Best friends Chantal and Jillian have always been on the same page, taking AP classes and planning for their future as neurosurgeons, but everything changes during the summer before their senior year.
When popular Parker begins paying attention to Jillian, introverted Chantal feels left out. Jillian cannot understand why wearing a bikini or wanting to go to parties is suddenly grounds for ending their friendship. When Parker’s best friend, Will, who normally lives to torment Chantal, starts trying to hang out with her, Chantal begins to suspect that there is something bigger going on. Determined to expose the boys’ scheme, she invents a complicated plan that combines her newfound love of baking, her intense focus and a whole lot of sneaking around. More than just a foodie romance, Merrell’s debut tackles difficult issues such as parental neglect and bullying. An overly convoluted plot that never gains momentum overshadows the well-drawn main characters, though. Sweet confections with clever names brighten the narrative, but they will not be enough to keep readers’ attention. Predictable secondary characters and wince-worthy missteps of purple prose will make readers yearn for more hearty sustenance.
A recipe that never comes together. (Fiction. 14 & up)