Review: Love à la Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm

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35065036Rosie wanted more. And something about the way Henry looked at her made Rosie feel like she was already more, more than she’d let herself believe. 

Published: Expected November 27 2018

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Pages: 304 (Hardcover)

Series: N/A – Standalone

 

3 Stars

 

Rosie had always considered herself to be profoundly ordinary. But she was starting to think that in order to do extraordinary things, you had to believe that you were extraordinary, too.

 

Take two American teen chefs, add one heaping cup of Paris, toss in a pinch of romance, and stir. . . .

Rosie Radeke firmly believes that happiness can be found at the bottom of a mixing bowl. But she never expected that she, a random nobody from East Liberty, Ohio, would be accepted to celebrity chef Denis Laurent’s school in Paris, the most prestigious cooking program for teens in the entire world. Life in Paris, however, isn’t all cream puffs and crepes. Faced with a challenging curriculum and a nightmare professor, Rosie begins to doubt her dishes.

Henry Yi grew up in his dad’s restaurant in Chicago, and his lifelong love affair with food landed him a coveted spot in Chef Laurent’s school. He quickly connects with Rosie, but academic pressure from home and his jealousy over Rosie’s growing friendship with gorgeous bad-boy baker Bodie Tal makes Henry lash out and push his dream girl away.

Desperate to prove themselves, Rosie and Henry cook like never before while sparks fly between them. But as they reach their breaking points, they wonder whether they have what it takes to become real chefs.

Perfect for lovers of Chopped Teen Tournament and Kids Baking Championship, as well as anyone who dreams of a romantic trip to France, Love la Mode follows Rosie and Henry as they fall in love with food, with Paris, and ultimately, with each other.

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First and foremost, thanks to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for providing me an advanced copy of this book!

This book was fun to read and was the perfect light pairing with some of my more intense reads of the last month (lookin’ at you, Reaper at the Gates). My main problem with this was that it didn’t really make me feel anything, at least not the way that her last book, Prince in Disguise, made me feel. (Review for which can be found here). Basically, this was a lot of fluff and not a lot of heart.

The concept here is great, I love the fact that two people are eating and falling in love in Paris, what’s more romantic than that? One of the bigger problems I have with the book is the fact that the plot itself is pretty stagnant; there’s no shocking revelations, no giant, dramatic fights between the main protagonists. Sure, there are a few smaller issues that pop up between Henry and Rosie, but they don’t stay mad at each other for more than five minutes. See, we spend a lot of time in the kitchen and classroom, and not a lot of time focusing on other things. It’s really kind of blah.

I have a sort of love-hate relationship with the characters in this, as well. First, I loved all the side characters. Yumi, Priya, and especially Hampus, were all so funny and dynamic and the banter between the group was enough to push this story along. Heck, I was even super into Bodie Tal, because a hot guy covered in tattoos who can bake a phenomenal cookie? Sign me up. Also, there was a lot of diversity within the entire cast of characters. One of the best parts of this book is the fact that the students come from all over the world.

Second, and here’s the kicker, I didn’t really like Rosie or Henry. They’re literally the main protagonists in the story and yet they’re like most boring and mundane characters in this book. They both seemed childish, Rosie especially, and parts of it read more like Middle Grade than YA. I related to both characters on certain levels; Henry’s desire and need to succeed while trying to balance having fun, and Rosie’s unyielding love of her family and role as sister in that unit. The whole group worked really well together, but the fact that I only liked Henry and Rosie in those group interactions was kind of a low point for me.

The writing in this is spot on, however. One of my favorite things about Stephanie Kate Strohm’s work is that her writing is always so light and airy and makes reading her books a complete joy. She’s mastered the art of ‘playful banter’ and wields it well in this romantic comedy. In fact, this banter is the main reason I enjoyed reading this. I definitely didn’t hate this book, it was a fun read, it just wasn’t more than that. I went into this expecting to be blown away the way I was with Prince in Disguise, but ended up being let down by the lack luster plot line and equally stagnant characters.

Happy reading

 

Book Links  GoodreadsAmazonB&N       BAM

 

Other books by Stephanie Kate Strohm

 

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