Please be aware that Cupcake is the third book in a series. In order to give even the briefest synopsis, this review does contain spoilers to the first and second books. The Gingerbread review can be found here, and the Shrimp review can be found here.
Cyd Charisse graduates high school and moves to New York City where she plans to share an apartment with her older half-brother, Danny, and begin culinary school. After she agrees to a clean break with Shrimp, CC is looking forward to a new, exciting life in Manhattan when disaster strikes. She falls down the stairs of her walk-up fifth floor apartment and breaks her leg, rendering her immobile. For weeks CC is only able to order take-out, watch movies, spy on her neighbors, and think about Shrimp. When she finally emerges from her apartment cast-less, CC ditches culinary school and gets a part-time job as a barista in a run down coffee shop. Just when CC is beginning to make a new life for herself, who else should show up on her doorstep but Shrimp? Shrimp claims to only want Cyd Charisse and even stays in New York for a few months, but he eventually flees to San Francisco to get back to the ocean. CC must choose between the new life she's made for herself in New York, or her old life in San Francisco with Shrimp.
If you've read my Gingerbread and Shrimp reviews, you probably know that I am not a huge fan of Cyd Charisse. Apparently I am in the minority because everywhere I look, her books have gotten great reviews. I've been reading through these reviews in hopes of an "aha" moment where I discover what I've been missing this whole time. I still haven't found it. I did, however, find a review on Goodreads that explains what I don't like about Cyd Charisse much better than I could say it myself:
"...I think what rubs me the wrong way is actually lightly touched on in this, the third in the series: Cyd has lots of money, but never seems to consider it. She thinks of herself as cool/punk/rebel/coffee shop girl, but the books feel incomplete to me because she doesn't face any real consequences or struggle in her attempt to define herself. So when she seems to be handed opportunities to go to school, or work at a cool cupcake business, it rings bells of entitlement and inauthenticity. And, while this is addressed in the book when she gets the smack-down from a girl who works at a manicure shop, after Cyd admits she works only for spending money because her parents pay the bills, it never really goes anywhere." (You can read the rest of Meghan's review here.)This! This! This! It's not so much the fact that Cyd Charisse is entitled (although that is pretty gag-worthy), it's the fact that there are no consequences! She never seems to learn anything, but everyone loves her anyway.