Gladys Gatsby has dreamed of becoming a restaurant critic for New York's biggest newspaper--she just didn’t expect to be assigned her first review at age 11. Now, if she wants to meet her deadline and hang on to her dream job, she’ll have to defy her fast-food-loving parents, cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy, and battle Manhattan’s meanest maitre d’.
Gladys loves food. She loves to read about it, cook it, and eat it. Her parents don’t care about food at all. They pick up dinner from fast food restaurants every night. If they do try to cook, they believe that everything can be cooked just as well in a microwave as on a stove or oven.
Because of this Gladys as been cooking in secret for years. She gets caught the day that her parents come home early just as she sets the kitchen curtains on fire while trying to crisp the top of a creme brulee.
Now she’s in trouble. Cooking is forbidden for six months and/or until she makes some friends and gets involved with what her parents consider normal kids’ activities.
She’s trying to comply but when her entry into a newspaper essay contest in confused for a job application for a freelance food writer, she gets an assignment to review a dessert restaurant. Now she has to find a way to get to New York City from Long Island for her chance to make it big.
This book was really cute. It would appeal to anyone who is more into food than the people around them. If your family doesn’t understand why full fat is better to cook with than nonfat or why you can’t use coffee shop sweetener packets instead of sugar when baking, then you understand Gladys’ troubles.
My only complaint is that I wish there were recipes for the desserts she made.
What thirteen-year-old Abby wants most is to meet her father. She just never imagined he would be a huge film star--in Bollywood! Now she's traveling to Mumbai to get to know her famous father. Abby is overwhelmed by the culture clash, the pressures of being the daughter of India's most famous celebrity, and the burden of keeping her identity a secret. But as she learns to navigate her new surroundings, she just might discover where she really belongs.
This book was so cute! I don’t read a lot of middle grade but I loved the sound of this one.
Abby’s mother found out she was pregnant after her college boyfriend moved back to India. She was able to contact his family but he never returned her calls. Now thirteen, Abby develops an allergy that starts her asking more questions than ever before about her father’s side of the family.
Her father changed his name and became a famous actor after he returned to India. Attempts to contact him for his medical history are finally successful. Now he wants to get to know her but it all needs to be carefully controlled because he is a huge star and he needs to control his image.
Abby’s a biracial child who has never had any contact with the Indian part of identity. There is tension between her parents because of her father being absent for all of her life. Her father is used to calling the shots in his life and her mother is not about to just go along with his ideas now that he’s back in the picture. Abby’s also finding out that her wealthy father’s life in India is not typical for the country.
The book does a good job of making each of the characters multidimensional. All of them have well developed concerns and personalities. I really hoped that there was a sequel to see what came next in their lives because there is so much to explore but there isn’t a second book. That made me sad. I didn’t want to leave these characters behind.