Wendy's Reviews > Close to Famous

Close to Famous by Joan Bauer
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's review
Jan 08, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2011-award-possibilities
Read in January, 2012

Damned if this book didn't win me over. I started it with low, low expectations, because almost every book I read about kids who just lurve to bake is so twee and so obviously written by... these books aren't aspirational, exactly; sort of the opposite. It's the same with most books for kids about art. The adults just love food and/or art and they want kids to love it, too. And cupcakes? Don't get me wrong, I patronize a cupcake shop regularly, but I was over the concept of cupcakes being the Next Big Thing as soon as all that started. Adults loving food typically associated with children, gourmet s'mores, artisan pb&j, and cupcakes... gag me. (As an aside: I am also so bored with headlines that start "Move over, cupcakes" and then tell us what the next cupcake is. This has been happening for years, and Cupcake Royale is still doing a thriving business.

Anyway, the book. I discovered quickly that not only is this about a kid who lurves to bake, it's about a kid who lives in a folksy Southern town with quirky inhabitants, who can't read but learns how over the course of the book, who has a father who was killed in combat in Iraq, and whose mother is being physically abused by her new boyfriend. In the end--you know this, so it isn't a spoiler, right?--baking solves everything and brings the town together.

We hate this, right? We hate everything about it.

BUT I DIDN'T. Somehow this still manages to be a good book.

I think it's that the writing is good, and the girl isn't overly cutesy OR overly troubled.

This blows that other 2011 foodie book for kids, PIE, out of the water. WAY out.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Melody (new)

Melody This is the most crankypants review evah.

Wendy You've seen the cover. Can you blame me?

message 3: by Melody (new)

Melody I hold you, as ever, entirely blameless. My comment was made in the spirit of admiration rather than censure.

Wendy Only you, MMM.

message 5: by Elizabeth (new) - added it

Elizabeth K. I agree with Melody, I was in breathless thrall for the entire review! I don't even care what the book is, I will read it now.

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