Piper Paisley’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day. But despite her friends’ best efforts to hatch a plan for romance, Piper isn’t feeling the love.

And why should she? Her mother’s second husband, Beau, left not long ago, leaving Piper and her mom with young kids Lucy and Dom. Piper barely talks to Beau, who adopted her, or to her biological father, Jack, her mother’s first husband. To make things worse, with Valentine’s Day approaching, her mother is busier than ever with her floral shop, leaving Piper to put a kindergartner and preschooler to bed each night. Not an easy task, and especially stressful when the plumbing in their old house explodes!

Piper’s busy life doesn’t leave much time for homework, swim practice or volunteer work in the candy shop, let alone some fantasy plan for romance. Besides, Piper’s ideal boyfriend, Ben Donovan, seems totally unattainable. She can’t imagine talking to him, and she certainly won’t be revealing her secret feelings to her best friend and next door neighbor, Charlie.

Given Piper’s rather cynical attitude toward all things romantic, it’s no surprise that she’s the mastermind behind one of Jan the Candy Man’s most popular Valentine’s Day creations: Consternation Hearts. Their wry, cynical sayings reflect her own experience: Falling in love may be sweet, but staying in love is something else entirely.

In Love? Maybe. author Heather Hepler, who also wrote The Cupcake Queen, has concocted a realistic, but warmhearted look at love as well as the complexities of commitment. Piper and her friends are engaging characters who balance multiple responsibilities. And luckily for Piper, the promise of love is within her reach, just as sweet as candy.

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