Saturday, February 23, 2019

Summer of a Thousand Pies

35828100Dilloway, Margaret. Summer of a Thousand Pies
February 26th 2019 by Balzer + Bray
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

After the death of her mother, Cady's father has found it hard to keep a job, stay away from alcohol, and to provide Cady with a stable home and supervision. He has enrolled her in a very good school, and her teachers are understanding and supportive, but when she gets in trouble for defending another student and her father shows up to the office inebriated, Cady ends up with children's protective services. They locate a sister of her mother's Cady didn't know about, and soon Cady is whisked away from San Diego in the country to live with her aunt Shell and her companion Suzanne. Cady would love to cook and has a cookbook of her mother's, so she is enthralled that Shell has a pie shop. She meets Jay, the son of a woman who works for Shell, and they start hanging out at the shop and doing some baking. Cady misses her old school and Jenna, her first grade reading buddy who has various health issues including celiac disease but is glad to be in a house with a steady source of food. She also is glad of some connection to her mother. The pie shop is not doing well financially, and along with learning how to bake, Cady and Jay try various ways to help the shop, such as new flavors and marketing techniques. It's important to Jay, because his family is undocumented, and they survive because they live in Shell's housing and work at her shop. They eventually realize that there aren't many gluten free pies in their area, and do a cost-benefit analysis with a helpful older shop patron and realize that, with his help, the business can expand and succeed.
Strengths: I loved the small town setting and the involved townspeople. The intricacies of running a small business are well addressed. Jay and Cady have a very nice friendship. Cady has a difficult life but manages to move forward, while still reminiscing about the good things in the past.
Weakesses: While all of the different issues are handled realistically and well, there are a lot of them. There's same sex parenting, drug and alcohol issues, immigration problems AND financial insecurity. And, to be on-trend with my least favorite trope, yet another father so bereft that he can't function. It's a lot of heavy topics to have in one book. The more heavy topics there are, the less seriously any one of them can be dealt with.
What I really think: Even though this had a lot of sad things in it, it was still fairly hopeful. Since Kids Who Do Things is a always a popular topic, and the cover of this is adorable, I'll buy it for my readers who like a good cooking story.

Ms. Yingling

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