Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee

Title: The Secret of a Heart Note
Author: Stacey Lee
Genre: Young Adult, Magical Realism
Source: Katherine Tegen via Edelweiss

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.
Review by Nara

The Secret of a Heart Note has such a fresh premise. Seriously, where do authors get their ideas, because this one is an excellent one. Protagonist Mim is an "aromateur", someone who can make love elixirs by using her sense of smell to brew a specific perfume matched to the target. This is an inherited trait, and there's one big rule: don't fall in love or you lose your sense of smell.

As expected, things don't quite go as to plan with Mim accidentally "fixing" the wrong target, and needing the target's son's help to try and fix the situation. The target's son being the rich and attractive school soccer star obviously also doesn't help things, and shenanigans commence.

A lot of Mimosa's choices were just quite frustrating for me, and I would say this is the primary reason why the book overall dropped a few stars. It seems like she makes one mistake, and instead of open disclosure, she goes about trying to fix it with five additional mistakes, all the while lying and hiding what she's done to others.

The story itself was relatively linear, but this felt okay in this particular novel as the premise lent itself to a simplistic but entertaining read. I did get the feeling that many of the scenes seemed to be to aid the progression of the romance rather than having value in itself, and that made the book slightly less interesting as I wasn't overly invested in the romance.

Overall a cute and light story which could be finished in a single sitting.

Liked it
Overall: 7/10
Plot: 3/5
Romance: 3/5
Writing: 3.5/5
Characters: 3.5/5
Cover: 3/5