Blurb: Seventeen-year-old Carter Lane has wanted to be a chef since she was old enough to ignore her mom’s warnings to stay away from the hot stove. And now she has the chance of a lifetime: a prestigious scholarship competition in Savannah, where students compete all summer in Chopped style challenges for a full-ride to one of the best culinary schools in the country. The only impossible challenge ingredient in her basket: Reid Yamada.
After Reid, her cute but unbearably cocky opponent, goes out of his way to screw her over on day one, Carter vows revenge, and soon they’re involved in a full-fledged culinary war. Just as the tension between them reaches its boiling point, Carter and Reid are forced to work together if they want to win, and Carter begins to wonder if Reid’s constant presence in her brain is about more than rivalry. And if maybe her desire to smack his mouth doesn’t necessarily cancel out her desire to kiss it
I haven’t read much YA this year, in fact I’ve only read one other (Love, Hate & Other Filters which i adored!!) so I decided to finally start the ARC of The Art of French Kissing because cooking rivalry??? Yes!!
And wow this was a great, fun read. This is my first book by Brianna Shrum and her characters’ voices are so vivid and really shine here. The book is from a single POV, Carter, and being in her head was fantastically funny.
So reasons i loved this book:
- The scene dividers are little macarons. The relevance of this was revealed later on!
- The rivalry!! I love a good hate to love. and omg there’s cheese sabotage! someone gets tripped! an alarm clock gets messed with and they’re eventually paired up to work together.
- a brief discussion of the one true ship of Zuko and Katara
- HE MADE HER MACARONS!!!
- this line: “Reid is unbearable half the time, but he’s hot all the time”
- THE TENSION. This is done so superbly. Their competitiveness is intense but the underlying current of oh no this person is hot and I maybe sorta like them while also hating them is perfectly executed.
- The characterization: I adored Reid and Carter and all the secondary characters (well except Andrew, that dude was annoying) But I have a little soft spot for Reid, my beautiful biracial, queer nerd son.
- The cooking aspect of the book was fun to read as well! I looked forward to each new challenge the judges threw at them and was on the edge of my bed as i read because the tension and intense rivalry came through really well!
I want to try every single dish they made. They all sounded so good! (But someone else will have to make it for me cuz I’m not really about that cooking life)
The build up to Reid and Carter’s kiss so was well done. I felt the author really shone with the pacing of everything. We get to see the escalation of their rivalry, the guilt Carter feels about tripping Reid and almost getting him eliminated, and all the while there’s the undercurrent of attraction between the two. But nothing felt rushed.
There’s so much bantery goodness in this one which, you all know banter is a thing i love.
I will admit Carter did piss me off after Reid was eliminated and he was understandably upset. She asks him if he let her win and whooo boy that set off some anger there. I felt that Carter was being unreasonable that he was sad he lost. Who wouldn’t be?! And as Reid rightfully said he can feel more than one thing at the same time. Disappointment at losing and happy for Carter making it to the finals. So Carter girl, not gonna lie i side eyed you there for a hot minute for that.
But i thoroughly enjoyed this! I won’t spoil who actually won the competition 😉 but this was a quick, fun read! And the ending was really cute ^_^