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Salty, Bitter, Sweet

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  431 ratings  ·  148 reviews
“Happiness, like love, arrives through the kitchen. At least that’s what my abuela Lala used to say. I may not know much about love, but I definitely got the kitchen part down.”

Seventeen-year-old aspiring chef Isabella Fields’ family life has fallen apart after the death of her Cuban abuela and the divorce of her parents. She moves in with her dad and his new wife in Franc
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 3rd 2020 by Blink
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Erin Don't know if you're still looking for answers! I literally just finished it--I don't always notice all levels of swearing because it sometimes just d…moreDon't know if you're still looking for answers! I literally just finished it--I don't always notice all levels of swearing because it sometimes just doesn't register on my radar, but I don't remember anyone any of the languages, as far as I'm aware.
The characters kiss and like, press their bodies against each other while kissing, but it doesn't get any steamier than that. IMO it was very tame and sweet.


Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  431 ratings  ·  148 reviews

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Food, family, forgiveness, fun.

This was a sweet and salty story about family, with a splash of romance and a ton of food. Isa has moved to France to live with her father and her new stepmother. She is not terribly fond of her new stepmother especially because she caught her kissing her father before her parents were divorced. The situation is not helped by the fact that stepmom is now pregnant and refuses to eat the food that Isa makes. When Isa’s new step brother Diego shows up things get even
Mackenzie - PhDiva Books
A coming-of-age novel about an American teenager who is living in France with her father and attending a high-caliber cooking program. With dreams of becoming a Michelin-star chef, a troubled relationship with her father and his new family, and a love-interest, Isabella has her plate full. A charming story with a lot of heart and some amazing food descriptions.

Isa had the misfortune of witnessing her father kissing a woman who wasn’t her mother. Following the incident were months of fighting, a
Fadwa (Word Wonders)
CW: colorism, death of a relative from hepatitis, grief, ableism (especially in regards to addiction).

DNF @ 40%

Even though I promised myself last year that I will be more liberal with DNFing books I am not liking, here I am still feeling bad about doing it but at least, I'm getting better at it, right? SALTY BITTER SWEET sounds amazing on paper, a book about a French-Cuban American girl who is trilingual, passionate about cooking and wants to make a career out of it, who also faces complicated
Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arc, fav-cover, ya
Salty, Bitter, Sweet is a young adult novel dedicated to food & family.
There is a lot of talk about grief and forgiveness in it, but also some romance.
I guess the title is perfect as it ties everything nicely together.

I liked how you can just tell that both food and family are very important to the author. It just pours from pages of this book. I loved her connection with her Abuela as I could relate to it. It is very familiar to me; healing through food. If you love YA contemporary, own voic
Samantha (WLABB)
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
She lost her Lala and her family was in shambles, but Isa was going to make the most of the situation. She earned a spot in a prestigious summer cooking program, which could lead to a once-in-a-lifetime internship with a renowned chef, but would she be able to hold it together, and win the internship?

• Pro: This book was filled with fantastic female characters. Two stood out, Isa's abuela and Chef Troissant. Both women set the bar high for Isa, and she was better for it.

• Pro: It was sort of sa
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was ok
*sigh* i have a lot of thoughts and not many of them are good :'/

update: dropping down my rating to 2, cause the mere thought of this book makes me boil.
Mar 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Salty, Bitter, Sweet is a wonderfully nuanced coming of age story that will definitely leave you hungry! It also features a prickly young heroine who, among other things, finds love. I suspect some mixed or
negative reviews will be due to this "unlikeable" (but realistic?) teen girl character. Prickly girls need love too guys! Honestly, this was little slow to get into, but it really crept up on me and I ended up loving it. It tackles complicated family dynamics, grief, love, identity, and lear
Lisa Mandina
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars.

So honestly, I really adored this book! It was such an easy read, I mean I couldn’t stop turning pages. And with no page numbers in the ARC, I was unsure if that would make it seem like it took longer to read, like e-books do when they don’t have page numbers, but it didn’t. I flew through this book, even though it is over 300 pages long. The characters were really a lot of fun, I loved Isa especially. I guess it is totally possible that one thing that I loved about the book was that
Apr 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Like a really good menu, the title encapsulates the tastes on offer with this novel, served like a well-served three-course meal would be presented on your table. Character presentation also matches the personalities being introduced, although each individual offers some degree of salty, bitter and sweet in their interactions. I enjoyed the complexities of their past and how each one incorporates their past, like raw ingredients, to make their own cuisine.  Although our main girl,Isa, is the che ...more
Nat ⭐️
Actual rating: 2.5 stars (rounded down)
TW: loss of a loved one, (brief) mentions of racism and colorism, mentions of substance abuse, spousal infidelity

I accidentally deleted my previous, much more in-depth review, but it was probably way too long and ramble-y anyway. Here are my main points:

- This book explores a lot of topics but never really develops one main idea. As a result, it almost feels like no idea is fully realized by the end of the book. I wish some parts were either cut or minimize
It's Jess✨
Jan 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If you like With the Fire on High or ANY cooking show this book is for you. I am no chef (I barely make pasta and eggs) but the visual explanation of the prep and execution of meals literally had my mouth watering. It makes me want to learn how to cook!

I love the family dynamic it is just complex as real life but with a hint of hope. The divorce representation was good, I only wish to have seen the mother possibly find happiness as the father did.
As a Cuban/African-American having an Abuela wh
Kate Olson
(free review copy) An #ownvoices sweet teen foodie romance set in France with themes of fitting in, grief and family. The main character is Cuban / French and is based on the author’s teen years. I enjoyed the story, but I listened to the audiobook and I feel like the narration was a bit overdramatized - I may have loved it if I had read it on paper. Recommended for fans of YA travel and cooking stories.
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I loved it! It was emotional and I loved seeing her sweet relationship with her late grandmother. The romance was cute and I enjoyed it a lot, though I would've preferred if the love interest hadn't been her new stepmom's ex-stepson. He could've easily been the son of an old family friend of Margo's, rather than being Isa's not-stepbrother. Other than that, it was cute seeing her go from being annoyed with him to pining for him. I also loved the descriptions of food. This book made me hungry! ...more
Tiffany Heitz
Mar 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Loved this book about finding your true passion and ffoooodddd.
Jan 12, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book was so amazing, it was written so beautifully and the romance was so perfect. I think I really needed this book today, just something to get lost in and this was the perfect one.
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it
For me, Salty, Bitter, Sweet was a book of two halves. The bad news: one half is not that great. The good news: the other half is uplifting, life-affirming, inspiring and has stayed with me after finishing. So if you can push through a lacklustre and slightly infuriating first half, you’re in for a real treat.

The book spans a three week time period, during which Isabella (Isa) undertakes a punishing apprenticeship in a Michelin starred kitchen, meets her new step-mother’s ex-step-son, and reflec
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
Salty Bitter Sweet is a moving, introspective, and DELICIOUS read! It’s about Isa, a French-Cuban American girl who speaks three languages and is a talented cook who grew up learning her grandma Lala’s recipes, like her county fair famous apple pie.

What I loved about this book is that Isa isn’t a plain white girl who thinks she’s better than everyone because she has talent in the kitchen. Ugh what a cliche. Isa is French-Cuban and works damn hard to be a good cook and baker. She toils hard in t
Theresa Milstein
Jun 18, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoy books about cooking and family, so I was looking forward to reading this book. I love the cooking descriptions. Isabella's passion is contagious. The settings of the kitchens and restaurants were vivid and interesting. I also thought the idea of passing recipes through generations was lovely. I appreciated that her parents were from different cultures and how that influenced her, and sometimes how people judged her. But quite a few things bothered me. I listened to the afterword, so I go ...more
Stephanie Jane
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-americas
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

I picked out Salty, Bitter, Sweet by Mayra Cuevas from NetGalley because of its Own Voices authorship. Isabella's part-Latina heritage is an important aspect of this authentically complicated character's emotional makeup. Still reeling from emotional family upheavals, Isabella's need to find herself a new way to belong reminded me of similar themes in Natalie Tan's Book of Love and Fortune by Roselle Lim. Both novels are essentially foodie co
Danielle Zimmerman
Mar 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
SALTY BITTER SWEET will have your mouth watering from the very first page. Chock full of discussions about food, people, and the way it can change lives, it’s practically a main character in its own right. From delectable desserts such as apple pie and flan to chicken dinners and even hamburgers, there’s so much joy in the descriptions of food, even when situations are less than joyous in the characters’ lives.

This is a story of family and the ways in which food brings us together and witnesses
Fabulous Book Fiend
Apr 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh this book had a little bit of everything and so therefore I ended up falling in love with Isa and her story.

Isa is a great character to spend time with because she is at the stage in life where you think you have your identity as part of a family figured out and then you realise you really don’t. I love the fact that Isa is from Chicago with a French mother, a Cuban grandmother and is there in France with her father to pursue her dreams of being a chef-what a great mix for a novel.

As if the
Kathy - Books & Munches
Apr 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: arc-s
Triggers: Mention of suicide, detailed description of cutting up a chicken

This story didn't start off all that great for me. And.. I think that ruined a lot. But it's not the only reason this book didn't click.

First off, this story is about Isa. A main character I really didn't connect with due to her general disrespect towards people, being egocentric and having overly dramatic tendencies. At least, those are the things that stuck with me at the time of writing this review. Obnoxious is another
Emilie Haney
Jun 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
This one was a fun, foodie-filled book that played on my not so secret dreams of becoming a pastry chef. Okay, I know that'll never happen, but it was fun reading about it...until it wasn't. In Cuevas's book we get a real look at life in a high-powered kitchen in France where I'm sure she didn't over play the stressful details put upon these teens.

Initially Isabella, Isa, was a really hard character for me to like. I understood that she really needed to have that 'perfection' trait in order for
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
In Salty, Bitter, Sweet, seventeen-year-old Isabella Fields is trying to move forward after her abuela’s death and her parent’s divorce, particularly the part where her dad cheated on her mom, remarried, and has a new baby on the way. She’s spending the summer with her father, though, because of his proximity to a summer apprenticeship she’s attending. To make matters more complicated, her new stepmother’s former stepson shows up unannounced and moves in…and he is HOT.

This set-up would make for
Olivia Fink

Received copy in exchange for an honest review.

I am surprised at how much I liked this book. It is hard for me to give over a 3 star for any contemporary books because they all just seam the same to me but this one was different. I think the main reason I enjoyed this one was because it was like reading a cooking competition. But I am glad it wasn't all just the competition. This book had many different layers and every conflict and separate story line flowed really well together. I love h
Jacqueline Firkins
Oct 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
More sweet than salty or bitter, this novel is full of traits I thoroughly enjoyed:

1. a complicated, flawed heroine who doesn't always say and do the right thing
2. the kind of friendships that weather conflict
3. complex but loving family dynamics
4. a central theme around ambition and perfectionism I think a lot of readers can relate to
5. a dog that adds a hint of conflict at humour at just the right moments
6. a high stakes competition
7. an electric kiss

Most of all I enjoyed Isa's journey as she
Sweet, warm and friendly, this book tells about a teenage girl striving for her dream of workingin a professional kitchen. For three weeks, she is part of an intensive course in the restaurant of a famous French chef. At the end of the course, one participant will win a coveted apprenticeship.
Alng the way, Isabella must deal with her new stepmother, her grief over her grandmother, her relationship with her father after his affair and subsequent divorce for Isabella's mother. And the infuriating
High Plains Library District
Apr 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: cassandra, teen
This was a wonderful story to read! I absolutely loved it! What I really enjoyed most was the combination of family dynamics, sharing of recipes and the challenges and struggles that the characters overcame. I think tweens, teens and adults will love this book!
I was fully prepared to make a joke like, and they were stepsiblings! oh my god they were stepsiblings.....

but then I read the author's note where she said her stepsons inspired the "Hot Spaniard", the male love interest, and my soul left my goddamn body. what the fuck
Previouslyunread (Rhiannon)
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Isa is a chef. She can cook up a storm and she’s even won a spot at a prestigious restarurant for a special summer school.

All is not what it seems though, Isa’a life is far from perfect, her dads new girlfriend seems to hate her and now Diego has turned up and everything seems to be going wrong.

Salty, Bitter, Sweet follows Isa through her summer school as she learns what she wants from life and finally learns how to move on from the death of a loved one.

I found this book so sweet, it reminded m
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