Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Review: The Doughnut Fix by Jessie Janowitz

by Jessie Janowitz
Middle Grade Contemporary
ages 9 to 12

Tristan isn't Gifted or Talented like his sister Jeanine, and he's always been okay with that because he can make a perfect chocolate chip cookie and he lives in the greatest city in the world. But his life takes a turn for the worse when his parents decide to move to middle-of-nowhere Petersville―a town with one street and no restaurants. It's like suddenly they're supposed to be this other family, one that can survive without bagels and movie theaters.

His suspicions about his new town are confirmed when he's tricked into believing the local general store has life-changing chocolate cream doughnuts, when in fact the owner hasn't made them in years. And so begins the only thing that could make life in Petersville worth living: getting the recipe, making the doughnuts, and bringing them back to the town through his very own doughnut stand. But Tristan will soon discover that when starting a business, it helps to be both Gifted and Talented, and it's possible he's bitten off more than he can chew...


The uncertainty of a twelve-year-old as he faces a whole new life thanks to a family move hits humor and an unexpected twist, which opens new doors in a way he never expected it could.

Tristan figures something is up when his parents take him and his two sisters for a ride into the countryside, leaving New York behind, but he never expected to be introduced to their new, future home on top of a hill in the middle of nowhere. Not happy about any of it, he takes his bike to find at least something to eat for breakfast the first morning they are there. But the town is basically non-existence...definitely lacking on the breakfast end of things. When he sees a sign offering chocolate cream doughnuts, he thinks he's rescued. But that sign isn't all it seems, and soon he finds himself making a decision he would have never even considered in New York.

The author lures in the sympathy during the first chapters as Tristan and his sisters are forced to leave everything they love behind...and that without any care for their opinion on the matter. Add Tristan's uncertainty about himself, since his one sister is 'gifted' and he struggles with multiplication, and he's a boy readers can easily identify with. Despite the negatives, Tristan is daring and holds just the right amount of rebellious attitude to make him a character to cheer for. He makes mistakes but sees them and corrects them. And he does become frustrated along the way.

There are so many good things about this book, which make it a gem when it comes to food for thought. Tristan's self-doubt and how he tackles it is one lesson. His prejudice to the small town takes a real flip as he discovers how much richness the seemingly simple people there actually have...and some of the funniest quirks. There's a wonderful dash of working together and helping hands when most needed too. 

The most obvious theme of this tale is the building of his own business. The author masterfully weaves the basics of starting up a business and the troubles in entails into the story. Tristan faces hurdles he never expected, but ones which are very true to life. The solutions he finds are easy to understand and reflect reality. At the end of the book, there is a basic run-down of the most important parts of the process. 

Humor lines the entire tale like a constant, pink cloud. Not only is Tristan's youngest sister full of cute, silly moments, but the  town's people hit with personalities as colorful as a rainbow. The pacing in the book does fall back every now and then, making it more a read for bookworms then reluctant readers. But it's still an enjoyable journey with Tristan, and the information he learns is sure to inspire young entrepreneurs and spark ideas of their own. 

And here she is...

Jessie Janowitz grew up in New York City and still lives there with her family.

She started making up stories before she was old enough to write them down. She still has one that she dictated to her mother. It’s basically Star Wars but takes place on a planet called Denkofa. Eventually, she came up with more original material. Her debut middle grade novel THE DOUGHNUT FIX, came out from Sourcebooks on April 3, 2018, is not at all like Star Wars, but there are doughnuts.

You can find her at...

No comments: