I confess, I'm not doing too well with this unemployment thing because I'm an ESTJ and there's nothing we like better than structure and plans for the future. I will say this, however: Having the time to catch up on my reading is kind of nice. I'm knocking out a book a day or so, and the next few posts will be reviews. On to today's book!
Disclaimer: I have had the pleasure of calling Lara Zeises my friend for a number of years, so I am a little prejudiced in favor of this book. My prejudices, however, don't change the fact that The Sweet Life of Stella Madison (Delacorte, July 2009, copy courtesy of Delacorte) is a fantastic summer book, and it is the book to sink your teeth into if you just can't read another vampire book right now.
About the book: Back when I reviewed Robin Brande's Fat Cat, I confessed that I really am not a fan of cooking. I'm a fan of eating, sure, but I believe that food always tastes better when someone else cooks it. Stella Madison, almost 18, is a girl after my own heart. The daughter of two foodies, one a world-renowned chef, Stella would rather eat hamburgers than foie gras. Unfortunately, escaping from food is not an option. It's not just that Stella has to eat in order to live, but she's also landed an internship at the local paper, where her editor thinks she's got what it takes to be an ace restaurant reviewer. When she's not eating, writing, hanging out with her two best friends, or working at her mom's restaurant, the Open Kitchen, Stella is trying to figure out her relationships. She's currently dating Max, who is kind, funny, and crazy about her. All is great with Max until Stella meets Jeremy, who is hot, elusive, twenty-one, hot, a chef in training, and...yeah, hot. Max and Jeremy are two different sides of Stella, and she's at an odds on which one to choose.
Why you'll love it: Stella is refreshingly normal and relateable, but she's also well-rounded. She's not the prettiest or thinnest or richest girl in town, but she's smart and has interests outside herself and her boyfriend. I think what I like best about Stella is that in the presence of Jeremy, she often doesn't know what to say or do. She doesn't have a perfect witty comeback for everything, but she doesn't have to. Lara also knows that real life, even if it's a real life that doesn't involve YA literature superdramas like sex and drugs, makes for great reading. Complex family stories are Lara's specialty, and she doesn't disappoint here; Stella has to deal with her parents' dating dilemmas as well as her own. The romance is sexy and there's plenty of making out (Stella *is* 18, after all), but the interpersonal relationships are what really matter, making this a good choice for those younger readers who are dying for romances.
What's the only caveat of this book? Don't read it while you're hungry.
review at Bookends (Booklist blog) || Liz's review
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