Review by Booklist Review
When seventeen-year old Lila falls apart following significant tragedies in her life, her family sends her on a little sabbatical away from Miami, to stay with a relative in Winchester, England for the summer. At first, it's the last thing Lila wants; after all, she and her sister are supposed to inherit the family bakery, and she loves nothing more than to make delicious food and feed people. Things in Winchester fall into place as she meets new friends and pours her heart into the kitchen at her family's inn. The heart-wrenching grief Lila feels for her recently deceased abuela and subsequent loss of two important relationships comes in waves throughout the story, striking suddenly then ebbing as Lila discovers new and healthy ways to cope. Anyone who has lost a loved one knows exactly how it feels, and Namey conveys it perfectly. This book has it all: the recipe for new, lasting, happy friendships, a dash of romance, and some gentle (albeit hard) lessons about honoring yourself and letting go of people as perspectives shift.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Lila Reyes, 17, had her whole life after graduation planned out--stay in her native Miami, take over her family's bakery, get an apartment with her best friend, and keep dating her boyfriend--but after "the trifecta," a series of massive losses, she's sent to a medieval town in Hampshire, England, to visit her Tía Cate. Lila is determined to return to Miami, but new experiences begin to warm her up to England--replacing the head baker on leave at Tía Cate's traditional British inn, as well as meeting new friends Remy and Jules, and getting to know Orion, a boy who becomes her unofficial tour guide. Now, exploring England and bringing her beloved Miami into the Cuban food she makes, Lila just might not want to return home so soon. Namey (The Library of Lost Things) shines at characterization and portraying self-discovery ("I can change my life recipe, too"). A heartwarming romance paired with a well-written setting add up to a satisfying read on multiple levels. Ages 12--up. Agent: Natascha Morris, BookEnds Literary. (Oct.)
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Review by School Library Journal Review
Gr 7 Up--Lila has led her life following every instruction, much like she does with her beloved family recipes. Nestled in Miami, Lila has been surrounded by her Cuban family and has her life planned out after high school--take over her abuela's bakery, move in with her best friend, and keep seeing her boyfriend Andrés. But even recipes that are tried and true can sometimes fall apart. Lila's best friend Stef wants to do missionary work in a rural village in Africa, Andrés breaks up with her, then the worst thing happens--her abuela passes away. Lila is left numb and, in an attempt to feel something, she goes for a run that lasts hours without telling anyone. Worried, her family makes the decision to send Lila to England to stay with family. There, Lila misses her Cuban family, sunny weather, and her old life. She is stuck in the past and can't seem to move on. New scenery helps Lila reflect on her life and bring into focus what she wants, which may not be what she thought it was. It also doesn't hurt that she meets a cute boy named Orion. Like so many children of immigrants, there is a sense that first-generation children should have careers thought out, and Lila is realizing that she has power over her life's direction. The teen's sweet love story and desire to find herself while trying to stay connected to her Cuban heritage is a relatable message. VERDICT Readers who have often wondered about stepping outside their comfort zone can find courage in Lila's story.--Katie Llera, Brunner Elem. Sch., Scotch Plains, NJ
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
An avalanche of grief--the death of her beloved Abuela, first love lost, and the betrayal of a best friend--is just too much for 17-year-old Lila Reyes. Lila's family sends her to England, hoping a new place will help her pick up the pieces of a shattered heart after her longtime boyfriend, golden boy Andrés, ends things right before prom and she learns that her best friend was secretly planning two years of volunteering in Ghana instead of moving in with her. But Winchester is cold and so very old--nothing like the vibrant heat of Miami. Can a Cuban American baker who dreamed of taking over La Paloma, the family bakery founded by her Abuela, really find peace here? But between the incredible kitchen at the inn run by Cate, her Venezuelan honorary aunt; the diverse, new friend group that takes her in; and the blue eyes and caring heart of tea seller Orion Maxwell, she might just be OK. Namey does a lovely job with pacing in this book, slowly unfolding Lila's story as her relationships grow naturally. This sweet coming-of-age novel looks at grief head-on but contains plenty of lighthearted moments. The food Lila cooks and the Spanish she uses will feel comfortingly familiar to Cuban readers. Part romance, part foodie heaven, the warm atmosphere will make readers want to cook and dance and love. (Fiction. 13-18) Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.