-.


  1. Great review! I totally agree with you about short books being hardcover. Hardcovers are more expensive and if the book is only 200 pages, it's really not worth it (unless the cover is purdy)LOL.

  2. Interesting what you say about hardcovers and length. I have a different approach: I buy books in hardcover when I love them and want to read them over and over, because they're more durable. Frex, I've happily bought Nora Ephron books in hardcover, though they're short, because I reread them to pieces.

    In the interests of full disclosure, I should also tell you that my own hardcover is a hair short of 200 pages!

    Jenn Hubbard

  3. Jenn- I totally understand what you're saying and, believe me, I would love to be able to buy as many hardcovers as I wanted, no matter the length to support all my favorite authors, new and old. My approach though is the broke kind, lol- I generally don't have a lot of extra money to buy books with so when I'm making a purchase, I'd rather go with two paperbacks than one short hardcover. Sort of getting more for my buck. If the hardcover was a decent length (I have bought quite a few hardcovers in the past, mainly Meg Cabot ones), which for me, is about 230 pages minimum, I might be willing to shell out the money for it.

    Aside from my own frustrations about short hardcovers, I also feel bad for the author if it's their debut novel. It's a great thing to be published as hardcover and I totally understand that, but in this economy (and even before), readers aren't as willing to take on a debut author whose book is around 200 pages (or less) and $16/17. That's a lot of money to spend on someone you've never heard of and a short book- it's like two strikes already against the book. I feel like it's a detriment to the author to start out that way and it'll be difficult to push the book. Which, in turn, might make it more difficult to sell your next book if your debut didn't sell well. And that's not good.

    But these are my own thoughts and assumptions. I could be totally wrong on everything I said in terms of the publishing aspect of things.

  4. i also agree with you about debut authors and hardcovers. i can't afford to buy hardcovers, especially new authors. it just doesn't make sense for me which is why the library is the best resource for new books.

    if it's an author i really love i'm much more likely to buy hardcover. though nowadays i tend to read galleys, then buy the hardcover if it's a great book.