Can developing a successful baking club help a fourth-grader move out from the shadow of a persistent bully?
Possibly, but will anyone truly believe it? Kylie has been the victim of nasty rich-girl Meredith’s cruel barbs and tricks ever since she moved to Connecticut in third grade. Finally, a new teacher reaches out to Kylie, though not really because of the bullying, and encourages her to start a baking club. She gathers up three other outsider girls, and together, after a couple of believable missteps, they begin to create cupcakes so good that they are in constant demand, the girls needing to make anywhere from dozens to hundreds a week to fulfill a long list of orders. But that’s okay; they implausibly rise to the challenge, baking massive numbers of cupcakes month after month. The bullying—conveniently never noticed by teachers—continues unabated. When given the opportunity to bake a massive order of cupcakes for Meredith’s country-club 10th-birthday party, Kylie takes the opportunity for retribution, but with horrifying consequences. The conclusion is vanilla-flavored with a too-facile resolution considering the nature of Kylie’s act, even if she didn’t fully grasp the significance of it.
Cupcake recipes and baking tips are included in this overlong (for the audience) effort that misses the opportunity to effectively deal with bullying. (Fiction. 8-11)