Former Manhattan girl Penny has quickly discovered that life in a small town is never dull. Not when there's a festival for every occasion (real or made-up), a Queen Bee to deal with, an animal shelter to save, and a cute boy to crush on.
Hog's Hollow just got another new girl: Esmeralda. She's beautiful, French, and just happens to be Queen Bee Charity's best friend. Penny figures with the arrival of Esmeralda, Charity might be too busy to keep making her life miserable. Penny couldn't be more wrong about that.
But Penny doesn't have a lot of time to worry about Charity. Her best friend, Tally, has recruited her to help save the local animal shelter, which is in danger of closing unless they can raise some desperately needed funds.
Then there's Marcus, the adorable and mysterious boy that Penny thinks maybe likes her as much as she likes him. But things with Marcus are wonderful and fluttery and confusing all at the same time.
On top of that, the holidays are coming and this is Penny's first holiday season as a "divorced" kid - although she has no idea what this means.
Can Penny help her friends save the shelter animals, navigate her new family dynamics and get the boy, or will Charity and Esmeralda find a way to ruin everything?
She is too fond of books, and it has addled her brain. -- Louisa May Alcott
"Hepler's novel is greater than the sum of its parts, held together by Penny's genuine voice and emotions. Readers will root for Penny, a talented artist, as she develops her gifts and adapts to small-town life."
— Kirkus Reviews
"An endearing and poignant story about standing up to adversity and finding peace in what is, rather than holding out for what could be."
— Publishers Weekly
"The story is heartwarming and is as comforting as the confections produced by The Cupcake Queen bakery."
— Children's Literature