Taste Test by Kelly Fiore
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Keywords: competition, cooking, boarding school
Format Read: eARC via NetGalley provided for blog tour (thank you!)
Get It: Book Depository
So I actually read this during my summer biology class (which I promptly dropped after one week of torture and verbal meanness from the professor) because I sat in the back of class, and instead of listening to the professor get off track and talk about sports, I read. And guys, I started this one night during class, after the 4 hour lab I was at 80% on my Kindle. So I promptly drove home and finished it. It was that addicting.
I loved all the characters, stereotypical as they may be. There's Nora, the hometown underdog on the show; Christian, the asshole rich kid with a mysteriously soft side; Joy, the preppy elitist who has to have everything her way; Gigi, Nora's friend who sticks by her side; Billy, the hometown hero who's super cute and best friend-y. And after reading some (mean, in my opinion) reviews on Goodreads, I see that many people did not approve of Christian as a legitimate male protagonist for Nora to be halfway interested in being friends with. He is described as arrogant and almost sexually abusing Nora. I very much disagree. Christian is a playful character who responds to Nora's insisting, and she doesn't back down when he suggests something more than friendship. Their banter is highly entertaining, and I thoroughly enjoyed the competitiveness between them.
I also was a huge fan of the combined reality show with the mystery of someone sabotaging it. This easily could have been a simpler story with just the competition. But Fiore spiced things up (see what I did there? :) with the added question of what was going on in the kitchens and why people were getting hurt. It took the book to a whole new level suspense-wise.
Minus a little bit of predictability for the ending (without the sabotage, though. I was pleasantly surprised), this was a fast-paced book that had me turning pages so fast to find out what was going to happen that I loved. And who doesn't love a good book about cooking?
Read When: You have several hours blocked off to get through this in one sitting, and for your heavy dose of competition and edge.