Jess has a successful Wall Street career and is in line for a promotion. When she is not only passed over for the promotion but is also laid off from her job for lacking leadership skills, Jess moves back to Nashville to live with her parents as she regroups. She begins a Korean cooking channel on YouTube for busy workers, which goes viral when Jess’s overbearing and opinionated mother butts into her video. Thus begins a new life for Jess as she begins to find her way among family, friends, and a new potential love.
The relationship between Jess and her mom is one of the highlights of the story. I love Jess. She is a hard-working entrepreneur, strong and resilient, and a bit foul-mouthed. She refuses to let her job loss get her down, and she works hard to reinvent herself.
Jess goes through such a great personal journey throughout the book as she gains confidence and a strong sense of self, and learns to trust herself and others. Her work ethic is something to be admired, as is her relationship with her parents.
Jess’s mother is a spitfire, and she totally steals the show, both literally and figuratively. She is so funny, and it’s when she is on camera with Jess that the channel goes viral. Jess and her mom have fabulous chemistry, and it’s clear that they love each other very much. They have a close mother-daughter bond that I think many readers will relate to. Their relationship is frustrating, fun, and, above all, filled with love. I so related to this, as my mother, much like Jess’s, used to drive me insane, riddle me with guilt, and then envelop me in support, compassion, and unwavering love.
The slow-building romance between Jess and her old school nemesis Daniel is another highlight of the book, though it is not the main focus of the story. When Jess’s mom tries to set Jess up with the now-successful lawyer Daniel, Jess is none too pleased. However, the more she gets to know him, the less she wants to resist him.
Good-looking and confident, Daniel is quite different from the boy Jess remembered from high school. I found Daniel positively swoon-tastic, and he and Jess have great chemistry. I love their easy and witty banter, and I’m always a sucker for a good enemies-to-lovers romance. Of course, their relationship is not without obstacles, and his job conflicts with her new career. However, it was lovely to see their relationship slowly bloom as they maneuvered through these new problems.
I also like that the novel touches upon relevant and relatable issues like inequities and sexism in the workplace, women’s rights, and racism, all of which Jess, her family, and her friends face throughout the story. Sadly, this makes the story even more realistic, as these are common issues in current American culture.
And the food!! I want to try all of the delicious-sounding food. Jess has so many clever and yummy Korean-inspired meals and hacks, and I want a taste of all of them!
A wonderful, heart-warming story about starting over, believing in yourself, and taking chances, the novel also highlights the complexities of love, friendship, success, and family. I enjoyed this book very much and think readers who are looking for a charming story with great characters, a sweet enemies-to-lovers romance, and a lot of delicious food will also adore it. Thanks so much to NetGalley, Avon, and Suzanne Park for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.