Wednesday, 27 June 2012
The Espressologist by Kristina Springer
Publisher: FSG Teen
Type: Young Adult Contemporary Romance
How much can anyone tell about you by your favourite coffehouse drink? Well if you're 17 year old barista Jane Turner then quite a lot. Jane has been making notes on the types of person who order different drinks and calls it Espressology. There are the loyal and trustworthy medium iced vanilla lattes, the smart and simple medium dry cappuccinos and the patriotic straightforward americanos. Now Jane is ready to try matchmaking customers and soon Espressology is the newest holiday marketing technique at Wired Joes, and Jane finds herself getting more attention than she ever expected.
I picked up this book because the premise sounded really fun and unique but not really knowing what to expect. This was my first contemporary YA and being new to the genre meant I was a bit lost at first. The storyline is evenly paced but develops slowly and while I enjoyed the premise and the espressolgy explanations (although the closest to my favourite was not flattering at all!) I did find there was a lack of depth overall. I didn't even realise the book was set in Chicago until about 2/3 in.
Jane never really develops as a character. We learn she works at Wired Joes, goes to college occasionally and has a friend called Em. There is never much to distinguish her at all so she comes across as a plain Jane (if you'll excuse the pun). The lack of development is pretty widespread with boss Derek being the stereotypical overworked grump and frat boy love interest Will who I disliked from his first appearance and couldn't believe how cluless Jane was about him.
The characters I did like are Jane's friends Em and Cam who she decides to match after Em breaks up with her long-term boyfriend. Again Jane was clueless around Cam but he was probably the best developed character in the book. As someone in a similar care situation I was surprised at how realistic his actions were and they fit well with someone in that sort of role.
Wired Joes comes off as a Starbucks clone, which is unsurprising given that the entire book was written in a Starbucks. Even some of the drinks are clearly Starbucks branded ones. This was pretty disappointing as I'm a big fan of Cleo Coyle's coffeehouse mysteries (which start with On What Grounds) and they manage to create a unique but recognisable environment.
All in all this was a fun frothy read ideal if you're looking for something light.