Author: Tara Dairman
Rating: ★★★★ 1/2
Synopsis: Gladys Gatsby has dreamed of becoming a restaurant critic for New York’s biggest newspaper–she just didn’t expect to be assigned her first review at age 11. Now, if she wants to meet her deadline and hang on to her dream job, she’ll have to defy her fast-food-loving parents, cook her way into the heart of her sixth-grade archenemy, and battle Manhattan’s meanest maitre d’.
Huge thank you to Razorbill CA/Putnam for this ARC!
Sometimes you read a book and it just makes you so darn happy. All Four Stars is that book — the one you read that is cute, funny, and with just the right level of spunk. Gladys is adorkable and not your average eleven year old. Let’s face it, not every eleven year out is watching the Food Network and trying to make their own unique creations… unless you’re those kids from MasterChef Junior, than you are just amazing.
But reading this book makes you hungry. This book is also a foodie’s dream because it makes reference to all kinds of high profile ingredients, cooking techniques, recipe substitutions, and I found that completely fascinating as someone who is a nervous cook. G;adys is cheeky and so invested in her hobby and I appreciate her portrayal because she isn’t a child who behaves like an adult, she is very much a kid. I also loved her friendship with Sandy, and who am I kidding/ I just loved Sandy. He’s such a cutie and I loved that he thought Gladdy wanted to cookie his pet bunnies. They have a very sweet friendship, which made me SO HAPPY. There was also so much humour with some of the other characters, and just, this book is FUN.
There was one element in this book I disliked, and that was the portrayal of Gladys’ parents. I found it really odd that they didn’t want to nurture her cooking gifts and feed into her creativity. I disliked that they treated her as though she was abnormal. They just felt unrealistic in sections of the book. Don’t get me wrong, burning curtains, I’d be upset too, but how they handled it? I’m not so sure. Some of how they reacted was justified, other times her parents just felt silly in ways they shouldn’t have. Meanwhile the other adults worked well in the story, I quite loved Mrs. Anderson and Ms. Quincy and loved their positive energy and encouragement.
Other than that one bit, this book is enjoyable and sosososo much fun. It’ll make you hungry, but if you love food and words, you’ll devour this book without much trouble. Check this one out!