Can a spot on a teen reality show really lead to a scholarship at an elite cooking school AND a summer romance?
Sixteen-year-old Sophie Nicolaides was practically raised in the kitchen of her family’s Italian-Greek restaurant, Taverna Ristorante. When her best friend, Alex, tries to convince her to audition for a new reality show, Teen Test Kitchen, Sophie is reluctant. But the prize includes a full scholarship to one of America’s finest culinary schools and a summer in Napa, California, not to mention fame.
Once on-set, Sophie immediately finds herself in the thick of the drama—including a secret burn book, cutthroat celebrity judges, and a very cute French chef. Sophie must figure out a way to survive all the heat and still stay true to herself. A terrific YA offering–fresh, fun, and sprinkled with romance.
Well, I finished this book.
So that’s a plus.
But God, what a waste of time. I literally felt that nothing. Oh, stuff did happen. There was a reality TV contest with characters that were flatter than the creepy bow twins on the latest incarnation of Master Chef Junior (and yes, I know the bow twins are just kids but their stylist really needs to be canned for making them look like they should belong on the set of The Shining), a couple of cute boys who’s main characteristics was that they were cute and either culinary institute student or the MC’s B.F.F. who makes her enter the contest. Oh, and yes the MC was Italian and Greek and that was her big thing besides her butt which she called “the tank” but other that…
Nope nothing happened here.
I feel like I need to back up on things Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous came out a few years back and was sort of on my radar but ended up in the pits of TBR pile. I’ll admit it, I like cooking shows. When I was in undergradthe Food Network was pretty much on 24/7 when I was in my dorm room just because it was entertaining enough to block out noise but not too entertaining for me to get distracted when I wrote essays about why Oprah should run for president (yeah, I actually did that-we were suppose to pick a person who we thought would likely get elected back in 2008, this was pre-Obama’s running announcement ) and the various Shakespeare plays I was forced to read because I was delusional enough to be an English major. I still watch cooking shows today-which mostly consist of Gordon Ramsay yelling at people because for some odd reason it is cathartic for me to listen him to yell at incompetent jackasses (probably because I can’t do that myself, even though I purposely became a lawyer to yell at people-’cause I’m not a nice person, ya’ll). So, seeing it in book form totally going to go for it. And a few years back a couple of books we’re introduced this being one of them and Taste Test being another.
I wasn’t a huge fan of Taste Test either, but unlike this book there was a semblance of a plot and it didn’t feel like 250 pages had been a complete waste of time. This book though, that’s the feeling I got. As you probably saw from the introductory paragraphs of this review. The book had 1D characteristics at best which is a shame. Yes, I get the MC has Greek and Italian heritage that she lost her mother and is torn in a love triangle between the boy next door and the hot cooking whiz she shares two lines of dialogue with-but Williams never made me care about them. Or for that matter, she never resolved that plot.
She never resolved anything. Okay we’re heading to major spoiler territory now. So if you’re one of those weirdos who actually cares about things like that you probably don’t want to read the next paragraph because it’s going to be a very spoiler filled rant…
The book just ends exactly how it starts. The MC doesn’t win. There’s really no explanation for her loss. She’s just back to working at her dad’s restaurant except she’s okay with being called Sophia now (okay, I didn’t get the whole not liking Sophia thing to begin with anyway). And she’s sort of involved with both boys at the end of it, but sort of not (just like the entire book!). She doesn’t really learn anything about herself, he new friends problems are never explained. And I never did find out if Phillip was related to the producers or not (I assume he was because that’s the only way someone who can’t cook a fucking egg could’ve won a cooking contest). Not that that was ever discussed. The book just mentioned that this random minor character named Phillip seemed to win all the time and cooked horribly and no explanation was ever made for it, so I’m saying he’s related to the producers.
Phillip’s non-existing storyline seemed to be one of many that filled this book. From the quasi romances going on. To the long lost aunt. To the burn book that the producer’s started. To the contestant with the maybe eating disorder. To the contestant with the romance with Phillip. To the fragmented sentences of this paragraph. There were that many plot holes.
The book just really seems to be going nowhere and it’s a fucking shame. There was a lot of potential with Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous, but at the end of the day the book was more than a little bit of a let down.
Overall Rating: A C. I have read worse and at least with this one it was painless short-I read it in the span of two hours.