Author: Kelly Fiore
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Publish Date: August 27th, 2013
“If you can grill it, smoke it, or fry it, Nora Henderson knows all about it. She’s been basting baby back ribs and pulling pork at her father’s barbeque joint since she was tall enough to reach the counter. When she’s accepted to Taste Test, a reality-television teen cooking competition, Nora can’t wait to leave her humble hometown behind, even if it means saying good-bye to her dad and her best friend, Billy. Once she’s on set, run-ins with her high-society roommate and the maddeningly handsome—not to mention talented—son of a famous chef, Christian Van Lorten, mean Nora must work even harder to prove herself. But as mysterious accidents plague the kitchen arena, protecting her heart from one annoyingly charming fellow contestant in particular becomes the least of her concerns. Someone is conducting real-life eliminations, and if Nora doesn’t figure out who, she could be next to get chopped for good.
With romance and intrigue as delectable as the winning recipes included in the story, this debut novel will be devoured by all.”
Taste Test by Kelly Fiore is one of those books with such a cute concept that you just have to read it. The second I read the synopsis I knew, good or bad, I'd be reading this one. And I enjoyed it! A lot, actually. It was fun and creative and perfect for a quick read at the beach.
The story takes place on the set of a teen reality cooking show, which is just about the coolest concept ever. Or, I think it is, at least, because I can't seem to stop watching reality cooking shows! They're addictive and so was this book (and the mystery that went along with it). I have to admit, I wish Fiore had picked an aspect of this story and stuck with it though. I felt between the romance, the mystery and the cooking, everything was stretched too thin. It all felt vague. If she'd pushed the cooking or mystery to the forefront and let the romance settle into the background Taste Test might have become one of my favorites. But as it is, I think it'll just become a cute book I read one time.
Let's talk about the love interest for a minute. I can't say I fell for Christian, but I can't say I didn't either. He was a jerk from the beginning of the book and he didn't grow or change much throughout the story, but what seventeen year old boy would mature in just a few months? Especially months spent on the set of a reality show!
The thing about Christian is that, even though whenever he's feeling insecure he reverts back to a thirteen year old caveman, he still has a good heart underneath that bravado and you do get glimpses of the man he might become, but he's not becoming that man in this book. So, no, maybe he's not the love interest that will stick with you and have you swooning all over yourself, but his character is a realistic take on a spoiled seventeen year old boy and I appreciate that. Plus he's one heck of a cook!
The thing that really makes this book stand out for me is the contestant recipes for the dishes they make throughout the show. There's everything from Nora's Three Chili Macaroni and Cheese to Joy's Lobster Bisque with Roasted Corn and Potato Shreds. Mmm. Yum. My mouth was watering the whole time I was reading so it only makes sense Fiore leaves the reader with a few fantastic sounding recipes!
While Taste Test might not have the consistency to stick with you after you put the book down, it's entertaining while you're reading and will leave you dying to try out some of those recipes. I highly recommend to fellow Food Network junkies and to anyone looking for a light, but very cute, story.
For more about Taste Test check out these sites!