Genre: YA fiction
Synopsis: Can a spot on a teen reality show really lead to a scholarship at an elite cooking school AND a summer romance?
Sixteen-year-old Sophie Nicolaides was practically raised in the kitchen of her family’s Italian-Greek restaurant, Taverna Ristorante. When her best friend, Alex, tries to convince her to audition for a new reality show, Teen Test Kitchen, Sophie is reluctant. But the prize includes a full scholarship to one of America’s finest culinary schools and a summer in Napa, California, not to mention fame.
Once on-set, Sophie immediately finds herself in the thick of the drama—including a secret burn book, cutthroat celebrity judges, and a very cute French chef. Sophie must figure out a way to survive all the heat and still stay true to herself. A terrific YA offering–fresh, fun, and sprinkled with romance.
Review: I read this book in one sitting on a lovely Sunday morning (it took maybe 3 hours or so, I think). I wasn’t particularly enthralled at first; it seemed, for the first 10 pages or so, like the author tossed in backstory every chance she got, and I’ll admit it annoyed me a bit because to me, knowing every last detail about the protagonist’s life in the first 20 minutes is never a good thing. However, after I got over that little pet peeve, this little novel proved to be a charming read. I can’t say there was anything terribly original about it other than the droolworthy recipes included, but it was fun nevertheless. Sophie was a nice, likable character, and the rest of the cast, especially Stan and Shelby, were delightful to meet. There wasn’t too much drama or romance involved, and while there weren’t any shocking plot twists, my interest didn’t wane and I was pleasantly surprised that the author didn’t fall into some of the typical boxes that I would have put her in at the beginning. This novel turned out as a fun, fluffy, satisfying read that, with the culinary twist, was very refreshing.
Rating: 4.5 stars
Recommend it? 100%