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Salty, Bitter, Sweet

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  46 ratings  ·  32 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
Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: March 3rd 2020 by Blink
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  • Salty, Bitter, Sweet by Mayra Cuevas
    Salty, Bitter, Sweet
    Release date: Mar 03, 2020
    A slow-burn romance in a cutthroat kitchen! There’s more to becoming a top chef for 17-year-old Isabella Fields than just not getting chopped … ...more

    Format: Print book

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    Availability: 15 copies available, 827 people requesting

    Giveaway dates: Feb 14 - Mar 13, 2020

    Countries available: U.S.

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    Average rating 3.65  · 
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     ·  46 ratings  ·  32 reviews

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    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
    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.
    Book Reviews
    Disclaimer: I got a free copy of the eArc of this book from NetGalley in return for an honest review.

    Rating: it's okay, would suggest borrowing from the library.

    While I enjoyed Salty, Bitter, Sweet overall, the book sends mixed messages that I personally did not agree with. I also did not enjoy the stepbrother / sister romance and would have passed this book by if the summary had been more clear about it.

    The book explores the world of professional French kitchens, with a mixed-nationality main
    Samantha (WLABB)
    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
    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
    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
    Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: ebook, american, poc, arc, netgalley
    Anyone who loves reading YA novels and who also enjoys watching Top Chef, MasterChef, Chopped, Hell's Kitchen, or any kind of cooking show will like this book. I know I did!

    Isabella loves to cook and dreams of becoming a Michelin-star chef. Her culinary skills scored her a spot in the prestigious summer cooking program with world renown Michelin-star Chef Grattard. The student who scores the highest marks in this program will win an apprenticeship with Chef Grattard and work alongside him at his
    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
    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
    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
    I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

    Isa is spending the summer in France with her dad and her pregnant stepmom in order to be able to attend a prestigious kitchen apprenticeship at the restaurant of world-famous Chef Pascal Grattard. She's trying to juggle being overwhelmed in the kitchen with apprenticeship rivalries, a guy who randomly shows up at her stepmother's house, and various unresolved family issues, from confronting her dad about the affair that
    Feb 08, 2020 rated it it was ok
    Isa is a seventeen-year-old French-Cuban-American girl who is struggling with a complicated family situation following the death of her beloved abuela, or 'Lala', and her parents' divorce. Now living with her father and stepmother, who are expecting their first child together, Isa feels shoved to the side of this new family dynamic, and it's not helped by the irritating presence of Diego, her stepmother's cocky teenage stepson. After being accepted into a prestigious cooking competition where ...more
    Jan 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: kindle, netgalley
    I really enjoyed this #ownvoices telling by Mayra Cuevas of a smart, driven, goal focused teen striving to find her place, not only in the kitchen but in her own family. I felt the love she had for her Cuban abuela Lala and how hard she tried to make her proud.

    One of my favorite quotes “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.” I think this says everything. I
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    This review is also found at The Rave Library.

    Ah. My first read of this decade, and this is a one decadent read. I seriously have no expectations for this novel, but I'm glad I gave this one a shot. This indulging debut scored some points from me due to the following:

    Isabella's journey to become a chef feels real to me. She's a multi-dimensional character who has flaws and mistakes but learns from them. And you know how it's not easy for her to deal with her new family. All the pain she suffered
    Katelyn Fowler
    Jan 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: january-20
    Title: Salty, Bitter, Sweet
    Author: Mayra Cuevas
    Release Date: 3.3.2020
    Review Date: 1.19.2020

    I received a complementary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    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 France, where Isabella feels like an outsider in her father’s new life. The upside of Isabella’s world being turned
    Bru and The Books
    Feb 06, 2020 rated it liked it
    Shelves: netgalley
    *Copy provided by NetGalley*

    I couldn't help but feel as if I was reading With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo, which is a book I love. There were a lot of similarities, however, I would say this one was a more amateur version of that story.

    Don't get me wrong, I did like this book and the general idea was nice. In here we follow Isabella, a 17 year old girl, whose dream is to become a chef in the most prestigious restaurant in France. She's just started her more mature life, she's lost her
    Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: ya-fiction
    This was well written and engaging for the foreign setting, diverse cast and mouth watering descriptions of food. Can't tell if it will appeal more to middle-aged women or teens though... ha ha. The character development was fine, although I feel like the father-daughter dynamic fell flat and wasn't addressed as much as the story initially set out to tackle it. Unlike some of the other reviewers, I wasn't bothered by the Diego-Isa romance. It didn't break any mold, and it certainly calls into ...more
    Feb 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: fav-cover, arc, 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
    Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
    I received an advanced copy of this book through NetGalley and the publisher for an honest review. This book isn't just a cooking competition, it's a story about love: between grandmother & granddaughter, father and daughter, boy and girl. The 2nd half was definitely more enjoyable as Isa gained footing in the competition at a high end restaurant in Lyon, France. This novel took me away from my humdrum existence to France, delicious foods, traditions and memories. Isabella has a strong ...more
    Lindsay Trapp
    Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Shelves: 2020-books
    This is a cute story. The characters grew on me, though it took me a little bit to get into the book. The descriptions of food are fantastic, and I was hungry the whole time I was reading the book. I also enjoyed the setting of the story! I recommend this book, especially to those who are into good foods! Do yourself a favor and bring a snack along with your copy when you go to read it.

    I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
    Feb 10, 2020 rated it liked it
    3.5/5. While this book was not without its problems (the mc had some ableist thoughts in regards to drug addicts and a few "I'm not like other girls" moments, among other things; much of it improved in the second half), I really enjoyed the concept of it. I don't know why chef media appeals to me so much, but it was mostly a fun, quick read and I appreciated the exploration of this character who didn't quite know where she fit in but was determined to carve out a space for herself in the world.
    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!
    Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    Happily, Hedy
    Jan 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
    I learned so much about cooking and baking through this book! I love watching cooking shows like masterchef, so this book definitely appealed to my taste. The ending felt a little abrupt, but I really enjoyed seeing Isa grow and mature through the story. Her internal conflicts are very realistic to a teen’s life, and I appreciate the genuine portrayal of her character.
    Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
    Really enjoyed this book. Loved all the food/cooking/recipe referances. Enjoyed Cuevas writing style and found it an easy enjoyable read. It did take a little bit to get into but once past this just a joy to read. Loved the characters and they felt really believable. Would recommend as a Spring/Summer read for those who enjoy teen/coming of age fiction and anything to do with cooking/resturant experiences.
    Feb 12, 2020 rated it liked it
    Review coming soon.
    Feb 11, 2020 rated it liked it
    Shelves: 2020-mt-bookpile
    Maybe having read With the Fire on High before this made me want something a bit more than a cooking-rom com. What I got was definitely a YA romance, set in France and almost a version of TV's Chopped or MasterChef. The cooking, which is supposedly such a huge part of the plot, doesn't include as much description as would be helpful (for example, more about the omelet disaster or the art of chopping). Instead there's more about the contestants and the relationships, which just sound average for ...more
    Maria Flaherty
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    Margaret Robbins
    Nov 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
    Forthcoming review in SLJ, but for now, I’ll say that I loved it!
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