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241 pages, Hardcover
First published June 11, 2013
the truth about this book is that it disappointed me. there's not much more to it than that. when i saw the cover and read the synopsis, i was absolutely sure that i needed this book. i'm adopted, for all intents and purposes, and i've recently developed an affinity for cooking, so everything about this book's set up screamed for me to read it. for the first 20%, i was thinking about how happy i was that this book was turning out pretty decent after all of my anticipation, but after that, it just got progressively worse and worse and worse.
even in the beginning, i thought that olivia (or one of her thousand nicknames) was a little bit of a selfish twit, and that she was incredibly judgmental of her family, and i even got the vibe that she thought of herself as above them somehow, and that theme stayed prevalent throughout this novel in its entirety. she was cold and entirely unforgiving of her brother -- admittedly, he was kind of a screw up, but she was such a holier than thou bitch about it that i just wanted to shake her and tell her not to make her brother cry anymore.
beyond all of that, this girl had an annoying habit of making everything about herself. her boyfriend was incredibly boring and for some reason, i just thought that he was kind of creepy, plus the whole pre-existing romance (to get out of having to write one that took actual effort) trope is really off-putting for me personally.
overall, this was a decent read, though it had little to nothing to do with the main character. i appreciated that her mother wasn't some apologetic bleeding heart - that she stood by her decision, was honest about it, and even proud of it; giving up your child because you would be an unfit parent is not something to be ashamed of. many children would prefer a loving home to a blood-related one, if the two were mutually exclusive.
the best part was this, though: the story she finds in her cookbook is beautiful - it's well-written, well played out, and i loved how i got a sense of completion from it, even though it made my heart ache. i wish this story had been about rose, kurt, and eloise instead of olivia the selfish drama queen.
I look down at the photo he handed me. It looks a little retouched, but his gaze covers me slowly, like sheets falling from a clothesline.
The road stretches out before us like a chance.
Everyone is so attached to their phones, I find it liberating to not have one. I also kind of enjoy how people react when they find out, like I’m some kind of alien. I find it oddly reassuring that I’m a bit different. But mainly, I’m just not a phone person. I prefer to look up at the trees when I walk home, or stop by people’s houses to actually talk to them face to face.
I’m probably the only teenager in L.A. who doesn’t have a Facebook page. I have a love-hate relationship with technology. Love blogs, hate social networking. I like that I can email Soupdork for recipes, but I don’t like to stare at pictures of my “friends” or read about boring movies or celebrity sightings.
When she transferred to my school two years ago, all the popular girls wanted to become her friend because she’s British. But she didn’t really care for them. It’s almost like she has this X-ray vision that can see through fakeness.
I can’t imagine my life without Lola in it. It’s like I used to live in black and white, and when Lola came along, everything was suddenly in color.
The cook was a guy named Eli, who would always squeeze my cheeks. I would stand there, mesmerized by how he cut his onions, waiting for him to slice off a finger. He told me that with every dish I make, there should be a secret ingredient, something that comes from the chef alone, like a handprint. Something that completes the dish and makes it unique.
I tell her about Jeremy putting an old scarecrow in the passenger seat of Bell’s car just so he could ride the HOV lane to his friend’s concert in Long Beach.
The line of the fading sun makes a million sparks on the top of the water, and they’re all pointing directly at me.
You will notice, if you haven’t already, that the good fortune that comes your way life is always related to who you know. It’s important to operate in an open way, and never close yourself off to possible connections. Light shines from unexpected places.
I feel that families are like braids. You drift apart but always come back together.