Review – Pumpkin Spice Secrets

Pumpkin Spice Secrets

(Swirl #1)

Hillary Homzie


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Just as Maddie picks up her favorite pumpkin spice drink from the coffee shop counter, she spills it all over the cute guy standing behind her! Luckily, her embarrassment evaporates into a crush when she starts chatting with him — his name is Jacob, and he’s just starting in her grade at her middle school.

But before Maddie can tell her best friend Jana about him at lunch the next day, Jana announces her huge new crush — on the same guy! Maddie doesn’t want to cause trouble, so she keeps her feelings hidden. Jana will get over her crush soon, right?

Add major school stress to Maddie’s secret, and it’s a recipe for disaster. Can she keep her cool and work things out with both Jacob and Jana before it all turns into a total mess?


Pumpkin Spice Secrets by Hillary Homzie is a deliciously fun middle grade story about first crushes, friendship and self-discovery.

At first, I had a difficult time getting into this book. I would read a few chapters and take days/weeks of break before I pick it up again. (I started reading October of last year and finished Jan 9) It wasn’t terrible or anything. Actually, the story was paced well, easy to read and charming in its own way. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for a middle grade book or something. But when I finished this a few days ago… I surprisingly had a change of heart and ended up really liking it. It’s light, fun, and incredibly cute. If I had been a tween reading this book, there’s no doubt in my mind that I would fall head over heels in love.

The characters were great and delightful. I really liked Maddie and thought she was just the kindest and sweetest girl. Tween me definitely could relate to her public speaking anxiety and boy dilemma. The friendships between the girls and the boys too were absolutely heartwarming. Maddie and Jana’s bond was amazing and that scene between them in the end just made my heart melt. The characters were just all so adorable and fun. And Maddie and Jacob – definitely shippable! I can just picture them together in their late teens being all lovey dovey and that would certainly make me swoon!

While I initially had a difficult time getting into this book, I definitely think it’s an amazing and cheerful read with many sweet moments that will make you smile and your heart happy. Pumpkin Spice Secrets is a fun, lighthearted, and lovely story with a sprinkle of tween drama – a sure hit for middle grade readers (and even adults) looking for something adorable and entertaining.

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.



Hillary is the author of the tween novels, The Hot List (Simon & Schuster/M!X)
and Things Are Gonna Get Ugly (Simon & Schuster/M!X), as well as the
humorous chapter book series, Alien Clones From Outer Space (Simon &
Schuster/Aladdin), a Children’s Book-of-the-Month selection and listed as one of
the 30 recommended funny books for kids in The Children’s Literature Lover’s
Book of Lists by Joanna Sullivan Ed.D. Suppertime Entertainment (the creators
of the twice Emmy-nominated Todd World) and Telescreen (Lizzie McGuire)
developed the books to become an animated television series. Hillary created the
bible for the show, and helped develop the pilot with a creative team including
animation veteran Chris Henderson (Disney’s Return to Neverland, Clifford’s
Really Big Movie) and director Terry Lennon (Lion King 11/2) and art director
Alan Bodner (The Iron Giant, Kim Possible). She is a creative consultant for
clones, which has been purchased by several networks, including ABC Australia.
Hillary’s young adult fiction has been published in Teen Magazine and
anthologized (Muddville Diaries, Avon Books), and she has sold non-fiction and
fiction projects to Klutz Press/Scholastic Books, The Learning Company and
John Muir Books.
Hillary found her start in comedy performing sketch Off-Broadway (Playwrights
Horizons, Synchronicity Space, 55 Grove Street, Manhattan Punchline, The
Boston Comedy Club and Schecky’s Big Fat Cantina with Sarah Silverman) with
HA! Comedy Duo and Rubber Feet, and was a Heideman Playwrighting Award
Finalist for play, The Juice of It. She has also written for many publications,
including Dance Magazine, New York Newsday and Parent’s Express, and has
reviewed books for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Children’s Literature.

Hillary holds a master’s degree in education from Temple University and a
master’s of arts degree from Hollins University in children’s literature and writing.
Currently, she’s an associate visiting professor of creative writing at Hollins
University Graduate Program in Children’s Literature, and has lectured on
comedy and children’s writing at conferences and schools across the United
States. She has also been privately coaching both published authors and
aspiring authors for nine years, several of whom have achieved publishing
success with major national accolades She loves to speak at schools and
literature festivals. Visit her on the web at and follow her
on twitter @HillaryHomzie.

(Photo Credit – Suzanne Bronk)

Follow and Connect with Hillary Homzie


Thanks for reading my review. Have you read this book or any others in the series? Let me know what you think in the comments. As always, have a lovely day!


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