WARNING: I am going to be talking in terms of food, and everything related to cooking in this review. Otherwise, I wouldn’t really be giving this book full justice.
This book is a pot full of love, family, high school, and one barely 18, teenage mom – stir in a 3-4 spoonfuls of drama, choices between reality and passion, family (plus, daddy) issues, and maybe a teaspoon of boy trouble – you’ve got yourself the recipe that will have you devouring each and every page.
Helpful Tip: Have a snack ready on the side, before reading. It’ll save you from the dire need to get up and grab something to eat from the very first page – I guarantee it.
Emoni Santiago is a mixed-race, high school senior, and the mother of a three-year-old daughter (baby girl A.K.A. Emma), and lives with her ‘Buela. She’s a sweet girl, with a slightly tough and rough side, due to all that she’s had to endure from a very young age, yet tries her best to be kind to those around her. It’s her maturity to deal with the situations she goes through at her age, and her patience throughout it that grabs a reader’s interest fairly early on – especially teenagers. But her talent is what really seeks one’s attention – her love, passion, and skill of cooking the most
delicious food, that had characters end up crying in the book, and will definitely have the reader’s mouth-watering, for sure.
The plot is simple, with Emoni figuring out what she wants to do with her life, with high school coming to an end, while considering all the factors in her life – money, her daughter, her passion. When a new culinary class is added to the curriculum, of course, she has to join it, if only to indulge in more of what she loves, but a trip to Spain, which is part of the class has her having second thoughts, bearing in mind all her financial crises. The chef in her and her determination is frequently tested within the book and has readers waiting patiently (like waiting for cookies in the oven) for the outcomes.
The characters are all diverse and blend in wonderfully with the story. From Emoni’s best friend, Angelica – a lesbian, who will have you appreciate the power of women’s sorority – to the new dimpled boy in her homeroom, Malachi – whose smile has girls tripping on there feet, and will be the turning point of Emoni’s perspective/ attitude towards the male species (slowly, but surely). And let’s not forget her family – her grandmother, with whom she shares a close relationship, especially since she’s the one who raised her; her father, who isn’t around much, giving us glimpses into all those daddy issues; and of course her daughter, baby girl A.K.A. Emma, who is Emoni’s escape (aside from cooking) from all that’s going on around her – she sprinkles in just the right amount of cuteness this book needs.
The small-ish chapters make it easy to move from to another, not wanting to put the book down and will have you wanting to read ‘just one more chapter’ till the last page.