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Gr 8 Up
Seventeen-year-old Lainey has an uncommon dream: to be the first African-American celebrity vegetarian chef. She shows promise, helping out in the kitchen at her mother's Bay Area restaurant and concocting mouthwatering dishes in her spare time. (Hand-written recipes are included.) Cooking is her salvation; she turns to the kitchen when things aren't going well, particularly in her precarious relationship with Simeon Keller. While she cares for him as a friend, she overlooks the way he uses her. When he runs away from a bad situation at home, she offers him brief sanctuary in her home, giving him $500 and food before he jets out of town. Lainey's mom hounds her for details about his disappearance, details that she withholds for weeks. When Sim returns, months later, she's more self-assured and certain of her own plans for success. While Davis's first novel at times suffers from awkward wording and slow moments, it's still a book with a lot of heart. Readers will relate to Lainey, who doesn't always say the right thing, who has a love-hate relationship with her mother, and who finds her dreams realized at the novel's end. Secondary characters, like Lainey's formerly dorky family friend, ring true and add depth to the novel.-Jennifer Barnes, Homewood Library, IL
"A book with a lot of heart. Readers will relate to Lainey, who doesn't always say the right thing, who has a love-hate relationship with her mother, and who finds her dreams realized at the novel's end." —School Library Journal
"Davis's first novel shows much promise for good things to come. Too few novels feature well-drawn, well-educated, middle-class African American characters like Lainey and her family." —Booklist
Copyright © 2008 Tanita S. Davis
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Excerpted from A la Carte by Tanita S. Davis Copyright © 2008 by Tanita S. Davis. Excerpted by permission.
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Posted January 11, 2011
Seventeen year old Elaine (Lainey) Seifert lost her dad when she was three. She lives with her mother,Vivianne. LaSalle Rouge is a French-Asian-Californian restaurant that receives rave reviews from critics and Vivianne owns it. Lainey dreams of becoming a celebrity chef. There's no place she'd rather be than in the kitchen of her Mom's popular establishment and there's nothing she'd rather be doing than cooking. Food seems to be this young lady's life. Yes, it is definitely her passion. She loves to shop for it, loves to cook it and loves to share her edible creations with her peers; particularly her friends in the jazz choir at school. When Lainey's friend, Simeon, leaves town her passion fades. She's still cooking but now it hides her hurt, helps her to cope in a difficult situation and comforts her when she's stressed. But when she realizes Simeon isn't the guy she imagined him to be she regains her focus and is able to make choices to better herself and her life. There are many teen novels these days focusing on such serious topics that they could also be considered adult reads. A La Carte does not fit into that category. I see this as a book very suitable for a middle school reader. I'm thinking high school girls want to read something a little more deep and dramatic, but it would be a cozy read for the ones who can do without alot of drama; especially if they love to cook. I liked reading this book. I learned about foods I never heard of before and what I really liked was seeing a recipe in handwriting at the end of each chapter; some of them even have food stains - unique!Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted March 18, 2010
Do you like cooking? Are you familiar with Julia Child? Then A LA CARTE by Tanita S. Davis is the book for you! A La Carte is about an inspired chef named Lainey, who dreams of following the footsteps of her idol Julia Child and becoming the first African American female who has her own cooking show. Lainey is blessed to have the opportunity of experiencing a "Chef's life" in the kitchen thanks to her mom Vivianne, who is also a Chef and who is always happy to try one of her daughter's new recipes. Like an average teenager Lainey goes to high school and deals with homework tests, friends, and boys. Unfortunately, Lainey also deals with teenage problems. Like trying to figure out who her real friends are. "My mom wishes I had friends; can you tell? Anytime I have a project with someone, Mom wants to make sure to send them home with cookies." I would recommend this book not only to inspiring Chef's but to everyone. The book is quite interesting you never want to put it down. You are tempted to read and read in order to find out what happens next. I also must warn you, do not read the book on an empty stomach because the book will also make you hungry and crave all of Lainey's recipes she describes in the book . The book also gives you an idea on how it's like being a Chef and what they have to go through at their jobs, like cutting an onion in two seconds. Like a great meal, you have to enjoy the story bite by bite and then reflect on the interesting taste. If you liked "A La Carte "then you will also love Tanita S. Davis' other interesting book called "Mare's War".Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.