The Secret of a Heart Note by Stacey Lee
I was not expecting much from this book. I had heard wonderful reviews about Stacey Lee in the past, but I never really looked further into it. I’m totally disappointed in myself, because this book was beautiful – inside and out.
Let’s start off with the Goodreads basics:
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.
This book was a bit of a slowburn for me. I actually gave it four stars to begin with (due to the pretty insta instalove and sort of slow start), but the more I thought about, the more I was convinced this book was a five star. And goodness, did I think about it. It gave me a massive book hangover, and I would think, “Oh, Mandy, remember when you read that beautiful book by Stacey Lee? Oh, yeah, I mean, it was a day ago, but wasn’t it just so beautiful?”
What perhaps is the most beautiful was the writing. Lee has some major talent, and the way that she weaved in the aromas was so nicely done. I totally thought she was going to make it awkward or stilted, but she put it in so easily and effortless. Again, I thought I would be bored, but it made it so unique and I looked forward to reading what boredom and anger smelled like. It was so vivid and detailed, and it honestly felt like I was smelling it.
I also loved the characters. Mim was a fantastic narrator, and I loved how unique she was. She realized when she made mistakes, and when she did, she took accountability like normal people did. She was funny, smart, and despite her special nose, she seemed so down-to-earth and real. I rooted for her – even when she continued to further her mistakes.
Court and her were pretty adorable. I will admit that their relationship was super instalovey, and it was the reason that I did give it 4 stars originally. However, it does feel rather organic, and I liked the will-they, won’t-they tension. Surprisingly, the romance wasn’t the real reason I was reading it since there were so many other interesting things that kept grabbing my attention, but it was cute enough.
The plot was super fun as well. There was a lot of issues that cropped up, and I did love all of the little things that Lee came up with. Mim handled it with a lot of fun as well.
Gals and guys, I can’t believe this has less than 450 reviews on Goodreads. This book was beautiful, and I loved every moment of this smelly book. It’s so unique, and trust me, after reading this, magic realism might be a contender for a new favorite genre. It is so good, and while it hasn’t moved up to the favorite category yet, I still recommend it a million times. A Tiana rating, and five crowns!
Check it out:
What do you think? Have you read this? Have you read any other amazing magic realism books (because I’m so looking for recommendations)? What book have you not been able to get out of your head?