With buzz about the new movie Julie and Julia, I have cooking on the brain right now. So, I was pleasantly surprised when I decided to read this as a potential teen event book to find that the main character, Lainey, is obsessed with Julia Child (a.k.a. “Saint Julia”). Her dream after high school is to visit Saint Julia’s exhibit at the Smithsonian then go on to become the first African-American host of a vegetarian cooking show! I couldn’t think of a better idea. First she must finish her last year of high school, with its social dramas, and discover what true friendship really means. This is a perfect book for the budding chef, and allows practice with Lainey’s own recipes at the tail end of each chapter.— Brandi
SEVENTEEN-YEAR-OLD LAINEY DREAMS of becoming a world famous chef one day and maybe even having her own cooking show. (Do you know how many African American female chefs there aren’t? And how many vegetarian chefs have their own shows? The field is wide open for stardom!) But when her best friend—and secret crush—suddenly leaves town, Lainey finds herself alone in the kitchen. With a little help from Saint Julia (Child, of course), Lainey finds solace in her cooking as she comes to terms with the past and begins a new recipe for the future.
Peppered with recipes from Lainey’s notebooks, this delicious debut novel finishes the same way one feels finishing a good meal—satiated, content, and hopeful.
About the Author
This is Tanita S. Davis’s first novel. She made her first pâte à choux in high school, discovered that Mae Ploy sauce goes with almost everything, and that there’s nothing on earth like good Thai food. She lives in Northern California with two finches, a snake named Willful, and the world’s best baker.
“Davis’s debut offering is as delightful and fulfilling as the handwritten recipes in progress included at the end of each chapter.”—Kirkus Reviews
"A book with a lot of heart. Readers will relate to Lainey, who doesn't always say the right thing, who has a love-hate relationship with her mother, and who finds her dreams realized at the novel's end." —School Library Journal
"Davis's first novel shows much promise for good things to come. Too few novels feature well-drawn, well-educated, middle-class African American characters like Lainey and her family." —Booklist