Friday, September 4, 2015

Review: The Baking Life of Amelie Day by Vanessa Curtis


SUMMARY FROM NETGALLEY.COM:
Thirteen-year-old Amelie Day loves to bake so she's thrilled when she's invited to compete in the Best Teen Baker of the Year contest. But Amelie has Cystic Fibrosis, and some days she can barely breathe. Determined not to let her condition or her mom stop her from taking part, Amelie musters all her Flour Power. But will it be enough to get her to the top?
For ages 10-13.
*Children and parents who love baking will appreciate Amelie’s devotion to the hobby*Fans of Food Network reality shows will love the aspect of competition*The protagonist is a feisty, independent thirteen-year-old, who many young girls will look up to *The text features several recipes and tips for aspiring bakers

MY TAKE:
I am a fan of the reality television cooking shows so this sounded like something I'd love.

In The Baking Life of Amelie Day, Amelie is a young girl who loves to bake. She was able to make it to the next stage of a baking competition that will be filmed in New York. However, her mother refuses to let her go because of her illness. Is there a way for Amelie to still make her dreams come true?

I've read a few books like this one before, but I've never read one wherein the central conflict is a main character's medical condition. I thought it was a fresh twist and thankfully it was done in a way that actually helped you understand the character and her disease. The story was around 40-50% about the baking and 50-60% about Amelie's life with cystic fibrosis.

I don't know anyone with CF so it was interesting to see what life is like for CF sufferers. Of course, it doesn't manifest exactly like this for everyone, but at least you get an idea of exactly how difficult it can be when medical conditions hamper your ability to do certain activities.

I thought Amelie did a fair job of coping with her disease. She's not always able to do her exercises, but she tries, much like what you would expect from a girl her age. Her desire to follow her dreams and make them come true despite the cost also rang true, especially as it's something you would expect from someone with a chronic, life-threatening disease.

As for the food part of the story, I thought the dishes Amelie thought up were delicious. I liked the pigs-in-a-blanket recipe and the chocolate cupcake recipe the most. I noticed that the recipes tended to have longer explanations than what you would typically find in recipe books, which makes sense since the audience for this book is younger and these recipes would be perfect for beginner bakers.

Also, it was a good thing I read this book on a full stomach. There were plenty of mouthwatering food descriptions here that had me dreaming of cooking some delicious scrambled eggs. Had I been hungry when I read this, I'd probably have to stop midway to cook something.

Thanks to NetGalley and Capstone Young Readers for the e-ARC.

THE GOOD:

  1. You get a better understanding of what life is like for people with cystic fibrosis.
  2. The recipes are perfect for beginner and novice bakers.
  3. The food descriptions are mouthwatering.

THE BAD:

  1. It can be a little cringe-inducing reading Amelie's experience in New York. 

READ IT IF:

  1. You want to learn more about cystic fibrosis.
  2. You have a child with cystic fibrosis.
  3. You have a child who likes baking. 

RATING:
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