I am a tentative fan of Maureen Johnson. Her books usually have some sort of gimmick to separate them from normal trashy teen high school drama, but sometimes the careful balance between the gimmick and the angsty melodrama is upset and both seem annoying. I’m mainly thinking of:
The premise is a cool international scavenger hunt set up by the main character’s dead aunt, which sounds awesome, but the main character spends most of the trip being angsty so it was kind of disappointing.
Not so with her 2006 release, Devilish.
Jane Jarvis, the main character, is smart, loud, and takes no crap, especially if someone is trying to dish it out to her shyer, more awkward best friend Ally. So when Ally shows up one morning cooler, prettier, more confident, it’s almost like she’s sold her soul to a demon to gain the popularity high school girls crave most. And then it turns out she so totally did. The demon turns out to be posing as Lanalee, a sophomore girl with an insatiable lust for cupcakes, who agrees to Jane’s wager to save her friend’s soul. Luckily, some of the nuns at Jane’s private school turn out to be demon hunters who help her on her quest to fight the increasingly dark powers present at school and save her own soul.
This book is the perfect mix of highschool popularity drama and supernatural comedy. Jane’s voice is sarcastic and mature, not annoyingly pandering to a perceived superficial audience like many young adult novels. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes:
3) Lots of cupcakes
4) All kinds of sacrilege
5) Kick Ass Nuns
Luckily, I’m a fan of all five.
To celebrate this novel–and getting a beautiful new mixer for my birthday!–I decided to make cupcakes. Like most times I try to bake, what I made had a lot to do with what we already had lying around. So I decided on Nutella swirl cupcakes! I followed this recipe from Baking Bites. The hardest part (if you can call it hard) was swirling the Nutella in with the batter. They turned out okay: