Sunday, June 13, 2021

Review: Bake Believe by Cori Cooper

I have a slide-in review this evening. It's something I spied on Netgalley and couldn't pass up, especially when I discovered that this one melds recipes in with the tale. It's fantasy, middle grade/tween drama, magic, and baking all rolled into one. 

So, if you have a sweet-tooth, read on!

by Cori Cooper
Immortal Works Publishing
Middle Grade Magical Realism
282 pages
ages 8 to 12

Cat Anderson doesn’t want much out of life. Give her a circle of friends to giggle with, a few boys to flirt with, a cute outfit and bouncy hair and she is good to go!
She especially could care less about food.
But food, it turns out, is a very big deal.
A scheduling mishap on her first day of 8th Grade lands Cat in a Culinary Arts class. Something happens when Cat bakes, something amazing, something impossible.
Can it be true?
Or is it Bake Believe?



Deliciously baked goods meet magic for a fun adventure...and tons of ideas to munch on, too.

Cat's mother doesn't bake. She doesn't cook, either, which means they always eat frozen foods, which are simply warmed up. Cat thinks nothing of it until she actually enters a bakery...something her mother would have never, ever allowed if she was there. One bite of a homemade pretzel, and Cat is in heaven. When a school schedule mix-up has her placed in a culinary class, Cat quickly learns that fresh baked is awesome, but every time her friends eat her treats, they act weird. When her mother finds out Cat's baking, she's anything but happy...and soon, Cat learns why.

The idea of cooking emotions into food isn't a new one, but this book takes it for a delicious and entertaining spin. Cat is pure tween as she gets ready for the last day of summer, and it's hard not to smile at her hectic ridiculousness as she heads to the pool. The reader gets to know Cat well before the magic settles in, and that's great because it allows her somewhat silly, yet full of goodness self to come through and set the perfect stage to come. 

The flow of magic into the plot has a slow build, and allows it to dribble in with natural finesse. I did find it a bit slower than I like at times, but then, I tend to be an action fan. Still, we get to know Cat well, and it's hard not to feel with her as she learns about what she can do, and then how to handle it. The entire thing beats every day tween-girl drama in with more than a pinch of insecurities, family, first crushes and friendship. 

But that's not all. At the end of each and every chapter is a recipe, which readers can bake themselves. The directions are written as if Cat had written them herself. Some of these are more advanced, while others are very simple. The cookbook and plot make for a fun, tasty mix.

No comments: