Nora Henderson's a small-town girl from North Carolina, who's grown up in her Dad's barbecue restaurant. When the opportunity to compete for $50,000 and a culinary trip to Paris arises, she has to take it! She leaves her Dad and best friend Billy, hops a plane to Connecticut, and is thrust into the world of Reality TV cooking shows. Personalities clash, judges are acting shady, and there are many too random accidents on the set. Will Nora figure out what's going on, while still putting forth her best dishes?
I enjoyed Taste Test! As I said in one of my earlier posts, I'm kind of addicted to cooking competition shows (tonight, even, I caught up on all my Master Chef and Hell's Kitchen episode backlog). -And I just love experimenting in the kitchen.
The book starts with an explanation on regional dialects, and how barbecue has its own regional dialects (St. Louis, Kansas City, Texas, etc). My sister, like Nora, lives in North Carolina- and that barbecue is hands down the best I've ever had. There's a lot of food explanations included in the novel, so you're learning a lot while reading it, too.
To me, it kind of read like a manga (without, you know, the pictures). You have the jerky boy wonder, the feisty girl, the snotty princess, almost an entire book's worth of chemistry build up (like "Oh! OH! Here it comes! HERE IT-! Oh....crapdammit, c'mon!") There's a love triangle thrown in, too. With the love, drama and food aspects, it reminded me a lot of Kitchen Princess. Which made me like it even more.
Then! To add to its awesomeness- RECIPES AT THE END!!! So, there's that. All in all, it's a really fun, entertaining read.
I would recommend Taste Test to anyone who likes teen dramas, reality TV, cooking shows and mysteries.
Taste Test is published by Bloomsbury USA Children's Books. Digital ARC provided by NetGalley.
Release Date: 08.09.13