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Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous (Christy Ottaviano Books) Hardcover – August 21, 2012

9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up-In this tale of reality television, food, deception, and love, readers meet Sophie Nicolaides. The 16-year-old works in her family's Italian-Greek restaurant alongside her father and grandparents. She loves to cook-so much so that she wants to be a chef with her own restaurant when she grows up. But, for now, it's school, weekends at the restaurant, and the rest of her free time spent with Alex-her best friend who is a boy, not her boyfriend. He gives her an application for a new reality show that is looking for teen "cheftestants" to compete for a chance to win a scholarship to the country's best culinary school. How can she pass up the opportunity to spend a summer away from DC in Napa, California, while cooking her heart out for prizes? At her home away from home, she's faced with friends, enemies, frenemies, and a cute French student. But will she survive the chop of reality-show drama? And, when she starts having feelings for the French cutie, she wonders if the steam in the kitchen will cloud her thinking or if she will cook like she's never cooked before to win a chance at the beginning of her culinary life. Although the characters are, at times, underdeveloped and generic, the story itself is entertaining and funny, and it will definitely make readers hungry for dinner. Give to readers who want an easy and quick read.-Traci Glass, Eugene Public Library, ORα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Sophie was raised in her father’s Italian-Greek restaurant, but she has always wanted to do more with her cooking. When the opportunity comes for her to compete on a teen chef reality show, she hopes it will be her time to stand out and shine. As the inevitable reality-show drama unfolds, Sophie realizes that to become something great, you have to know who you are to begin with. Williams has stuffed her book with delicious surprises as tantalizing as the recipes she includes between the chapters. As readers cheer on Sophie, they can’t help but be sucked into the other contestants’ stories and the overall excitement of this teen cooking competition, and, of course, the developing relationship between Sophie and that adorable French chef. Besides being a perfect choice for any fan of great food, this story will inspire teenagers to pursue their dreams and appreciate their heritages. Grades 8-10. --Bethany Fort

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 - 18 years
  • Grade Level: 7 - 12
  • Lexile Measure: 780L (What's this?)
  • Series: Christy Ottaviano Books
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); 1 edition (August 21, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805092854
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805092851
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,555,735 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I hate writing bios almost more than I hate writing thank you notes (they are about as stale), so I will try to make this interesting. I was born on a blustery spring day in [excised], a good year for Republicans and a bad year for zinfandels. Soon after, I penned my first literary masterpiece in a pink Trapper Keeper: a short story about a wild horse named Babbling Brook. Babbling Brook found herself in a pickle when the field she used for grazing froze over in a blizzard and then, still frozen, burned. While my early appreciation for plot and conflict was encouraging, it was also clear that I lacked a basic understanding of the laws of nature.

I am now the author of three young adult novels, THE DEBUTANTE, THE LOST SUMMER, and PIZZA, LOVE, AND OTHER STUFF THAT MADE ME FAMOUS, as well as an illustrated humor/advice book, ROOMIES: SHARING YOUR HOME WITH FRIENDS, STRANGERS AND TOTAL FREAKS. Under my pen name, Lucy Ruggles, I have authored or adapted a number of books, including the bestselling CAMP ROCK: THE JUNIOR NOVEL. When I am not spending the thousands of gazillions of dollars that I make writing books, I work as a freelance project editor for Sideshow Media. I am the co-founder and developmental editor for Sideshow's new YA imprint, Aerial Publishing. I also blog regularly for SparkLife and offer freelance writing, editing, proofreading, and photo research services.

I live somewhere between Nashville, Tennessee; New York City; Portland, Maine; and Richmond, Virginia. I am a strong believer in the healing power of butter, bacon, and Southern rock, and I never, ever wear white after Labor Day...or is it before Labor Day?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Valerie A. Baute on November 7, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Sophie manages to win a spot on a reality tv show about cooking. She must leave her best friend, the guy she's starting to have pretty strong feelings for, and fight for her spot on the show. Add another cute boy and a bit of a controversy in the show, and there it is.

I liked this book. It was a relatively quick read. I really wanted to know how the reality show would end. That's about it. There were a decent amount of characters, and I never felt to connected to any of them. I did not like that there were 2 boys that she had an interest in. I felt bad for the one back home even though I liked the one in Napa. I didn't see a way that it could end that I would be happy with the results on that aspect. I wasn't mad about it at the end, but it seemed such a big part of the book throughout that I felt it deserved more. It just kind of ended. As for the show, it wasn't what I expected either. It wasn't as much a part of the book as I felt it should be. I really enjoyed the controversy and the behind the scenes type of story. There really wasn't enough of it.

It was a good idea for a story, and I really wish it would have been better developed. I know it was only a teen read, but the development of the characters and the story itself were more along the lines of a young child's book. Teens expect and deserve a lot more. I debated giving it 4 stars because I did like the story and read it quickly, but it just didn't do it for me, and I don't see it doing much for the target audience either. I actually wanted a quick, cute fluff read and was still disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S Day on December 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
There are a few topics I'm just a sucker for. Boarding schools are one... and reality TV is the other. Not many books have a reality TV theme (WATCH ME by Lauren Barnholdt, THE SELECTION by Kiera Cass, even THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins), but I've read all that I can find and thoroughly enjoyed them all, including PIZZA, LOVE, AND OTHER STUFF THAT MADE ME FAMOUS.

Sophie works at her family's restaurant, and has a passion for cooking. Teen Test Kitchen appears, wanting to cast teens for their new cooking show, and Sophie gets in, where she is enveloped in cameras, microphones, and the cooking competition itself.

Admittedly, the thing that I liked most about this book was simply the reality TV aspect. I liked Sophie and the other characters enough, but it's a lighter read so the characters didn't get into depth like they would for, say, a Denise Jaden book. But that's alright. I had a lot of fun following along with the competition (though a few parts moved too fast - I wanted to know more!), and when Sophie and her friends start to realize that the show is being filmed in a manipulative way to get more viewers, I enjoyed the spin and that it got me to think about how that must be done for all shows like this.

PIZZA, LOVE, AND OTHER STUFF THAT MADE ME FAMOUS would be a great recommendation for a reader interested in cooking, or one who isn't ready for heavy stuff. It's definitely a fun read!
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Format: Hardcover
Sophie Nicolaides has always dreamed of being a chef. As much as she loves Taverna Ristorante, her family's Italian-Greek restaurant, and particularly getting to help out in the kitchen, she also wants to be bigger than that and to eventually have her own restaurant. But when her best friend Alex tries to convince her to audition for Teen Test Kitchen, a new reality cooking show, as a way to jumpstart her culinary career, Sophie isn't so sure. She doesn't think that being filmed constantly and subjected to who-knows-how-harsh critiques isn't really for her, but the prize of a full scholarship to one of the best culinary schools in the country is a tough opportunity to pass up. Soon, Sophie finds herself in Napa, California working and competing with her fellow teen contestants as they cook their way through a summer of drama and good food. If Sophie can weather this through and find a way to be true to herself, both as a girl and as a chef, then this just might be the best summer of her life.

Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous is a sweet, quick, and enjoyable contemporary read about life, love, and cooking. I think what made me like this story the most was a combination of Sophie's strong voice and Williams' wonderful writing. Even the least culinary-inclined reader is sure to be drawn in by Sophie's passion for cooking and her desire to, if not be the best, at least do things right. The fact that Williams really knows how to tell a story helps keep everything moving along nicely with a perfect mix of intrigue, on-camera pressure, culinary near-fiascos, and drama of all types. Every new development in the story felt very natural, which greatly helped the plot flow smoothly from the very beginning to the end.
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Format: Hardcover
This book was not what I expected it to be. It was a cute read but it just lacked something for me. I was not as into it as I hoped that I would be. I really wanted it to be like one of my favorite books, but sadly I was a little disappointed. Not that it was all bad because there were definitely parts that I did like. I loved Sophie's ambition and her desire to cook. I could feel a passion in her that was so real and I love that she was so connected to her family and really embraced her Greek/Italian culture. I will admit that the cover caught my eye here and the story did not quite match my radiant expectations.

Like I said before it was an enjoyable read, but I never felt a strong pull or connection to the story that made me want to keep reading until I finished the book. First of all I hate reality shows anyway the ones like Jersey Shore, The Bachelor, or The Bad Girls Club. However, I love shows like Chopped and Iron Chef so I thought that maybe I would like this book seeing as how Sophie is a contestant on Teen Test Kitchen. I did not like this reality TV show setting. I felt like parts of it were so generic and that I already knew what would happen next. I feel like I would have like Sophie in a different setting, if that makes sense to readers.

I was left disappointed by the romance side of things as well. I felt like this would be a breezy read with cute and romantic lines from a ridiculously handsome boy, but sadly I was left empty handed in this department as well. I felt like Sophie was even closed off to me sometimes as well in the romance department and I wish I could have known more of her feelings and thoughts in certain parts of the book. I wish Sophie would have been more a go getter!!
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