Tuesday, August 21, 2012

ARC Book Review: Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous

Author: Kathryn Williams
Publication Date: August 21, 2012
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

Can a spot on a teen reality show really lead to a scholarship at an elite cooking school AND a summer romance?

Sixteen-year-old Sophie Nicolaides was practically raised in the kitchen of her family’s Italian-Greek restaurant, Taverna Ristorante. When her best friend, Alex, tries to convince her to audition for a new reality show, Teen Test Kitchen, Sophie is reluctant. But the prize includes a full scholarship to one of America's finest culinary schools and a summer in Napa, California, not to mention fame.

Once on-set, Sophie immediately finds herself in the thick of the drama—including a secret burn book, cutthroat celebrity judges, and a very cute French chef. Sophie must figure out a way to survive all the heat and still stay true to herself. A terrific YA offering--fresh, fun, and sprinkled with romance

I requested this book from the publisher back at the beginning of the summer just because of how completely adorable it looked and sounded! A girl chef with a passion for tomato sauce sounds like such a cute read and I loved the wooden spoon she is holding on the front cover; it just added charisma and attitude to my perspective of Sophie. I read on to find out that she was Greek/Italian, yeah even cooler!! This book sounded like the perfect summer read and first impressions really matter, right?!

This book was not what I expected it to be. It was a cute read but it just lacked something for me. I was not as into it as I hoped that I would be. I really wanted it to be like one of my favorite books, but sadly I was a little disappointed. Not that it was all bad because there were definitely parts that I did like. I loved Sophie’s ambition and her desire to cook. I could feel a passion in her that was so real and I love that she was so connected to her family and really embraced her Greek/Italian culture. I will admit that the cover caught my eye here and the story did not quite match my radiant expectations.

Like I said before it was an enjoyable read, but I never felt a strong pull or connection to the story that made me want to keep reading until I finished the book. First of all I hate reality shows anyway the ones like Jersey Shore, The Bachelor, or The Bad Girls Club. However, I love shows like Chopped and Iron Chef so I thought that maybe I would like this book seeing as how Sophie is a contestant on Teen Test Kitchen. I did not like this reality TV show setting. I felt like parts of it were so generic and that I already knew what would happen next. I feel like I would have like Sophie in a different setting, if that makes sense to readers.

I was left disappointed by the romance side of things as well. I felt like this would be a breezy read with cute and romantic lines from a ridiculously handsome boy, but sadly I was left empty handed in this department as well. I felt like Sophie was even closed off to me sometimes as well in the romance department and I wish I could have known more of her feelings and thoughts in certain parts of the book. I wish Sophie would have been more a go getter!! I did like Sophie but I just felt like sometimes she was too scared to take a chance on things that she knew she wanted.

I did love the recipes that were included in the book and I will treasure the book just for those recipes. It added a nice touch and made Sophie feel more realistic and personable to me as I read her story. Nice touch, Kathryn!! Not an overall bad book if you are looking for a light summer read.

***A copy of this book was generously provided to me for an honest review by Henry Holt & Co. Thank you so much!!***


  1. Sorry to hear that this didn't meet your expectations! The cover really makes this seem like a cute read, but finding out that a main part of the book is a reality televison show does make me wonder. I'm like you and hate shows like Jersey Shore, and I was hoping this would be closer to the cooking show side of things but it doesn't sound like it. Thanks for the honest review!

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