Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Pizza My Heart: A Wish Novel

Richardson, Rhiannon. Pizza My Heart: A Wish Novel
January 4th 2022 by Scholastic Inc.
E ARC provided by Edelweiss Plus

Maya loves her life in Brooklyn, and her parents' innovative pizza shop, Soul Slice, is the center of her vibrant neighborhood. When they decide to move in order to set up a second shop in a Philadelphia suburb, she is devastated. It means leaving her best friend Sasha, and starting school in a new place without the same sense of community. Her parents are very busy with the new shop, and demand that Maya help out with deliveries, which means walking or taking her bike around to unfamiliar areas. On her first delivery, she has an unpleasant encounter with Justin, who of course shows up in her class at school. Luckily, she also makes a friend in former artist Devin, whose twin sister Waverly has a crush on Justin. To complicate matters, Justin's father is working with her parents to redesign the new restaurant, and Justin is spending a lot of time there while Maya is. They come to an uneasy truce, but neither trusts the other. Maya's parents are unwavering in their demands that she help them out, even though this means she can't make it to the art club at school. Devin realizes that if the art club orders pizzas and Maya delivers them, she can spend a bit of time with the club before getting back. Maya's art project for a competition is to design a mini version of the restaurant, and Justin encourages her to share her ideas with her parents, but she doesn't want to. When her parents can't make the awards ceremony AND demand that Maya not attend so that she can be at the restaurant opening, Justin and Devin once again help her try to find a way to accomplish both things. When this doesn't work very well, Maya is forced to finally reckon with her parents and to set things right. 
Strengths: While Maya doesn't want to move, I appreciated that she had a decent time of changing schools and communities. She makes new friends, sees the benefits of her parents' new restaurant, and even finds things at school that she enjoys. She is able to keep in touch with Sasha in Brooklyn, adn there aren't a lot of tensions there, although there are a realistic few. Her interest in art is well done, and her fears that her parents will make her take over the restaurant when she grows up are well founded. Justin is cute but irritating, something which young readers must find interesting, since this shows up frequently in middle grade lit. He is NOT , however, that much of a jerk, and his reactions are based on some life changes that have upset him. He tries repeatedly to make things right with Maya, which I did find charming. This is another fantastic WISH novel that my students will love. 
Weaknesses: There was something that didn't quite work about Maya's parents demanding that she work in the restaurant and not understanding how difficult the move was for her. Yes, they were busy, but they seemed understanding about most things, and seem to have a better relationship with Maya than their actions indicated. Can't quite put my finger on it, and younger readers will just assume it's parents being parents (insert eye roll), but the general relationship didn't support their actions.
What I really think: While I don't personally want to eat Chicken and Waffle pizza or barbeque pizza, these sound like great recipes and there should be an actual Soul Slice somewhere! Wish novels are hugely popular in my library, and this is a great addition to the collection. I'd love to see more titles written by authors with cultural connections and dealing with food from other countries. My favorite restaurants to frequent are small, family run ones that feature food with which I am not familiar, and I would love to read more! 
 Ms. Yingling

1 comment:

  1. Chicken and waffle pizza sounds odd, but I'd eat bbq pizza! Sounds like a fun book!