A teen with a talent for cake decorating wrestles with love and loss in this coming-of-age story.
Sheridan Wells lives with her father, a well-known chef and restaurateur, in small-town Michigan. Her mother, a cake decorator and Sheridan’s inspiration, deserted the family when Sheridan was 7. Nonetheless, Sheridan thinks about her obsessively and longs to reunite. So when her father is offered his own television cooking show and Sheridan is asked to celebrate her birthday during the first episode, she gets a crazily brilliant idea—why not track down her mother and get her to co-decorate the birthday cake? The plot is complicated by Sheridan’s dueling love interests, and the author makes the risky choice of creating a central character that takes a long time to warm to. The most engaging scenes take place in the kitchen, demonstrating Sheridan’s passion for the art of cooking and cake decoration, and they showcase the intrinsic rewards of a job well done. Although satisfying, the climax, which takes place on several fronts, is not as stirring as it should be.
Aimed squarely at teenage girls, this sensitive story explores the need to embrace the reality rather than the fantasy of love, both familial and romantic. (Fiction. 12 & up)