Thursday, March 28, 2013

(Review) Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous by Kathryn Williams

Title: Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous
Author: Kathryn Williams
Published: August 21, 2012 (Henry Holt and Co.)
Rating: Lunch Break Read
Format: Hardcover, borrowed from the library
Summary: Sixteen-year-old Sophie Nicolaides was practically raised in the kitchen of her family’s Italian-Greek restaurant, Taverna Ristorante. When her best friend, Alex, tries to convince her to audition for a new reality show, Teen Test Kitchen, Sophie is reluctant. But the prize includes a full scholarship to one of America's finest culinary schools and a summer in Napa, California, not to mention fame.

Once on-set, Sophie immediately finds herself in the thick of the drama—including a secret burn book, cutthroat celebrity judges, and a very cute French chef. Sophie must figure out a way to survive all the heat and still stay true to herself.
I was so excited for Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous! What a fun idea! As a self-proclaimed Chopped addict (even though I don't like any other reality shows unless they involve dancing), I was definitely looking forward to this one. The story sounded so cute, and how completely adorable is that cover?

While it was not exactly what I was expecting, Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous delivered on the cuteness level. Which I desperately needed, as I had recently finished sobbing for basically 2.5 hours straight because I went to see Les Mis. It was an entertaining little story with lots of fun drama and antics. Stick a bunch of teenagers in a high-stress environment with little-to-no privacy in which to express their thoughts? Oh, you're going to have drama. But it was pretty authentic. I could see this being a show on the cooking channel. In fact, it would probably be more interesting than several of the shows I've seen (well, at least previews) on the Food Network.

I really enjoyed reading about Sophie's family. Sophie had a large family who owned and ran their Greek-Italian restaurant. I liked the whole atmosphere. While her family could be a bit much, she still loved them. The whole restaurant crew as well as Sophie's best friend Alex were basically treated like part of the family, as well, and they would sometimes sit down to these gigantic, crazy dinners. I felt like I was there in the middle of the chaos, and I loved it!

As for the love story, there are actually some twists you might not expect from the summary, and I don't want to give anything away. But I thought it was interesting how it all played out, even though I was totally convinced of something that was not the case at one point. Although I wasn't a fan of the execution, I did wind up liking the way it ended.

Perhaps my favorite thing about the entire book was the recipes it included! I was so happy about that! I feel like it would be worth buying for the recipes alone. Several of the recipes included looked delicious, and I only wish it had included more.

Overall, I enjoyed Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff That Made Me Famous. Word of advice, though: I would not recommend reading while you're hungry! Or if so, make sure you have some great ingredients handy, because this book will make you want to embrace your culinary skills (no matter how imaginary they may be) and whip up something delicious.
For the first time, I understood what romance novels meant by “swooning.”

Everyone knows sleep deprivation makes for good reality television.

Baking is a very different skill than cooking. It requires precision and the ability to follow directions. Baking is for the obsessive-compulsive.
(I laughed really hard at this one. So true! It certainly explains why I love baking so much more than cooking.)

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