The Sweet Life of Stella Madison by Lara M. Zeises (July 14th 2009—Delacorte)
Grade: 4 stars out of 5
Summary: “It’s not easy being the daughter of a famous chef and a restaurant owner when your idea of a great meal is the kind that’s served via a drive-through window.
Seventeen-year-old Stella Madison’s food-loving parents have been separated for years, but they’re still as sweet to each other as can be, which is just the way Stella likes it. When their connections help her land a summer job at the local newspaper, the salary is hard to resist. There’s only one catch: she’s expected to write about food.
Now Stella will need all the advice she can get to complete her assignments. Luckily, she has Jeremy, the hot new intern at her mom’s restaurant, who’s more than happy to help. Soon, Stella can’t stop thinking about Jeremy—but where does that leave Stella’s boyfriend, Max, who recently dropped the L-word? If that’s not confusing enough, her dad’s interest in the pretentious programming director of the Food Network seems to go beyond the culinary, and it looks like her mother might be cooking up a romance of her own….”
Review: This book is as sweet as the title plays off. I’m a food junkie who thinks that a marathon of Food Network Challenges is heaven. So of course when you give me a book about food it’s a perfect match!
This food for thought can be a double-edged sword. Readers who are not familiar with certain foods and food terms will most likely be lost in the little details. Although Stella’s palette are more of fast food and street food, the heavy menus from restaurants will be mind-boggling. Viewers of Bravo’s Top Chef, however, will feel right at home. The author does aid the readers with a small scene on how to properly consume (excuse me, I mean taste) food and the preparations of the perfect gnocchi.
Stella Madison is a teen that describes herself as a rubber ball bouncing in any direction; she has no sense of what she wants, she rolls with what’s given to her. So when she meets Jeremy, Max is suddenly out of her mind only to reappear when the guilt comes crawling back. Some might find Stella fickle with her whine, whine, whine about what she got herself into—Jeremy or Max? For some odd reason I did not find this true at all. I’m blaming on the writing. There’s a fine line where I felt that the author stayed within the realistic and coming-of-age story. This is Stella growing up and trying to tackle that rubber ball effect.
The whole book had a sense of cuteness, humor, and compassion. It deals with heartbreak, divorce, and a sexy European intern.
Overall: Food lovers and book lovers, pick up a copy of this book!
Slightly bland but fine.