by Leisl Adams
Imprint: Amulet Books
17-year-old Rose loves to bake, and while working as a waitress at her friend’s family diner is great, Rose wants to bake. When a dessert mishap at the diner leads to an exclusive invite to a new baking competition called Batter Royale, Rose sees more than one opportunity opening up. If she and her best friend, Fred, win the competition, the half a million dollar prize not only gives Rose the money she needs for culinary school, but could also help Fred save his mom’s diner. However, Batter Royale seems rife with fierce competitors and a mysterious saboteur guaranteeing high stakes rather than a simple cake walk.
Adams constructs a contemporary story, with slightly fantastical situations, that’ll have readers hooked from the first page. Rose is a compassionate lead whose teamwork carries the theme of kindness over rivalry. Pleasantly, Rose’s antagonist is redeemed by the end creating a relatable character. The cute romance between Rose and Fred is worth the slow burn, and will have readers rooting for a happily ever after. Bright beachy colors showcase artwork that keeps scenes cheerful even during moments of conflict, while the cartoony character style and direct wording engages readers without over burdening them with information about baking. Recipes throughout create a simple, nice touch for those interested in trying out what Rose and Fred bake.
An energetic read for foodies and romance aficionados alike. Recommend to teens into contemporary romances such as Jennifer Yen’s A Taste for Love and Emma Lord’s When You Get the Chance.
– Emily Walker
The Selected Lists teams read throughout the year in search of the best titles published in their respective categories. Once a book is suggested (either internally or through the title suggestion form), it must pass through a review process to be designated an official nomination.
Each week, the teams feature a review of one of the officially nominated titles. Additional titles to receive this designation are listed as well. At year’s end, the team will curate a final list from all nominated titles and select a Top Ten.