Saturday, June 1, 2024

The Cookie Crumbles by Tracy Badua and Alechia Dow

The title on today's read had me grabbing up a copy immediately. But then, I was also hungry at the time. Still, I do enjoy a book with wonderful food descriptions. Add a good mystery, and it'll be a winner. Let's see if this one is as good as it sounds!

by Tracy Badua and Alechia Dow
Quill Tree Books
Middle Grade Mystery
320 pages
ages 8 to 12

JUNE 11th!!!

The Great British Bake Off meets Knives Out in this fun and propulsive middle grade novel following two best friends who must solve the mystery behind a baking competition gone awry.

Laila gave Lucy a cupcake on the second day of kindergarten, and they've been inseparable ever since. But the summer before eighth grade, they find out that since they live on opposite sides of town, they’ll go to different high schools. Yuck!

Then Laila’s invited to compete at the Golden Cookie competition, which awards its winner admission and a full ride to the prestigious Sunderland boarding school, and it’s the perfect opportunity. Sunderland doesn’t just have an elite culinary program; it’s also home to an elite journalism track, if only newscaster-hopeful Lucy could build up a strong enough portfolio to impress the scholarship committee.

But when one of the celebrity judges collapses after sampling Laila’s showpiece, rumors of foul play swirl, with Laila rising to the top of the suspect list. Even worse, a major storm has effectively cut off all access to the outside world.

Can the girls find the real culprit and clear Laila’s name before it’s too late?


Tangy and sweet baking wonders twirl with tension and possible murder in an engaging mystery, where the stakes go beyond scholarship dreams. 

Laila loves to bake, and she’s talented, too, but her only hope of making it into a well-known culinary high school sits on winning a full-ride scholarship. Her best friend, Lucy, is in the same boat, but her goals are set on the school’s other well-known direction, journalism. Both head off to the competition, Laila to bake for a win and Lucy on special permission to write an amazing article for the school paper (which will hopefully also gain her a top scholarship). They might be ready to support each other to the end, but neither is prepared for the negative tensions among the competitors. When one of the judges falls prey to an attempted murder, Laila becomes the main suspect. Now, her and Lucy need to find the true killer, find the evidence to prove that person’s guilt, and both prove they deserve the needed scholarships.

The first sentence already drew a smile: “Generally speaking, cookies don’t kill people.” It set the tone nicely for the rest of the read as baking goodness swirls around an attempted murder. The tale is told from both Laila’s and Lucy’s points of view with journal notes from each one written in between. The similarity in the names did take half-a-second to work through, but other than that, Lucy and Laila’s change in perspectives is easy to follow and gives exactly what’s needed, at the moment. Add the their golden friendship and knack for communicating without words, and the two make a great pair.

There are baking details to delight food fans and a well-woven web of clues to grab mystery sleuths. The other characters carry a wide range of personalities, making each individual shine in their own way for better or worse. Each carries a secret or two, and it’s hard to tell who can be trusted and who can’t. Add the competitive flurry, which packs more than a little nastiness, and there’s more than a little drama tossed in as well. As each secret comes to light, it becomes harder to know what the real motive is. Even the ending pulled through with an extra burst of surprises to keep readers on their toes.

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