The Heartbreak Bakery by A.R. Capetta

Title: The Heartbreak Bakery
Author: A.R. Capetta
Genre/s and Tags: Romance, LGBTQ+, Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Contemporary, Transgender
Goodreads synopsis:

Teenage baker Syd sends ripples of heartbreak through Austin’s queer community when a batch of post-being-dumped brownies turns out to be magical—and makes everyone who eats them break up.

“What’s done is done.”
Unless, of course, it was done by my brownies. Then it’s getting
undone.

Syd (no pronouns, please) has always dealt with big, hard-to-talk-about things by baking. Being dumped is no different, except now Syd is baking at the Proud Muffin, a queer bakery and community space in Austin. And everyone who eats Syd’s breakup brownies . . . breaks up. Even Vin and Alec, who own the Proud Muffin. And their breakup might take the bakery down with it. Being dumped is one thing; causing ripples of queer heartbreak through the community is another. But the cute bike delivery person, Harley (he or they, check the pronoun pin, it’s probably on the messenger bag), believes Syd about the magic baking. And Harley believes Syd’s magical baking can fix things, too—one recipe at a time.

Buy Links:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Book Shop | Blackwells

ID: The Heartbreak Bakery sitting to the left of a stack of naked books that make up the Agender pride flag. Behind THB is a white booksleeve with genderqueer pride hearts. On top of the agender book stack is a queer pride hearts mug rug, a tiny magnet and an agender cupcake sitting on the mug rug. In front of the books is a brown rolling pin and four recipe cards.

Full Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

This is really one of the gayest books I’ve ever read. And that includes Cute Mutants Vol 1: Mutant Pride! And like CM, this book means so much to me because of the agender rep. Dylan and Syd are two of the most relatable characters I’ve come across and I love these two so much.

Thank you so much to Pride Book Tours and Candlewick Press for a finished copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Heartbreak Bakery is a story about queer joy, magical baking, love and heartbreak. The story follows Syd (no pronouns), who is an agender teenage baker. After Syd and W (Syd’s girlfriend) break up, Syd is at a loss. Syd throws all the post-breakup feelings into a batch of brownies at the Proud Muffin and ends up breaking several couples up, including the owners of the Proud Muffin. With the help of Harley, the cute bike messenger, Syd is determined to fix the damage caused. And it will take magical baking to do just that.

“I don’t feel like any pronouns fit. Or any of them fits more than the others. And when I think about all the people whose lives are changed by the right words, people who have to fight for them every day, I feel like I should apologize because my pronouns are No, thanks.”

Y’all this book scraped me raw. There were several passages that just GOT me. So many of the thoughts and feelings I’ve had swirling around my brain about gender and to see them on the page was so validating. I haven’t seen an agender MC in fiction until this book and I definitely need more now.

Having a gender? Why? Feeling like your body and who you are inside line up all the time? How? Identifying with other folks of your assigned gender as a kid, when I identified with things like extra-fluffy cumulus clouds and nebulas? What does that even feel like? I get nervous trying to explain myself sometimes. I get tired. I grow sharp edges where I didn’t think I had any.

Not only did I love Syd, but the whole queer cast of the Proud Muffin. There was so much rep, it was so varied and it felt realistic. It wasn’t just diversity points, all of these characters felt whole and I loved them so much. I really loved seeing the sibling relationship between Syd and Tess. I loved how Syd was immediately welcoming when the possibility of Tess being aroace came up. I loved how Syd brought Tess to the Proud Muffin and showed her that she was welcome in that space.

And the part of me that thinks about gender every day — mine and everyone else’s and just in general — could use a break. It took me until middle school to realize that most people don’t think about it every day. Because they don’t have to. Because the world is set up in a way where they just take it for granted.

I loved the bakery and the atmosphere of the Proud Muffin. I loved getting to know all of Syd’s coworkers/friends. There were so many fun scenes at the bakery. And then there was a polyam brunch! That was easily one of my favorite scenes. Then there was Syd and Harley’s relationship. I love these two together so much. I had so many feelings about their relationship. I loved how easily Syd used both he and they pronouns for Harley and switched based on Harley’s pin. I loved how Harley understand why Syd doesn’t use pronouns. Like there was so much trans happiness and I am soft because of it.

It doesn’t feel like I’m hiding. It feels like I’m shouting in a language that nobody else can understand. Which is frustrating, because being agender already feels like that a lot of the time.

The bottom line here friends is that I love this book with my whole heart. I need more queer bakery stories like this. Or a real life queer bakery! Easily a top 2021 read!

Rep: Bisexual agender white MC, white trans masc nonbinary demisexual love interest, queer Tejano female side character, trans BIPOC sapphic female side character, BIPOC achillean male side character, queer polyamorous BIPOC female side character, Dominican sapphic female side character, white aroace female side character, nonbinary parent couple (one is genderflux), queer deaf side characters that use sign language, multiple other queer side characters, multiple other BIPOC side characters.

CWs: consumption of magical baked goods without knowing they are magical.

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