The Royal We of Castle Rock

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Ashley Brooke

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Betsy Storey, Co-Editor at the Ashley Brooke Book Club
Betsy Storey
Co-Editor & Discussion Moderator

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Let's Discuss!

1. What’s Your Favorite Character?

2. Did the ending surprise you?

3. If you could ask the author one question, what would it be?

30 Comments

  1. Betsy Storey
    March 26, 2020 / 10:04 am

    1. What was your favorite You’ve Got Mail parallel?
    I think my favorite (super subtle) nod was finding out the parents dated. It reminded me of Tom Hanks’ grandfather remembering Meg Ryan’s mom, Cecelia Kelly and saying “we may have had a date once, or maybe we just wrote letters.”

    2. If you could create your own sassy baked good like Pepper and her sister, what would it be?
    Right now it would be Quarantine quiche 😉

    3. What was your favorite secondary storyline? (i.e. Pepper’s sister, Pooja and Pepper’s friendship, Weasel, Graduation, etc.)
    I loved the behind the scenes look at the two restaurants and how they came about and how they ran things.

  2. March 26, 2020 / 10:11 am

    1. What was your favorite You’ve Got Mail parallel?
    I loved that Jack knew who she was before she knew who he was and how he was falling in love with her all over again once he figured it out. The sweetest.

    2. If you could create your own sassy baked good like Pepper and her sister, what would it be?
    Hahah! Quarantine Quesadillas

    3. What was your favorite secondary storyline? (i.e. Pepper’s sister, Pooja and Pepper’s friendship, Weasel, Graduation, etc.)
    Oh, Pepper and her sister for sure! I loved their relationship! My sister is a former pastry chef, so I feel like this could totally be us!

  3. Victoria Wolf
    March 26, 2020 / 11:41 am

    1. What was your favorite You’ve Got Mail parallel?
    Jack and Pepper’s progression from classmates/enemies to friends to crushes! It was all so cute and their chemistry developed so naturally.

    2. If you could create your own sassy baked good like Pepper and her sister, what would it be?
    Frustrated French Toast

    3. What was your favorite secondary storyline? (i.e. Pepper’s sister, Pooja and Pepper’s friendship, Weasel, Graduation, etc.)
    Pooja and Pepper’s friendship! I have a friendship from high school that was similar and I loved seeing how they overcame the misunderstanding!

  4. March 26, 2020 / 11:46 am

    1. What was your favorite You’ve Got Mail parallel?
    So many things! I loved that Jack found out that bluebird was Pepper on the app, just like in the movie where he finds out before their date, but doesn’t let her know and their friendship developed naturally. There was also the extra element of Jack finding out that Pepper was running BLB’s twitter. It reminded me of the scene where he is standing outside of the cafe with his friend, and they realize Kathleen Kelly is who he has been talking to online. I liked the switch up in modern technology with twitter and an app, and I liked that Jack’s family had the small business and Pepper’s family had the big corporate one. I was half hoping for a scene where Pepper met up with Jack in the park (Wolf from the app) and would say “I wanted it to be you” but what really happened was just as good!

    2. If you could create your own sassy baked good like Pepper and her sister, what would it be?
    I loved the use of a baking blog/stress baking in the story, and then how Jack’s Dad stole a recipe from Pepper’s mom! I was not expecting that added element. I have been very into these deep dish chocolate chip cookie bowls from my favorite food blog pinchofyum.com, so I’d probably do like a cookie/brown mashup of that and call it like idk calming cookie bowls or something haha

    3. What was your favorite secondary storyline? (i.e. Pepper’s sister, Pooja and Pepper’s friendship, Weasel, Graduation, etc.)
    I LOVED the secondary story lines. Although this was a YA book (no hate I LOVE YA literature, I used to teach middle school ELA!) the secondary story lines made it so much richer and real, than it being just about Pepper and Jack (btw Pepper Jack? COME ON. So cute). I loved the relationship between Pepper and Pooja, Pepper/her sister/mom, and Jack’s grandmother.

    I LOVED this one. I was really invested in it haha

    • Betsy Storey
      March 30, 2020 / 12:56 pm

      Lindsay! I loved that you were super invested–so was I!

  5. Melissa Terry
    March 26, 2020 / 12:11 pm

    1. What was your favorite You’ve Got Mail parallel?
    I loved the whole small business v. corporate giant parallel and how in the end both Pepper and Jack found elements of good in the other’s business.

    2. If you could create your own sassy baked good like Pepper and her sister, what would it be?
    Right now I am doing all the baking because it is a stress relief plus it is providing an extra sweet addition to our time together at home. I LOVE the idea of quarantine quiche-ha!!! If I was creating a baked good it would probably be a bundt cake. Those are my favorites to make and my boys went nuts for one I came up with the other day. I’d call my creation “The Brothers’ Bundt”- it would include loads of chocolate chips of course ; )

    3. What was your favorite secondary storyline? (i.e. Pepper’s sister, Pooja and Pepper’s friendship, Weasel, Graduation, etc.)
    My favorite secondary storyline was the relationship between Jack’s dad and Pepper’s mom. I think we all have someone in our past who wasn’t meant to be our forever, but helped shape us into who we are today. Even though Jack’s dad made mistakes, it seemed like that relationship gave Pepper’s mom the confidence and experience she needed to succeed when it was her time to open her own business.

    • March 26, 2020 / 1:57 pm

      I’m with you! Loved the Jack’s Dad and Pepper’s mom storyline!

    • Betsy Storey
      March 30, 2020 / 1:00 pm

      I hadn’t thought about how they learned from each type of business. That’s such a good point. I feel like it’s easy to see the corporate business as the bad guy and the mom and pop as the good guy but that wasn’t the case here!

  6. March 26, 2020 / 12:52 pm

    1. I loved putting the small family-run business against the corporate “behemoth” aspect. You were supposed to dislike Big League Burger for their tactics, but I also ended up rooting for them when Pepper would y’all about their Nashville roots.

    2. I LOVED the descriptions of the fun baked goods! I would like to bake some Social Distancing Samoas – a take on my favorite Girl Scout cookie.

    3. One of my favorite side storylines was Pooja and Pepper’s friendship. It’s so easy to hold a grudge and be in competition in that environment, and it was a bit frustrating to learn that Pepper felt that way for no reason. However, I loved seeing their walls come down and Pepper feel supported by a friend she could turn to.

    • March 26, 2020 / 1:57 pm

      I was totally rooting for BLB as well! I’m with ya!

      • Betsy Storey
        March 30, 2020 / 1:01 pm

        I’m here for any riff on my favorite girl scout cookie!

  7. Alisha
    March 26, 2020 / 12:53 pm

    1. What was your favorite You’ve Got Mail parallel?
    I think the small business vs. corporate business was a great nod. I also loved how he knew who she was before she did. That was so sweet and developed really well.

    2. If you could create your own sassy baked good like Pepper and her sister, what would it be?
    Okay, Quarantine Quiche – can it get any better than that right now? I am seriously laughing out loud and am so glad I am reading this at home, and not in my office like I normally would be, where my co-workers would think I completely lost it. Last Resort Torte would be mine… I would try to hold off, but the COVID-19 is getting to me. So. many. snacks. Also, maybe it is a good thing I am normally at work because when I am home, all I do is bake and drink coffee.

    3. What was your favorite secondary storyline? (i.e. Pepper’s sister, Pooja and Pepper’s friendship, Weasel, Graduation, etc.)
    I really enjoyed the drama around the Weasel app – I thought it was a great addition and something that could absolutely be possible for kids in school today.

    Overall, this book totally exceeded my expectations! I LOVED it! I was a little hesitant with a YA novel, but this was darling, and even in my mid-thirties, I could totally relate to their feelings – and as someone in communications, I loved the witty retorts back and forth via their Twitter accounts. SO FUNNY! 🙂

    • March 26, 2020 / 1:58 pm

      I’m SO glad it exceeded your expectations! That mades me SO happy!

    • Betsy Storey
      March 30, 2020 / 1:02 pm

      The concept of Weasel was so interesting to me and definitely felt like something you’d find in a high school these days.

  8. Amelia
    March 26, 2020 / 1:06 pm

    1. What was your favorite You’ve Got Mail parallel?
    When Jack knew Pepper was Bluebird but fell in love with her even more once it clicked!
    2. If you could create your own sassy baked good like Pepper and her sister, what would it be?
    Sorry I Messed Up Everything Kitchen Sink Cookies (potato chips/pretzels/chocolate chips/butterscotch chips….maybe some chocolate covered espresso beans)
    3. What was your favorite secondary storyline? (i.e. Pepper’s sister, Pooja and Pepper’s friendship, Weasel, Graduation, etc.)
    I loved the Weasel story line. I would probably be like Paul and want to know who the supposed love of my life was. *cringe* My husband called our cat a weasel the other day and I said haha like the app?! And then he just started at me and I realized I was super duper invested in this book! Haha! Loved it! Y’all pick the best ones!

    • March 26, 2020 / 1:58 pm

      The Weasel story line was really good! I just loved this book!

  9. March 26, 2020 / 3:41 pm

    1. My favorite You’ve Got Mail parallel was Jack knowing who Pepper was before she knew who he was. I loved how Pepper and Jack talked to each other through the app he created, but that he never tried to find out who she was, even though he could; I appreciated that he found out through her sharing a huge part of her life to him. It was also fun to see the tables turned with Pepper workings for the “big box” restaurant, and Jack working for the Mom and Pop shop!

    2. My own sassy or rather aptly named dessert for the current times we’re living in would be “Stay Calm, and Cinnamon Role On”. I love cinnamon roles, and they’re a comfort food, so they would be something I’d revel in at the moment!

    3. The secondary storyline I enjoyed following was Pooja and Peppers friendship! The part where Pooja tells Pepper she didn’t intentionally give her the wrong answer, and Pepper admits to herself that because she had painted her and Pooja in certain lights, with preconceived notions that were not grounded in fact, that she herself was the reason she’d had a chip on her shoulder all of her years at school. I thought that scene played out realistically, and I felt the way Pepper was able to see she was in the wrong was very mature.

    I really enjoyed this book, and appreciated the escape that it was for me right now!

    • March 27, 2020 / 1:47 pm

      “Stay Calm, and Cinnamon Role On” SO. GOOD. Hahahahahhaahhahahha

    • Betsy Storey
      March 30, 2020 / 1:03 pm

      Yay! I’m so glad you liked this book friend–I thought it was sweet!

  10. March 27, 2020 / 1:22 pm

    This book looks darling!! Especially after reading the comments! I didn’t get a chance to read it this month (but am adding it to my list asap!!) I need a new read and am hoping to jump in on book club next month! Can’t wait to hear what the next pick is!

    • Betsy Storey
      March 30, 2020 / 1:04 pm

      Thanks for popping in Katie–I hope you get to read this one soon!

  11. Katherine McLean
    March 27, 2020 / 7:38 pm

    1. What was your favorite You’ve Got Mail parallel?
    Definitely how Jack knew he was messaging Pepper before she did! (The Sweetest!)
    2. If you could create your own sassy baked good like Pepper and her sister, what would it be?
    Work from home waffles!
    3. What was your favorite secondary storyline? (i.e. Pepper’s sister, Pooja and Pepper’s friendship, Weasel, Graduation, etc.)
    I think Pepper’s journey of trying to figure out what she wanted to do with her life! (Mainly the realization that she didn’t know, contrasted with Jack knowing what he wanted to do but not feeling like he had the option.) I also loved Pepper & Pooja unearthing the miscommunication between them!

    • Betsy Storey
      March 30, 2020 / 1:05 pm

      Soooo, waffles every morning we work from home, yes?!

      Hahaha

  12. Nicole
    March 30, 2020 / 12:40 pm

    1. What was your favorite You’ve Got Mail parallel?
    I’m probably the only person here to say this, but, I haven’t seen You’ve Got Mail so I have no idea!
    2. If you could create your own sassy baked good like Pepper and her sister, what would it be?
    Some sort of Covid Cake – right now I’m in to peanut butter and chocolate so that would be my preferred flavor!
    3. What was your favorite secondary storyline? (i.e. Pepper’s sister, Pooja and Pepper’s friendship, Weasel, Graduation, etc.)
    I really liked Pooja and Pepper’s friendship, I was happy to see their friendship grow throughout the book.

    • Betsy Storey
      March 30, 2020 / 1:06 pm

      Nicole! Now is your time–go watch YGM, you’ll love finding the little Easter eggs that relate to Tweet Cute!!

      Also You’ve Got Mail is my ultimate comfort film, it’ll make you feel good about life 😉

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About ABBC

The Ashley Brooke Book Club is here to inspire fun and thoughtful conversations about what we are reading, highlight women storytellers, and cross another great read off your ‘to be read’ list. We’re here for books that make you feel like you’ve had a night out with your girlfriends without ever leaving your couch!

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