Salty, bitter, sweet

Mayra Cuevas

Book - 2020

"A driven 17-year-old girl whose family life has fallen apart after the death of her Cuban abuela and the divorce of her parents turns to a kitchen apprenticeship in Lyon, France, as the only means to bring order back to her life"--

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YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Cuevas Mayra
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Location Call Number   Status
Young Adult Area YOUNG ADULT FICTION/Cuevas Mayra Checked In
Subjects
Published
Grand Rapids, Michigan : Blink [2020]
Language
English
Physical Description
313 pages ; 22 cm
Audience
Ages 13+.
ISBN
9780310769774
0310769779
Main Author
Mayra Cuevas (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Isabella is a young aspiring chef who comes from a mishmash of cultures that often leaves her feeling like she doesn't identify with any one of them. Part French, part Cuban, and part American girl, she throws herself into her ambitions rather than dwelling on whether she got the best of all worlds. Following the death of her abuela and her parents' divorce, Isa jets over to Lyon, France, where her dad lives with his new and pregnant wife. There, Isa joins a prestigious competition to be an apprentice to a world-class chef. The story explores the idea that, sometimes, ambition and hard work can take over completely, leaving the individual feeling miserable. The book's layout, with its wide margins, recalls a cookbook, as if any moment the reader may be treated to a recipe for something decadent. Readers may catch small nods to figures of the food world, such as Anthony Bourdain, or salivate over the tantalizing descriptions—or itch to visit the French countryside. A treat for foodies. Grades 10-12. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Cuban-French Isabella Fields, 17, is the only American among 15 students chosen for a three-week apprenticeship at La Table de Lyon, a Michelin three-star restaurant in the world's gastronomic capital. One graduate will be selected to stay on for a year, and the competition is intense. For Isabella, the apprenticeship is a chance to press "a reset button to erase everything that's happened in the last year." Her beloved Cuban abuela, Lala, died, and Isabella emigrated from Chicago to France with her father and new, pregnant stepmother Margo; she's avoiding "the why-did-you-cheat-on-Mom conversation," as well as her overwhelming grief. But the high-pressure environment of Chef Troissant's kitchen is a far cry from the love-filled cooking on Lala's Kansas farm. When Margo's smoldering stepson Diego moves in with them, Isabella finds her attention growing divided. Though Diego and Isabella's eventual partnering is never in question and character development is slight, Cuevas effectively touches on the complexities of female ambition in a male-dominated field and multiracial identity ("Never Cuban enough, or French enough, or American enough—that's me, a dissonant three-course meal"), making this an engaging, multilayered read for aspiring chefs. Ages 13–up. Agent: Saritza Hernandez, Corvisiero Literary. (Mar.) Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

Gr 8 Up—Isabella has faced a lot of heartbreak and disappointment. Her beloved grandmother, who instilled in her a passion for cooking, recently passed away, and her parents divorced after a rocky marriage and her father's affair. The silver lining: she's spending the summer in France with her father and new stepmother and participating in a highly selective cooking class for young people at the restaurant of the world-famous Chef Grattard. If she wins the competition and gets the highly sought-after restaurant apprenticeship, her dreams of running a high-end restaurant will become closer to reality. But is being a chef all it's cracked up to be? And what about Diego, her stepmother's stepson from another marriage, who is suddenly crashing with her new family? Diego is handsome but complicated, and he's throwing another curveball into Isabella's already complex new life. But with the help of her fellow classmates Lucia and Pippa, Isabella just might make it through the intensely demanding culinary course and figure out what she really wants in the process. Cuevas does a wonderful job of weaving together a coming of age, early love story with compelling characters and the beautiful scenery of Europe. What makes the story unique is the emphasis on career success while also maintaining self-care and a moral compass. Isabella is a character who many teens would love to have as a friend, with her raw honesty, ambition, and genuine passion for her loved ones as well as the culinary arts. This book will take readers to the beautiful cities of Europe and into a strong, compassionate teenage girl's heart. VERDICT A heartwarming testament to the power of female friendships, the drive for success on one's own terms, and accepting one's family, even if they turn out differently than originally thought.—Margaret A. Robbins, University of Georgia, Athens Copyright 2020 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

An ambitious teen struggling through the aftermath of her abuela’s death and parents’ divorce takes an apprenticeship in the competitive kitchen of a world-famous chef while navigating her feelings for an enigmatic boy. Simultaneous eBook.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"A driven 17-year-old girl whose family life has fallen apart after the death of her Cuban abuela and the divorce of her parents turns to a kitchen apprenticeship in Lyon, France, as the only means to bring order back to her life"--

Review by Publisher Summary 3

A driven 17-year-old girl whose family life has fallen apart after the death of her Cuban abuela and the divorce of her parents turns to a kitchen apprenticeship in Lyon, France, as the only means to bring order back to her life.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

A slow-burn romance in a cutthroat kitchen! There’s more to becoming a top chef for 17-year-old Isabella Fields than just not getting chopped … especially when the chances of things heating up with an intriguing boy and becoming a food star in the kitchen are both on the chopping block.Salty, Bitter, Sweet:Is a YA contemporary #OwnVoices novel written by CNN producer Mayra CuevasIs a perfect book for foodies ages 13 and up, and features a Latina main character who is trilingualExplores complicated family dynamics and relatable themes of friendship, acceptance, and learning to care for yourselfAspiring chef Isa’s family life has fallen apart after the death of her Cuban abuela and the divorce of her parents. And after moving in with her dad and her new stepmom, Margo, in Lyon, France, Isa feels like an outsider in her father’s new life. She balances her time between avoiding the awkward “why-did-you-cheat-on-Mom” conversation with figuring out how a perpetually single woman can at least be a perpetually single chef.The upside of Isa’s world being turned upside down?Her father’s house is located only 30 minutes away from the restaurant of world-famous Chef Pascal Grattard, who runs a prestigiously competitive international kitchen apprenticeship. The prize job at Chef Grattard’s renowned restaurant also represents a transformative opportunity for Isa who is desperate to get her life back in order—and desperate to prove she has what it takes to work in an haute kitchen. But Isa’s stress and repressed grief begin to unravel when the attractive, enigmatic Diego shows up unannounced with his albino dog.How can Isa expect to hold it together when she’s at the bottom of her class at the apprenticeship, her new stepmom is pregnant, she misses her abuela dearly, and things with the mysterious Diego reach a boiling point?Critics love Salty, Bitter, Sweet! School Library Journal says, “A heartwarming testament to the power of female friendships, the drive for success on one's own terms, and accepting one's family, even if they turn out differently than originally thought.” Midwest Book Review calls it “an impressively and deftly crafted novel.”

Review by Publisher Summary 5

A slow-burn romance in a cutthroat kitchen! There’s more to becoming a top chef for 17-year-old Isabella Fields than just not getting chopped … especially when the chances of things heating up with an intriguing boy and becoming a food star in the kitchen are both on the line.Isa’s family life has fallen apart after the death of her Cuban abuela and the divorce of her parents. And after moving in with her dad and her new stepmom, Margo, in Lyon, France, Isa feels like an outsider in her father’s new life. She balances her time between avoiding the awkward “why-did-you-cheat-on-Mom” conversation and her diligent aspiration to become a premiere chef.Despite Isa’s world being turned upside-down, her father’s house is located only 30 minutes away from the restaurant of world-famous Chef Pascal Grattard, who runs a prestigiously competitive international kitchen apprenticeship. The prize job at Chef Grattard’s renowned restaurant also represents a transformative opportunity for Isa who is desperate to get her life back in order—and desperate to prove she has what it takes to work in an haute kitchen. But Isa’s stress and repressed grief begin to unravel further when the enigmatic Diego shows up at the house unannounced.How can Isa expect to hold it together when she’s at the bottom of her class at the apprenticeship, her new stepmom is pregnant, she misses her abuela dearly, and things with Diego reach a boiling point?Mixing up only the best ingredients, Salty, Bitter, Sweet: Is a clean and wholesome rival-to-lovers trope set in a cutthroat kitchen environmentIs a perfect book for foodies ages 13 and up, and features a Latina main character who is trilingualExplores complicated family dynamics and relatable themes of friendship, acceptance, grief, and learning to care for yourself Perfect for TV fans of Top Chef, Chopped, and The Great British Bake-off, as well as YA titles such as With the Fire on High or A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow Has authentic representation of Mayra Cuevas’ background