Sugar Lump by Megan Gaudino

SKU 978-1-77339-521-0

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Seventeen-year-old travel blogger CC is stuck on a never-ending road trip with her wanderlust-addicted father. When her dad lands the job of his dreams in Sugar Lump—wedding capital of the world—CC finally finds a place to call home. Complete with two quirky best friends and a quixotic guy to crush on, Sugar Lump is more shades of perfect than she can possibly count. 

But when CC accidentally overhears the mayor complaining that she has to “take out” a rogue employee for not fulfilling the terms of his contract, the idyllic town’s facade crumbles. Devastated by the possibility of having to move yet again, CC discovers everyone has been keeping a massive secret from her—including her own father.

14+ due to adult situations



I bolted from the front door, stood on the porch looking from left to right a few times as if I was being tailed and then took off down the block in the direction of town.

It was quiet. Too quiet. The gingerbread houses lining the perfectly clean street with perfectly trimmed lawns, all had lights on. No movement or sound came from within though. Which was a stark contrast from the scene last Friday when there were plenty of people for me to photograph.

I only made it two houses down, stomping through the grass, causing lingering lightning bugs to scatter. I pressed my face against the picture window of my neighbor’s house. The room, identical in size and layout to my own house, was bathed in warm light, but the flat screen on the wall was off and I couldn’t see anyone.

I sprinted through the lawns, punching at perfectly manicured shrubs, and took up the same stance at the identical house next door. No one was home but the lights were on. These neighbors seemed to have a thing for roosters. The curtains, the clock, and the sun catcher on the glass doors all contained roosters.

Trampling through the bushes, I made my way to the front door. When I tested the knob, it turned easily in my hand. A streak of fear shot through me, but the scent of onions and roast cooking drew me in. There were only a couple paces between me and the door but it was enough to make me feel like I just broke into a diamond vault. I poked my head into the kitchen far enough to see a crock pot on the bar.

My cell beeped and sang in my pocket, sending my racing heart into overdrive. I sprinted like a frightened cat out of the house, slammed the door, and wrangled my phone out of my pocket.

“CC!” Macy hollered. She was teetering on her heels as she made her way toward me but she still had a while to go. “What are you doing?” She threw in a hint of hysterical laugher like maybe she was trying to convince me everything was okay and that we were just playing a game.

I ignored her and answered my phone.

“What’s going on?” I asked Dad in a whisper like anyone was around to hear me.

“What do you mean?” His voice was calm, normal, and I could hear conversation in the background.

“Where are you? What are you doing?”

“I’m at the bakery, Cupcake. Macy was supposed to tell you. This Friday’s busy—very busy. It seems like the whole town is running around getting ready for all the weddings tomorrow and Sunday.”

“But where is everyone? I’m standing out front of a house down the street and all the lights are on and there’s even food cooking like they’ll be right back but no one is here.” The night air had turned muggy, thick, like it was hiding something.

“Why are you running around outside?”

“Because something is going on.” I started backing away from Macy, keeping close to the house until I rounded the corner.

“And what would that be?”

“I don’t know. I have no clue. But I was at the Mayor’s house and she had a gun. Dad, a real gun, and she was talking about teaching someone a lesson. And I saw a list. A list of names of all the adults in the town and everyone was paired up like Noah’s Ark and each pair had an amount of money after it. Does thirteen thousand dollars sound familiar to you? And your name was on the list next to Macy’s name.”

I was out of breath, feeling like I could pass out with stress or fear and whatever else I was feeling, and Macy was getting closer. I ducked into the backyard of the rooster house and hid behind a shed with white siding and a weathervane on top.

“Why were you snooping around the Mayor’s place? They invited you for lunch and you go through her things?” He sounded more concerned with my poor manners than anything.

“This isn’t about that. That’s what you take away from what I said?” I peeked out from behind the shed but didn’t see anyone. “And to be clear, she didn’t invite me. Thorn did. And I didn’t go through his things.”

“You need to calm down, okay? Everything is fine. I don’t know what to tell you about the gun but that list was probably when people were hired. Before me Macy was the newest employee at the bakery and Missy O’Dowd said the bonuses run with years of experience and years working in town. I’m sure the list is just to keep track of that.”

Um, what year was this? Who keeps important records on a piece of paper? “But what does that have to do with the Mayor?” I cupped my hand over the phone like someone was reading my lips.

Product Reviews

Score: 5 out of 5 (based on 13 ratings)
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Loved it!
Written by L.A. on 3rd May 2018

Such a fun read! The setting is alive as the characters, and the mystery will keep you turning those pages!

Quirky fun mystery
Written by IHeartBooks on 3rd May 2018

The perfect town where people come for a perfect wedding. Throw in a determined young woman who's beginning to doubt everything around her and realizes there's more to this town than what meets the eye, and you have a quirky fun mystery. Recommend.

Worth Reading
Written by Laura Hernandez on 3rd May 2018

This book is written with just the right amount of mystery, suspense and romance and you simply do not see the twists that are coming. The characters and story line are brilliantly brought to life as the author weaves her magic on the readers. {I requested a copy for reviewing purposes and made no guarantee of a favorable review. The opinions expressed here are unbiased and my own.}

Quirky and fun!
Written by Candace (Literary Dust) on 3rd May 2018

I really enjoyed the fun vibe of this one. Quirky main character in a town full of Stepford Wives weirdness, check. So that’s right up my alley! I read this one pretty quickly to try and figure out what the heck was up with this town! I was hoping for a spoonful of darkness to be revealed and while that didn’t quite happen, there were still unexpected things! I also liked that these teens felt like real teens! The romance evolves at a pace that felt real in the high school world, and I loved the 90’s nostalgia!

One of my favorite young adult books of 2018 and easily my favorite new author discovery.
Written by Theresa H. Hernandez on 3rd May 2018

4-1/2 stars!! CC, a successful teenage travel blogger with a desire to put down roots, is delighted when her father, a renowned pastry chef, takes a job in Sugar Lump, the self-appointed wedding capital of the world. Everything about this magical midwestern town feels like a fairytale, right down to the gingerbread trim on the homes, lushly manicured lawns, and perfect marriage record. No one living in Sugar Lump gets a divorce. Since CC’s mom left them before CC’s first memory set like frosting on a cake, Sugar Lump seems the perfect place to settle down and never leave. So she doesn’t understand why her normally wanderlust father is determined to live in Sugar Lump the rest of his life, while trying to convince CC to go away to college when she graduates at the end of the school year. The town’s perfection extends beyond the buildings and marital status of its residents. The other “bakery kids” welcome CC with open arms, making her one of their posse from the moment they meet. While CC has experiences to rival almost anyone her age, what she hasn’t had are a group of good friends. Because they move so frequently, she found it difficult to establish close relationships with anyone; never knowing when they’d be moving yet again. And not only are the locals welcoming and kind, but magazine-cover attractive, including super-hot Thorn, who dyes the tips of his jet-black hair grey, just to annoy his mother, who also happens to be the town’s mayor. But the more time CC spends in Sugar Lump, the more she realizes things aren’t necessarily as they seem. When she overhears something she shouldn’t, she’s determined to get at the truth, no matter the price. Plot This was such a great story. The unique plot was fun and fresh, and moved at a perfect pace. The author throws in several twists that send the story racing in a new direction. More than once she caught me off guard, surprising me in the best possible ways, making this one of my favorite books of 2018. The Characters CC is delightful as the traveling teen with her heart set on finding a place to call home. Her father is just mysterious enough to keep us guessing, but it’s CC’s friends who steal the show. From the enigmatic Thorn, to gender-fluid best friend Henry, and the picture-perfect Luna, the people CC meets in Sugar Lump are as beautiful and perplexing as the town they inhabit. Top Five Things I Enjoyed About SUGAR LUMP 1. Premise. The concept of a perfect town, even if it might not be as perfect as first believed, is a nice change from all the dystopian I’ve read over the years. 2. CC. Her eternal optimism is such a refreshing quality that I’d like to find more of in young adult protagonists. 3. Sugar Lump. Everything about this town makes me wish it were real so I could visit. 4. Thorn. Jaded with a streak of vulnerability, Thorn is a quintessential teen love interest, but his quirky nature gives him that little bit of extra that sets him apart. 5. Twists. Excellent plotting and unexpected twists, kept this story from being anything but typical. Bottom Line One of my favorite young adult books of 2018 and easily my favorite new author discovery. Disclaimer I was provided with a copy of this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

A quirky book full of unexpected turns
Written by Kate Larkindale on 3rd May 2018

I enjoyed this quirky book about a town that looks too perfect on the surface - because it is! The characters were well drawn and there were enough twists to keep me guessing what was actually going on right until the end.

Stepford Wives Vibe
Written by GD on 3rd May 2018

SUGAR LUMP is a very interesting novel that gave me a Stepford-Wives vibe. I mean, CC, the main character moves to a town where everything's perfect and awesome. Then, everyone becomes an insta-friend and school is 'laxed. Oh, and of course, the handsomest boy in town takes an interest on her. But something's off, something kind of eerie. Around the half-way mark, things go downhill in a very subtle, weird way. The pristine town and its always-happy people are too good to be believed, so a huge mystery floats around. Overall, I enjoyed reading SUGAR LUMP and would recommended it

Tome Tender
Written by undefined on 7th Feb 2018

Maybe it was because her father was a wanderer at heart, but CC is one of those teens who seems to be comfortable in her own skin, at least as comfortable as a teen can be! When her dad finds his dream job as a baker in Sugar Lump, the wedding capital of the world, she never expected to find a small town that seemed to be like a fantasy setting! Happy people, quaint and quirky store fronts and houses, Sugar Lump seemed almost too perfect, too good to be true and you know what they say about that… It took only hours to make two quirky best friends and discover a hot guy who definitely has her interest. Sugar Lump’s high school was almost eerily perfect and sweet, too, so being a normal teen, CC just knows something is just not normal, fascinating, but not normal. Her thoughts are confirmed when she overhears the mayor in a clandestine conversation that is anything but sugary sweet and sunshiny bright. A mystery to solve, a challenge, but CC wasn’t quite prepared for what she discovered about the tiny town that oozes happiness and cheer. Something dark and manipulative is lurking in the Sugar Lump background and CC and her friends are about to uncover a hornets’ nest of trouble. SUGAR LUMP by Megan Gaudino is a quirky tale of life in a town that is too good to be true and a teen that is not about to drink the company Koolaid without questioning what is going on! Fun, fast-paced and very low on angst, even going to school wasn’t a tumultuous tsunami of backstabbing whining! Ms. Gaudino’s approach to this little mystery is a delight to read! When the big “secret” about Sugar Lump is revealed, it was definitely enough to take me by surprise, because, nope, I did not see that coming! A fun read, highly recommended for a quick escape! I received a complimentary copy from Evernight Teen!

I really love the story
Written by Sabetha Danes on 1st Feb 2018

I have mixed feelings about this book. I really love the story, the community intrigue, and weird town happenings. It's very stepford wives. But I feel really let down by the ending. There were too many things left for the reader to assume what happen, and a lot of the final plot reveal didn't really make sense. I also think that some of the financial aspects of the story weren't researched at all. The main character has a blog, that is apparently a huge success but she isn't raking in money off of it?? That doesn't equate at all. Overall, it's a fun quick read.

Fun mystery
Written by Tina on 1st Feb 2018

There is so much to unravel about this story, I really enjoyed following CC around her new town getting to know the quirky characters. At the end of the day it's a very interesting commentary on the wedding industry as a whole and the promise of "happily ever after". I was anticipating a much different outcome to the mystery of this town, but was happily satisfied with the closure. CC is a fairly typical seventeen year old girl who wants to fit in and find a place that feels like home, her dad promises that Sugar Lump is that place. With his dream job baking wedding cakes in the wedding capital he assures CC that his wanderlust days are over. There is some mystery as to why, but as they settle in to their new house and CC gets to know the town, the mystery just gets more complicated. Every character in this story provides some clue as to what goes on "behind the scenes" in town, but every piece of information just adds more confusion to CC's life. You will enjoy going on this adventure with CC and her new friends as the pieces eventually fall into place. The wedding industry is an interesting one and a whole town devoted to it is actually not all that surprising. Ask anyone who has planned a wedding in the last 15 years and they can tell you that the wedding industry is crazy with a capital C. Just the mention of a wedding at a venue or caterer and the price magically goes up. Providing the "perfect" wedding day is a full time business and a very prosperous one for many people. The promise of happily ever after is what most couples are looking for and Sugar Lump provides that. But is everything the way it seems? I highly recommend this fun and insightful mystery of the small wedding town of Sugar Lump. You won't be disappointed.

Stepford Wives meets Wayward Pines
Written by Erin on 1st Feb 2018

Received as part of a blog tour and gave my honest review. CC has spent most of her life traveling from town to town with her dad as he looks for a place to call home. He's an extraordinary baker, who never wants to stay in one place for too long. While all that CC want's to do is settle down somewhere and stay forever. When CC's dad gets a job offer he moves CC again this time he says they are going to stay forever. CC doesn't think this time will be any different, but she hopes it will because the town is perfect. Sugar Lump has beautiful aesthetics and seemingly perfect and happy townspeople it's the ideal place to live and get married. But the longer they are in this town the and the more CC get's to know the other Baker kids she realizes something isn't quite right. But she did is happy for the first time and content to stay, even if he is pushing for her to go away to college after her last year of high school. CC does everything she can to figure out what exactly is making this town so different than the rest, and why it's townspeople act so strange at times. CC does make friends and wants to be happy here. Yet she's also looking for things and noticing things that she probably shouldn't. From the school curriculum being way too easy, to the mayor's son being the bad boy, and her dad acting weird all the time and keeping secrets from her. CC isn't used to any of this and as starts to question everything. With a little help from a certain someone who wants revenge of his own she just might be able to figure it all out. Overall I really enjoyed this book. I loved how the town was between the Stepford wives and WayWard Pines (the tv show, maybe the books? I haven't read them yet. Yes I know shameful). I loved how CC never took someone's answer as the full truth and was always looking for things. I also liked how she took risks and realized that if she was caught there would be consequences not just for her but for her dad as well. The friends she made while secretive also tried to give her hints as to what was going on. I loved her friendship/relationship with the Mayor's son even if it did go from 0 to 100 way to fast for my liking, it was understandable considering how pushy everyone was around town about things. Oh the Mayor, what to say about her. Firstly just wow some of the things she said to CC, were just astounding when you consider how old CC is and what exactly the mayor was suggesting. One thing that I still don't exactly get though is how CC's dad could just be so okay with everything in this town? For someone being so wanderlust for most of CC's life, he's really now just going to be happy in one place? What's changed, and why now? While some have described this book as quirky, for me it was all mystery. I had to keep reading to know what was happening and why this town was so strange acting at times. I mean for being a wedding destination we hardly ever saw any actual weddings and with all the secretiveness of the town, I'm surprised they would let so many strangers come in all the time. I'd love to see a short novella companion to this book to see if anything did change after everything happened.

Amazing Read for anyone
Written by JWK on 22nd Jan 2018

Love this book! The charectors, the setting, the story... such a page turner! Perfectly written.

Great Read!
Written by No Name on 15th Jan 2018

Sugar Lump by Megan Gaudino was a mix between The Stepford Wives and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but not really. I kept expecting something supernatural or sci-fi-ish to occur because there’s something freaky going on in Sugar Lump. I couldn’t stop reading because I had to know what it was… and it’s a doozy. Everything and everyone in Sugar Lump is a little too perfect, and you can feel CC’s uneasiness and sometimes alarm. Gaudino did a wonderful job building that anticipation and really made you feel the disquiet. CC was a great character. I loved her personality! I felt bad that she was never given the opportunity to make friends in any of the places they lived. I really liked Henry and Luna, though. They were good sidekicks and added some comedic relief to the suspenseful feel of the novel. Thorn was the perfect mysteriously sexy bad boy love interest. I LOVED HIM! Overall, it was a really well written and unique young adult novel. The only thing that left me wanting was I wanted to know what happens after the ending, like her father’s reaction or what happens to him. The secrets are finally revealed, but we’re not given an epilogue to see how they affected everyone. Still, I would recommend this novel and read it again. 4 Stars