Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Joan Bauer

Age Range: 10 - 14

Pub Date: Feb. 3rd, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-670-01282-4
Publisher: Viking

When a domestic relationship turns abusive, 12-year-old Foster McKee and her mother flee Memphis, stowing whatever they can carry in their Chevy, including Foster’s treasured baking supplies and a few fresh-baked muffins for the road. Upon stumbling into the small town of Culpepper, W.Va., Foster’s baking talents win the hearts of the townspeople, among whom number such quirky and colorful personalities as Angry Wayne, Perseverance Wilson and Miss Charleena, a retired—but still very dramatic—Hollywood star. Woven throughout her baking adventures is Foster’s dream to be the Food Network’s first kid host of a cooking show, and silly scenes of Foster hamming it up for an imaginary camera punctuate the text. Amid this agreeable foolishness, heavy issues of domestic violence, mental illness, illiteracy and the pain of the recent economic downturn make themselves felt. Bauer expertly balances these grim realities with Foster’s ebullient personality and spunk, which could convince anyone that she will be able “make the world a better place one cupcake at a time.” (Fiction. 10-14)