I so enjoyed reading Stacey Lee’s latest novel, The Secret of a Heart Note. It is YA Magical Realism at its finest. It’s whimsical, fun, and absolutely charming. Since it TECHNICALLY came out in 2016, add it to your #RockMyTBR or #BeatTheBacklist challenges immediately if you haven’t read it yet!
I recommend pairing this beautiful Galerie Sauvignon Blanc wine with Secrets of a Heart Note, because of it’s balanced “Ode to Spring” themes, which include various hints of fruit and flowers. What an aromatically perfect match!
The Nitty Gritty:
- Title: The Secret of a Heart Note
- Author: Stacey Lee
- Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
- Pub Date: December 27, 2016
- Pages: 384
An evocative novel about a teen aroma expert who uses her extrasensitive sense of smell to mix perfumes that help others fall in love while protecting her own heart at all costs
Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking—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 experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn’t always a choice you can make.
At once hopeful, funny, and romantic, Stacey Lee’s The Secret of a Heart Note is a richly evocative coming-of-age story that gives a fresh perspective on falling in love and finding one’s place in the world.
I was eagerly anticipating this book’s release through the month of December, and when I FINALLY got to read it, I was not disappointed. This was certainly one of the most charming books I read in 2016. No pun intended. It had all the fizzy, butterfly in the belly moments that you want from a YA love story. It also layers in deeper, important themes while still keeping the tone of the novel light and fun.
There are some fantastic examples of diversity throughout this novel, and while we do see those characters struggle through the challenges that come along with that, those obstacles by no means define them. They’re wonderfully well-rounded characters and a true pleasure to read.
Lee also highlights the delicate balance that exists in familial relationships and just how fragile that balance can sometimes be. We get to see the complex relationships that exist in multiple families in this book, but the love that prevails despite the hardships they’re facing is beautiful and makes love, as should be expected, the dominant theme in this novel.
The magic system that Lee has created is original and fun. The idea of being able to smell people’s every emotion and use that gift to spread happiness and love is delightful.
If you are a bit of a word nerd, like me, and adore a book with lots of amazing quotes, then this is definitely the book for you. Choosing just a few to feature was definitely the most difficult part of this review.
My only real criticism of this book was that the big confrontation at the end did feel a bit rushed. I would have enjoyed it if Lee had drug that out just a bit more and let us really feel the angstiness of it all.
I truly did enjoy this novel and highly recommend it to everyone! It’s a pure delight.
This cover is adorable and really compliments the tone of the book well. It also shows the flowers that fuel this book’s unique magic system.
This book is all about love, so there is LOADS of swooning going on, which is definitely part of the reason that I liked it so much. But Court is certainly the most swoon-worthy character in this book and will exceed reader’s expectations of a lead love interest.
Have you read The Secret of a Heart Note yet? What did you think? If you could use a “love elixir” on someone, would you?
*All wine recommendations are for strictly for those of legal drinking age only.*