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Sweet Pizza

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  192 ratings  ·  43 reviews
When Joe tasted a mouthful he was amazed how delicious it was – a dense taste, better than any pasta he’d eaten before. Food was suddenly different – he felt as if his taste buds were doing the cha-cha-cha on Strictly.

Joe loves his Italian heritage: the language, the opera, the lasagne! But it’s hard to celebrate his Italian roots in Bryn Mawr, South Wales, where his mam i
Paperback, 288 pages
Published June 2nd 2016 by Nosy Crow
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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  192 ratings  ·  43 reviews

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Jun 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Joe loved fried chicken and chips smothered in tomato sauce and mayonnaise, especially after a day at school – nothing else hit the mark as far as he was concerned. – Sweet Pizza by G.R. Gemin

When a novel starts off with food-feelings, I'm already happy, okay? If they don't stop throughout the whole thing? Seriously? That's amazing. But then there's a couple of other things, which I also happen to love: namely, family history & cultural history. So yes, it's probably safe to say Sweet Pizza by G
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: youth-literature
Well written, unique story set in Wales about intergenerational family relationships, friendship, Italian heritage, and cooking. The main character is 14, but it definitely skews a bit younger. I would recommend for 10+.
Steven Bevan
Jan 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 52-books-2017
Absolutely adored reading this. So rare to find a story set in the Valleys, and Gemin does a great job of capturing the warmth and humour of the people. Found myself laughing aloud so many times and the ending was wonderfully emotional. Cannot wait to read Cow Girl now.
Melanie Worth
Nov 01, 2018 rated it liked it
This is a lovely book! I loved reading about Italian culture (which I'm familiar with) with the Welsh twist and the history of Italians in Wales (which I'm not!). Kids are often too easily written off as incapable, so I really enjoyed the interesting, capable, imaginative Joe. ...more
University of Chester teacher readers
This is his second Tir Na nOg award winning book.
Joe's family own a run down cafe in the valleys, his mum wants to sell because it is all too much and she feels that she has never had a life because of the cafe. By creating a family heritage, the story cleverly links the past history of the cafe with the story of the Italian immigrants to Wales - Joe's great grandparents ... and positively shows cultural integration.
It could work well as a class reader.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: year-5
I was unsure if I would enjoy this story at the start as the story seemed to progress slowly, however, the more I read; the more I became engaged in the character's family and their past, present and future. A range of interesting characters, with a pepper of humour throughout, make this an enjoyable read with plenty to keep children engaged. I enjoyed this book and would, therefore, recommend this to children. ...more
Daisy May Johnson
May 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
I have a lot of time for what GR Gemin does. His first novel, Cowgirl, was one of those great serendipitous delights; a book which sang of the unexpected and was so resolutely lovely in that singing, that I was in raptures over it. Still am, really. Good books do that. Even after the knife-sharp detail of that first read fades, they leave echoes. Beats inside you that thrum, thrum, thrum with memory. Of story. Of good story.

I was incredibly honoured to received a proof copy of Gemin's second no
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
We were given 'Cowgirl' to read as part of Children's book day a year or two back. I loved it, and was thrilled to meet the author at the book day event. I enjoyed 'Cowgirl' so much, I used it with my Chatterbooks group. So I was excited to see a second book by G R Gemin come in to the library where I work. It took me a while to get my reading pile low enough to add this to the top, but the Christmas holidays gave me the perfect chance. I devoured it, partly because it became the final title in ...more
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book! It's about a Welsh family with Italian roots who own a cafe, but think about selling it. Joe -the main character- and his granddad want to keep the cafe, but Joe's mother wants to sell it. The characters are very true to life, I feel like their story could be happening somewhere reallife. The backstory of the cafe is told bit by bit by Joe's granddad on a tape recorder, which shows the cafe in a different perspective.
I can recommend this book to kids and teens, because
Dec 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Such a sweet, and mostly feel-good story. I loved the intergenerational relationships and appreciated hearing about the history of Italian immigrants in Wales; but I was shocked to discover that the British, just like the Americans, had interned as POW all Italian and German nationals during WWII, no matter how long they had already lived in the UK.
Victoria Davies
Jul 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I was not able to put this book down. It has been on my shelf for over a year and I have put of reading it because I wasn’t sure it would be my kind of book. (I’m not sure what I was actually expecting- But this was not it)
This book is outstanding. It cuts so true to life as I see it now in South Wales (the view of other cultures, the declining high streets, the use of language a slang)
But more than that it is a dual narrative that tells the history of Welsh Italians and how they were treated d
Denise Forrest
Aug 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Joe is half Welsh, half Italian. Their family business, a cafe, has been in the family for four generations but business is not what it used to be and it’s seen better days. In fact, things are so bad, Joe’s mum is thinking of selling.

In a last ditch attempt to save the cafe, after his grandfather has a stroke, his cousin Mimi arrives from Italy to lend a hand. Her passion for cooking and Joe’s ideas to drum up business might be just what’s needed to turn the cafe’s fortunes around. But will it
Lin Harink
Dec 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I read this with my 9 yr old son, we both thoroughly enjoyed it, especially doing the accents of all of the Welsh and Italian characters.
It's a lovely story about a young boy, passionate about his family history which he learns from his Nonno (grandfather).
He develops a passion for cooking and has an idea to try to save his family's struggling cafe.
There are some great life lessons in this story and some parts, especially Nonno's war stories were fascinating, but also terribly sad.
We both enjoye
May 05, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019
I read this book because I met the author.
Although I rated it 3 stars (because its not really my type of book) I actually really enjoyed it. It was an easy, positive read. I did find Joe's crush on Mimi a bit weird and I was surprised that Joe was 14 (he didn't act that old, a bit naive).
But, like I said, I did enjoy this book.
Stephen Connor
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah Joannides
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A really gentle book dealing with real life issues of friendship, family, relationships and growing up. Loved the historical details and the beauty of multiculturalism ,an important reminder in today’s society.
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. I found it stirred up a lo of memories about my childhood growing up in a similar village to Joe. It's a warm, re-affirming read which leaves you smiling. Reading Cowgirl next. ...more
Sofie Trebbien
May 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This made me laugh and cry, can't get over how good it was! ...more
May 31, 2017 rated it liked it
It is 3.5/5
It was fine
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing If you love Italian food or just food in general you’ll love it. It’s great for boys & girls. Has flashbacks of history (WW2). 5/5🎉
Caroline Bews
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2018
Read in a day. A nice story, not a great in my opinion but I enjoyed.
May 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
This is basically a story about a boy who is in love with his cousin. Eww.
Also, seeing as it was written by a Welsh-Italian author, I was surprised at how many Italian stereotypes it reinforced.
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
A heart-warming tale of a young boy growing up in the Welsh dales and wanting to get back in touch with his Italian roots. So many things to love about this one: a moving story about Italian immigrants during WW2; shop-owners trying to combat the death of the traditional English high street; a boy connecting with his grandfather. The recipes in the back for the main Italian food talked about just made it even better for me.
Louis George
May 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is great, its full of positivity and will be great for readers 9+
St Stephen's C C
When Joe tasted a mouthful he was amazed how delicious it was - a dense taste, better than any pasta he'd eaten before. Food was suddenly different - he felt as if his taste buds were doing the cha-cha-cha on Strictly. Joe loves his Italian heritage: the language, the opera, the lasagne! But it's hard to celebrate his Italian roots in Bryn Mawr, South Wales, where his mam is sick of running the family's tatty cafe. Just like his great-grandfather who opened the cafe in 1929, Joe is an entreprene ...more
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
A lovely read in which Joe learns about his family's past, and understands what it is to be both Welsh and Italian.
This is not a difficult read, yet it's packed with a cast of fully fleshed out characters and touches on a number of important subjects. Leading character Joe is a likeable boy with a taste for fast food. His Italian background, through his mother comes to the forefront when the family business reaches crisis. I applaud the author for promoting healthy eating and opera in a fun way
Aug 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, wales
Joe is a Welsh boy of Italian decent, and the son of the owner of an Italian restaurant in a small South Wales town. The restaurant is doing badly, as it has become nothing more than a typical British café. His Italian grandfather gets ill and his mother wants to sell up. However an Italian cousin arrives with new ideas and soon things start to change.

Joe is quite an entrepreneur, and comes up with some ingenious schemes. There are some funny antics with friends, and some discoveries about what
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
A feel good book without a doubt. Joe is of Welsh Italian heritage - brought up in the South Wales Valleys. The story emphasises the importance of tradition and heritage - and the importance of standing up for your beliefs. It is all told with humour and empathy. Throuoghly enjoyable, and a real taste of Welsh life in the Valleys.
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G. R. Gemin was born in Cardiff, South Wales, of Italian parentage, and lives in London. He spends much of his non-writing time listening to a variety of music, from Jimmy Smith to Giuseppe Verdi, with whom he is particularly obsessed. He speaks enough Italian to order ice cream, cake, or both.

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