Sunday, January 31, 2021

A Taste for Love

Yen, Jennifer. A Taste for Love
February 2nd 2021 by Razorbill 
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Liza is a senior in high school, and would really like to go to culinary school to pursue her love of baking, but her traditional parents (who run a Taiwanese restaurant and bakery) want her to go to a local Texas university and get a degree in accounting. Her older sister, Jeannie, is a model in New York City. Both girls are being encouraged to find a good Asian boy and get married as well. Liza prefers to date boys at her school, many of whom are white, and doesn't really want her mother and aunties setting her up. When she and her friend Grace keep running into Ben and James, who are cousins, Grace is very interested in Ben, but Liza thinks that "a dumpster full of rotten eggs would be more appealing than James". Still, she keeps running into him, even though he has graduated and is working. She visits her sister in New York, graduates, and is somewhat interested in her mother's yearly baking competition for younger cooks until she realizes that her mother has picked contestants who are all eligible bachelors-- including James. There is a lot of drama with her sister as well. Will Liza be able to be true to her rebellious self, pursue her love of baking, and find a guy who is right for her without her mother meddling?
Strengths: This was a fun teen romance that didn't have so much information that would disconcert gentle souls. I love the close knit family, the restaurant and bakery, and Liza's long suffering friends and sister. Teens pondering their college decisions is something that I wish I had been able to read about when I was in high school. I always enjoy a book that brings in particular cultures, and now I really want to go have some bubble tea! (Love the cover!)
Weaknesses: While I realize that some parents might tell their daughters "You act too smart. Boys don't like girls who are smarter than them" or "You need to stop eating all that rice, Liza", I wish that the mother had been called out on these statements. However, majoring in accounting is an absolutely solid choice is you want to some day own a bakery. 
What I really think: This was a bit long for middle school, and had a lot of high school specific worries. Also,  I don't know that I want middle school girls to normalize wanting to date boys whom they think are jerks. I will pass on purchasing for my middle school, but would probably buy it for a high school library. 

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