Taste Test -- Kelly Fiore
I happen to love foodie novels a lot. In fact, I love anything to do with food, period. I don't go out and seek Food Network online streaming or anything, but I have a love for food that that is probably only rivaled by my love for books and wine.
So I was fairly excited about reading Taste Test.
It's a cute story and premise, like a reality TV Survivor in the kitchen type of deal with a bunch of young adolescent kids competing to be the best of the best. Contestants are eliminated regularly, there's drama, there are tears, there's tension... and all the while, the fictional world of the producer and judges are doing what they can to both make the show more ratings worthy as well as forcing these kids to think on their feet... or make their life miserable, I suppose.
Included in Taste Test's story line is also schooling for our student-age contestants and a lot of backstage drama--just like real life. XD
And really, this book was cute and fun in it's own way. Nora's narrative voice is certainly snarky enough for me to enjoy. The humor was done really well and the story had direction and a good amount of thought-provoking substance to be both entertaining AND inspiring. Overall, Taste Test is an entertaining read that I can honestly say I liked.
I do have a few complaints that I couldn't quite overlook, even if I just let them slide because the book was a fairly easy read.
First of all, Nora had been a readily likable and relatable character when the book started. I'm not saying she ended up annoying or anything, but she has a glaringly obvious judgmental mentality that I didn't quite care for. The way in which she was so quick to formulate negative ideas of almost everyone she meets does not make her an easy person to continuously root for. In some instances, she came off pretty immature, though I suppose we ARE dealing with teenagers here.
I'm not saying that ALL teenagers are immature, but Nora certainly tended towards a more disappointing angle for character development. She too quickly had something negative to say about almost every female who even associated with Christian just because she didn't like him. And she may of used the word "ho-bag" a few times when referencing her less than friendly roommate, Joy.
The second thing that bugged me just a little bit was how little we focused on the actual cooking. Sure, we get a scene here and there about the cooking process, and maybe a pointer or two. But a lot of the book then turned into a flash forward of "Nora prepared this dish" or "Christian presented that dish". Which, I guess if you're more looking forward to reading about the backstage drama and the romance and more backstage drama, then this book did just fine.
Then there was the mystery portion of the story that was just barely there. It wasn't really all that significant, but it DID remind me of a cheesy Rom-Com that needed more than one genre to appeal to audiences, I guess. And in this case, it also showcased just how readily Nora liked to jump to conclusions without proof of any such--just that, she didn't like so-and-so, ergo, obviously said person is the one behind anything going wrong that even remotely resembled sabotage.
But aside from those few things, the rest wasn't really all that bad. I DID enjoy some of the back-and-forth between Nora and Christian. But then there were instances when they just got exhausting crossed lines threw punches that were uncalled for... and that's when the situation becomes a little more frustratingly childish than witty, friendly rivalry and banter.
This book is a pre-chosen participant in the following Reading Challenge(s):