I used to be the blogger called YAL Book Briefs, but I grew bored of the handle and changed my name to Howdy YAL. I also respond to MJ. I like to read, write, eat truffles, and watch bad Lifetime movies.
A lot of people only watch cooking shows to salivate over the chef or in my case to watch the chefs yell at morons who can’t cook.
This book should have satisfied that bad reality TV craving on mine, but instead what I got was a sort of lackluster story with characters who were just too perfect and obnoxious for their own good.
The gist of the book is pretty simple. Nora, our heroine, is accepted onto a cooking reality show and the bulk of the book deals with being on reality TV.
That in itself sounds pretty neat, huh? Well, if you spend your time on Television Without Pity, you’ll find that Fiore forgot to do her homework on a lot of aspects of how it is on reality TV.
At this point, there are some of you preaching the gospel of Stephenie Meyer, “It’s Fiction, MJ.”
Needless to say, I don’t buy that bull shit. I feel like if your going to write a show about reality TV you need to stick to how reality TV actually works. Rather, than making your own rules. And grant it, I get that not every reality TV show is ran the same way. But there is something called child labor laws, and in this book they weren’t followed.
Not only that, but I highly doubt that the production crew would allow the dorms to be camera free. Even those Food Network Reality TV shows have cameras in the dorm.
Even without going into particulars there was a falseness about the entire book that sours it. The competition, for instance. I had a really difficult time buying that Nora and Christian were always in the top. People occasionally suck, but it seemed like those too never did. And then there are the interactions between the two of them. There’s a small part of me that wants to swoon, but overall the romance was so cheesy I puked.
There’s something called actual chemistry and then there’s something called forced chemistry. Forced chemistry is what these two have. We are told incessantly that there’s something going on between them besides all that fighting.
First of all, I hate that philosophy. Some people fight because they can’t stand each other, not because there’s hidden passion. Trust me, I lived it. And Christian deserves to be hated, he’s an asshole with a capital A. And I don’t care if he has daddy issues. Seriously, why is it that all these YA bad boys have daddy or mommy issues. You know, everyone hates their parents at one point or another in their lives, it doesn’t give one an excuse to act like a supreme shithead.
And Nora isn’t that much better. Sure, she’s nice but we’re talking about Sue nice. Everything just seems to work for her. I don’t know about you, but I like a character that struggles. This girl never struggles. Except to say how she’s poor and how the competition is full of rich snots.
I actually would’ve had more sympathy for her if this was shown more than told.
That seems to be a big problem with this book: there’s more telling than showing.
Take the whole big mystery plot line where someone is going around sabotaging kitchen equipment causing contestants to drop out. It’s really just told to the audience in a rush. There’s no suspense added to the book with this particular plot point, and the biggest thing we get out of it is a reason for the bitch archetype to leave the show. And figuring out the culprit….not that difficult.
And I always play Junior Level Detective when I play Nancy Drew, that should tell you something about my deductive skills. But I was able to figure out this one pretty fast. Much like every other plot point in the book.
Occasionally, being predictable is okay. But in this case, it doesn’t work. And that’s because the execution was sort of a flop. Don’t get me wrong, I read this one in a couple of hour, but it failed on so many levels which is sort of sad because this book should’ve excelled.
I really think cooking contest or really anything to deal with cooking is easily translated into other forms of media. Case in point, there’s a whole industry creating cook books and cooking shows. However, this book seemed to fail at taking what was an awesome subject and that makes me sad.
To be honest, I don’t know if I would exactly recommend this book. While it was entertaining enough, it’s one book that I’m quickly going to forget. If your traveling though and need something to read and this is one of your only options, you might want to pick it up. Overall Rating C