Monday, November 21, 2016

Quick Thoughts: The Secret of Heart Note by Stacey Lee

The Secret of Heart Note
by Stacey Lee
Read: June 17 - 19, 2016
Published: December 27, 2016 by Katherine Tegen Books
Source: EW (Thank You, Sourcebooks!)
Category: YA, Contemporary, plants, aromas

Book Description: 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.

I quite liked this one! I loved the idea of aromateurs and found Mimosa and her mom's lives fascinating. The whole way they use their heightened sense of smell and plants from around the world to help people fall in love was enchanting. The vivid setting made me want to see their garden filled home for myself, and visit Northern California in general. 

I found Mim to be endearing and relatable, though I wanted to shake her a few times. She tries her best to do the right thing but it gets her into a bit of trouble in this book. However, I enjoyed watching her grow up throughout the process and realize she's not as alone in the world as she once thought. 

I enjoyed Mim's sweet romance with Court, though I wanted more out of it (highlight for spoiler) and I definitely needed more of an explanation for the cheeseburger scene near the end. Also, I wanted to see him actually ask her to homecoming -  i.e. I like seeing things spelled out. I could have done without the mean girl plot (I'm just over those), and I wish we'd seen more scenes between Mim and her friend Kali. There were a lot of different characters in this story, but I liked how the pieces came together in the end, even though I could already see where many of them were going to fit. 

Overall this is a great story with a unique set up, and endearing heroine and a sweet romance. Plus family and friend themes too. I was already a fan of Stacey Lee from her historical fiction Under a Painted Sky, and I can't wait to find out what she writes next. 

A note on the E-ARC I read: I was very confused as to why Mim was only 15 in this book - the description in Goodreads says she's 16, which makes much more sense as she's a junior in high school. However, it's said multiple times that Mim is 15, and the book made it sound like she wouldn't be 16 for another year. Unless she skipped some grades (which wasn't mentioned), should be 16/17 as a junior! 

Love Triangle Factor: None
Cliffhanger Scale: Standalone


  1. I am glad you like this book too! I loved the family and friendship themes and the aromateur plot line is very unique.

  2. This sounds so sweet. I kind of really want to read this. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on it.

  3. I'm glad you liked this! I'm reading it this month. I'm pretty over the mean girl plot myself, but I love Stacey Lee's writing, so I trust her to do it well. I also know very little about perfume, so that's an interesting element.

    Sarcasm & Lemons


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