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A Taste for Love by Jennifer Yen combines two of my favourite things in YA–baking and competition. This is such an entertaining story about a baking competition that turns out to be a matchmaking scheme, and there are some fantastic descriptions of food inside. I enjoyed the main character’s passion for baking, but I would have liked to see more about the competition itself. Despite this, this is still an engaging read and a quirky take on Pride and Prejudice.Title: A Taste for Love
Author: Jennifer Yen
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult Fiction
Publication Date: February 2 ,2021
For fans of Jenny Han, Jane Austen, and The Great British Baking Show, A Taste for Love, is a delicious rom com about first love, familial expectations, and making the perfect bao.
To her friends, high school senior Liza Yang is nearly perfect. Smart, kind, and pretty, she dreams big and never shies away from a challenge. But to her mom, Liza is anything but. Compared to her older sister Jeannie, Liza is stubborn, rebellious, and worst of all, determined to push back against all of Mrs. Yang's traditional values, especially when it comes to dating.
The one thing mother and daughter do agree on is their love of baking. Mrs. Yang is the owner of Houston's popular Yin & Yang Bakery. With college just around the corner, Liza agrees to help out at the bakery's annual junior competition to prove to her mom that she's more than her rebellious tendencies once and for all. But when Liza arrives on the first day of the bake-off, she realizes there's a catch: all of the contestants are young Asian American men her mother has handpicked for Liza to date.
The bachelorette situation Liza has found herself in is made even worse when she happens to be grudgingly attracted to one of the contestants; the stoic, impenetrable, annoyingly hot James Wong. As she battles against her feelings for James, and for her mother's approval, Liza begins to realize there's no tried and true recipe for love.
❃ I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. ❃
A Taste for Love by Jennifer Yen
This book tells the story of a girl who helps out with her family’s annual baking competition, only to realize that the competition is actually a matchmaking scheme orchestrated by her mother, and the boys are competing for a date with her. This premise is so original, and the way it loosely incorporates elements from Pride and Prejudice adds even more dimension. I am a big fan of both books about baking and books about competition, and this one really brings out the best in both with its mouthwatering descriptions of food and its quirky side characters.
❀ Headstrong Main Character
Liza is an easy character to root for, and she is very headstrong. She loves to bake and dreams of going to culinary school, but her parents don’t approve of this pathway. I admired Liza’s passion and her willingness to fight for what she wants despite what her parents want for her, and the fact that she is a judge in the competition was also interesting to me, as this is something I’ve never seen before in YA.
❀ Heavy on Drama
I think my main issue with this book is that it needed more about the actual competition. This is the strongest aspect of the book, and the competition itself doesn’t begin until about halfway through. Once it does begin, though, everything is resolved a little too quickly. I also found this book to be a little heavier on drama than I was expecting, but I wasn’t sold on the romance. I understand that James is supposed to be the Mr. Darcy character, but he has no chemistry with Liza, and I didn’t warm up to him by the end.
❀ An Inventive Story
A Taste for Love by Jennifer Yen is an inventive story about a baking competition that is not what it seems. I loved the descriptions of food sprinkled throughout the book, and the main character is passionate about what she does. Where the book falls flat, however, is with its pacing and its lacklustre romance. However, this is still a fun read, and fans of The Great British Bake-Off will definitely find it appealing.