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.
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