Happy National Pie Day! It seems only appropriate today, January 23 Nat’l. Pie Day, to have a post somehow related to food. There are certain foods that make it somehow into every culture-pies, sandwiches, and dumplings spring to mind, so without further ado here is a guest post from Tessa Barber about potstickers and the YA novel Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet. –S. Debraski
I didn’t do a lot of cooking while I was growing up. It’s not like my family wasn’t into cooking–my grandma is a first-rate Italian cook, my mother is a clever innovator and recipe tweaker, and my dad is a master of the grill. But the role that my sister and I inhabited was strictly that of the Eater. And occasional holiday-cookie-decorator.
Lo and behold, we’ve both grown up to be a little food-obsessed, and we both spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I also like to know what the characters in whatever book I’m reading are eating. (This is a double-edged sword, as reading about food just makes me really hungry.) Sometimes this aspect gets pushed to the wayside, especially in very quest-heavy narratives. So it’s a pleasure to come across a book that is basically the story of a meal.
Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet by Sherri L. Smith is the story of Ana Shen’s family, told through the 8th grade graduation meal that they are all pulling together to cook. Ana planned on going to the graduation dance after the ceremony so she can dance with Jamie Tabata, and maybe let him know about the huge crush she has on him before he goes off to a private high school. She might even get her first kiss–she’s the salutatorian and he’s the valedictorian, so they seem made for each other. But right after Jamie’s speech and during her own, a water main breaks and floods the gym. Ana figures her plans are ruined, until her best friend Chelsea rashly suggests that Jamie and his parents come over to Ana’s house for an impromptu dinner. Ana’s not sure whether to stress out or celebrate when he accepts. Continue reading The Literary Kitchen
Jennifer Brown is a debut author who took some chances with her first book, tackling the tough subject of the aftermath of a school shooting from a unique perspective. Hailed officially as a hero by the school but hated by most of her classmates, Valerie is forced to come to grips with her unexpected role in a school shooting several months prior as she finishes her senior year. Jennifer Brown agreed to answer some questions about her inspiration for the story and the character’s relationships.
1. First, congratulations on the recognition you’ve received with Hate List. You were nominated for YALSA’s Top Ten List and you won the Thumbs Up! Award for the Michigan Library Association. Have you been surprised at the reception it’s been getting, especially since this is your first novel? Has the reception overseas been similar to what you’ve experienced in the U.S.?
Thank you for the congratulations! I have been very humbled by the reception that HATE LIST has gotten. It’s wonderful enough to get published and know that there’s at least one person (your editor) who thinks the book is worthwhile. To have librarians and reviewers and especially teen readers agree…it’s just the best feeling ever. So, surprised? Sure! And totally excited! Continue reading Interview with the Author: Jennifer Brown