Oy! Hope y’all are doing well on this charmed Friday!
My spring break has officially begun! I’m in for a very exciting week of absolutely nothing. I have a small gaggle of library books I’m hoping to tackle, including Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan, The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna, and Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco. I am ready for the break and am happy to say that my thoughts will not be consumed by 1984 nor trigonometric identities for 9 whole days. Wild, right?
Book: A Taste for Love
Author: Jennifer Yen
Published February 2nd 2021 by Razorbill
cheating (not mcs), discussions of eating disorders, underage drinking
To her friends, high school senior Liza Yang is nearly perfect. Smart, kind, and pretty, she dreams big and never shies away from a challenge. But to her mom, Liza is anything but. Compared to her older sister Jeannie, Liza is stubborn, rebellious, and worst of all, determined to push back against all of Mrs. Yang’s traditional values, especially when it comes to dating.
The one thing mother and daughter do agree on is their love of baking. Mrs. Yang is the owner of Houston’s popular Yin & Yang Bakery. With college just around the corner, Liza agrees to help out at the bakery’s annual junior competition to prove to her mom that she’s more than her rebellious tendencies once and for all. But when Liza arrives on the first day of the bake-off, she realizes there’s a catch: all of the contestants are young Asian American men her mother has handpicked for Liza to date.
The bachelorette situation Liza has found herself in is made even worse when she happens to be grudgingly attracted to one of the contestants; the stoic, impenetrable, annoyingly hot James Wong. As she battles against her feelings for James, and for her mother’s approval, Liza begins to realize there’s no tried and true recipe for love. (from Goodreads)
The summary of this book is the exact reason why I don’t read the summaries anymore. It says that Liza’s mom orchestrates a baking Bachelor to find Liza a boyfriend. Which yeah, that is what happens, but not until page 80-something. If that had been my expectation going into this book, I would have said it took foreverrrrrrr to get started. If I started the book thinking the baking competition was the main show, I would have thought the pacing was way out of wack. Luckily, I checked this book out based on a recommendation and didn’t read the summary until I started writing this post. But if you do decide to pick up this book, do be warned of the somewhat misleading summary.
Once we did get to the competition, it is as much of a hot mess as you would expect (and I mean that in the best way possible). I mean, exactly zero of the bakers had any sort of baking talent. On the first day someone burnt themself, another burst into tears, and a third quit. The drama levels were high, but they were so entertaining.
I cannot find the words to express how much I love Liza as a main character (but I’m going to try in this rambling mess of a section, so bear with me). Not only is she a sassy queen, but she is such a nerd. Decked out with brilliantly cheesy tshirts and enough book references to fuel a bookworm into the next life, you can’t help but root for her. And she bakes. Did I mention that??
And that is not to mention the socially awkward love interest that you can’t help but like. James’s people skills were practically nonexistent, but that didn’t stop him from trying. Watching this poor boy try to talk to Liza was the highlight of my day.
And that’s not even to mention the side characters. To say that I loved the friendship between Liza and Grace would be an understatement. I think I best said it in my notes while reading, where I very eloquently filled typed FRIENDSHIP! FRIENDSHIP! FRIENDSHIP! on repeat.
But to elaborate on that, the friendship between Liza and Grace is positively golden. They were so supportive of each other. If something was wrong, they zipped on over. When one was upset, they brought snacks and moral support. They have the type of friendship that would bury a body, no questions asked.
“Of course it came off Etsy. I wish I never introduced her to that hell site. It’s like Pinterest for people with insomnia and money.”
There were so many moments filled with snort laughter. The characters were delightfully witty and the internal monologue on Liza’s part were honestly my favorite part of the whole book. There were so many moments that made me smile (if only I could highlight, but NO that would be too much to ask from an ebook).
My only complaint, which is super-duper minor is the amount of similies. Some of them were absolutely hilarious, like this gem: “I try my best to get through the rest of the day, but I’m as good at dodging gossip as Tom Holland is with spoilers.” But others were just… not. I wish they had been sprinkled in with a touch more moderation.
Books with food is an absolute yes for April, but do you know what makes me even happier? Books filled with sweet treats. Expect lot’s of delish sounding baked goods. Possible side affects of reading A Taste For Love might include a strong urge to go on a complete baking binge. You’ve been warned. Add in the fact that it’s both a compelling Pride and Prejudice retelling and a delightful rom-com, this one is a fun read that helped pulled me out of a reading slump.
Have you read A Taste For Love? What did you think?