A slow-burn romance in a cutthroat kitchen! There’s more to becoming a top chef for 17-year-old Isabella Fields than just not getting chopped … especially when the chances of things heating up with an intriguing boy and becoming a food star in the kitchen are both on the chopping block.
Salty, Bitter, Sweet:
Is a YA contemporary #Own Voices novel written by CNN producer Mayra Cuevas
Is a perfect book for foodies ages 13 and up, and features a Latina main character who is trilingual
Explores complicated family dynamics and relatable themes of friendship, acceptance, and learning to care for yourself
Aspiring chef Isa’s family life has fallen apart after the death of her Cuban abuela and the divorce of her parents. And after moving in with her dad and her new stepmom, Margo, in Lyon, France, Isa feels like an outsider in her father’s new life. She balances her time between avoiding the awkward “why-did-you-cheat-on-Mom” conversation with figuring out how a perpetually single woman can at least be a perpetually single chef.
The upside of Isa’s world being turned upside down?
Her father’s house is located only 30 minutes away from the restaurant of world-famous Chef Pascal Grattard, who runs a prestigiously competitive international kitchen apprenticeship. The prize job at Chef Grattard’s renowned restaurant also represents a transformative opportunity for Isa who is desperate to get her life back in order—and desperate to prove she has what it takes to work in an haute kitchen. But Isa’s stress and repressed grief begin to unravel when the attractive, enigmatic Diego shows up unannounced with his albino dog.
How can Isa expect to hold it together when she’s at the bottom of her class at the apprenticeship, her new stepmom is pregnant, she misses her abuela dearly, and things with the mysterious Diego reach a boiling point?
Critics love Salty, Bitter, Sweet! School Library Journal says, “A heartwarming testament to the power of female friendships, the drive for success on one's own terms, and accepting one's family, even if they turn out differently than originally thought.” Midwest Book Review calls it “an impressively and deftly crafted novel.”
Born and raised in Puerto Rico, Mayra Cuevas is a professional journalist and fiction writer who adores love stories with happy endings. Her debut fiction short story was selected by Becky Albertalli as a New Voice in the Foreshadow YA serial anthology in 2019. She is a TV and digital producer for CNN, where she has worked since 2003. She keeps her sanity by practicing Buddhist meditation and serves on the Board of Directors of Kadampa Meditation Center Georgia. She lives in the colorful town of Norcross, Georgia with her husband, also a CNN journalist, and their cat, Felicia. She is the wicked step-mom to two amazing young men who provide plenty of inspiration for her stories. Follow her on Twitter @Mayra ECuevas and Instagram @Mayra Cuevas
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