Emoni’s life is a little different from most of her classmates. Her interests are different – her best friend is into graphic design, and Emoni creates magic when she’s cooking. It’s one way she keeps in touch with her Puerto Rican roots. The other major difference? Emoni has a small daughter named Emma, Its also Emani’s senior year. All this means she needs to make some major life decisions really soon – where is she going to college? Should she even go to college? What choices can she make to ensure her daughter has the best future? While she’s trying to make these decisions going into her senior year, she learns that she has the chance to take a cooking class as an elective, complete with a trip to Spain at the end. During class, she gets to know Malachi a little better, a transfer student that wants to be her friend – and possibly more. With all these changes coming to Emoni, she finds the best way to navigate the challenges while staying true to herself.
Elizabeth Acevedo is an incredible storyteller, and a fantastic narrator for the audiobook version of this book. Each character has a purpose in Emoni’s life, and there is no unnecessary drama – the characters and situations make perfect sense in the story. In addition to the story, this book is an #ownvoices read, it follows a Latina main character who is also a teen mom and has experience with teen pregnancy. The relationship between Emoni and Malachi is also so unique among YA reads. Their friendship is slow and strong, and it never feels forced. Malachi lets Emoni take the lead with how quickly the relationship evolves, which is great to see during a time period in life where so many readers may feel pressured in similar situations. Along with the wonderful, thought-provoking story, Acevedo sprinkles actual recipes throughout the book for readers looking to take the story in with all five senses. Together, the recipes and the story create a lovely reading experience.
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