Reviewer Amy Lignor: Amy is the author of a historical fiction novel entitled The Heart of a Legend, and Mind Made, a work of science fiction. Presently, she is writing an adventure series set in the New York Public Library, as well as a teen fiction series, The Angel Chronicles. She is an avid traveler and has been fortunate to have journeyed across the USA, where she has met the most amazing people, who truly bring life and soul to her books. She lives in the Land of Enchantment (for now) with her gorgeous daughter, Shelby, her wonderful Mom, Mary, and the greatest friend and critic in the entire world - her dog, Reuben
Author: Lara M. Zeises
There are many good things about this book, especially the storyline of a young girl trying to love both of her parents, but having to give up the dream that they will someday be a "happy" family.
Author: Lara M. Zeises
Stella Madison is your typical teenage girl. She has a couple of really great best friends; a boyfriend named Max who is just about as sweet as you can get; and, a mother and father who turned their love for cooking into a love affair. Wait a minute...nope, that's not a typical teenage girl. Stella's perfect world does have at least a couple of difficulties. 1) Her parents have been separated for over six years, even though they've never gone ahead with a divorce. Her father is a premiere chef who everyone knows across the globe, but he likes to travel a great deal and has, for the most part, been absent from Stella's life. Her #2) problem would be the perfect boyfriend named Max. This is the boy that all mother's dream of for their daughters. He is hardworking, adorable, comes from a loving family, doesn't want to just have the "fun stuff" without actually being in love; and, is the perfect brother and son. Unfortunately, the day he tells Stella he loves her, Stella begins to panic. She's not one of those girls who intends to be the dutiful girlfriend, she wants more.
More, comes in the form of Jeremy. Jeremy has been hired by Stella's mother as an intern for her restaurant, The Open Kitchen. This is a restaurant/school that offers the chance for young chefs to learn from the masters, while serving their gourmet food to very happy customers - a real, interactive dining experience. One day, when Stella walks in to see her mom, she is stopped at the door by mom's business partner, Enrique. Enrique is my absolute favorite character. He is a drama queen through and through who has a Maltese named Miss Sugar who he dresses up in costume and absolutely dotes on. This one morning, Enrique pulls Stella aside and tells her about the oh, so gorgeous intern named Jeremy, and warns her that she will not be able to take her eyes off him.
Enrique is absolutely right. Stella panics even more. She's supposed to have given her heart to the young boy named Max whose mother is a gem and whose father is serving his country in Iraq. But as her heart beats solidly in her chest, she realizes that she is in terrible trouble...because Jeremy is one boy she really wants to kiss. Now, readers may call her shallow for this, but Stella needs to learn some very harsh life lessons and very quickly. Her best friends, Livvy, the strong, opinionated poet - and, Kat, a perfect 10 goddess who makes her own jewelry and loves dressing everyone in the latest couture, try to stand behind their friend in every decision she makes - even if it's the wrong one.
The new boy is not the only problem however. Stella goes for an internship at the local newspaper for the summer. She really wants the job, just to be able to get away from the world of food that she seems to be smothered in. Like Melanie Griffith in Working Girl, Stella gets the job. Unfortunately, the paper wants her because of her famous chef father. In fact, they want her to write food reviews. Stella is crushed. No matter what she does, she can't seem to escape the culinary world that she simply hates - the world that, to Stella, took away her father.
There are many good things about this book, especially the storyline of a young girl trying to love both of her parents, but having to give up the dream that they will someday be a "happy" family. She must also struggle through relationships to stand on her own two feet. The link between love, friendship, sadness, and comfort when it comes to food is extremely well-written. After all, life is just like food preparation - no matter what, all you need is patience to make a true masterpiece. Bon Appetit!
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