A la Carte* by Tanita Davis - This started off as a pretty good novel and finished very very strong, turning my like into love. 17 yr old Elaine (Lainey) lives in the Bay Area with her mother who is co owner of La Salle Rouge restaurant. Lainey is pretty good in the kitchen as well and dreams of having her own vegetarian cooking show. A la Carte is about much more then a girl who wants to be a chef. Its also about a teenage girl who falls for the wrong guy. Lainey has known Sim since grade school. The two used to be very close friends when high school started Sim no longer had time for Lainey.
As soon as the author introduced Sim I didn't like him because Lainey seemed like a nice girl who deserved a good guy. Not a guy who strings her along or only comes by when he needs something, making empty promises. But the author tricked me into thinking maybe Sim wasn't so bad after all, when he went crying to Lainey about needing to runaway because his parents didn't understand him.
I just wanted to say goodbye. I'm not coming back. I finally figured it out, my parents are crazy and its them that's making my life such crap. I can't live like this so I'm not going to. It's not like they don't want me to go
As I read this chapter of Sim leaving I was thinking ohh he isn't that bad just misunderstood. Even when he asked to borrow 500 dollars from Lainey I was still blind. Though I hate to be tricked it makes it easier to see how Lainey could fall for a guy like Sim. Cooking comforts Lainey, throughout the novel she cooks various recipes. Lainey's cooking doesn't stop the flow of the novel, only slows the pace so Lainey can catch her breath again. Lainey's vegetarian recipes are included in the book. Lainey's mom was great, not allowing Lainey to stop living her life for a guy. It was a long slow process for Lainey to rethink her relationship with Sim and how much she is willing to take or do for a guy making this story very believeable.
Sim comes back
I've thought about you alot, Laine. Not enough to call though huh? I smile back, almost sad that I know it's so true. Sim laughs shortly. Man, Laine you're brutal. Okay so I screwed up. His finger traces my lower lip. I'll make it up to you. Come see me this summer? Now he asks when all I have ever wanted was for him to want me with him, to need be to be around , to take notice of what I do . Now it's not what I want anymore. I'm not a girl who's meant to be a side dish. I won't stand around and wait for some boy while he chooses me. I can choose me too.
I am pretty sure my like turned into love right around here. I highly recommend A la Carte. If you know a girl who is stuck on the wrong guy, or maybe you want them to avoid the wrong guy give them this book. If you know a girl who likes to cook, is a vegetarian or enjoys cooking shows give them this book. A la Carte is appropriate for preteens.
Read an excerpt
* I reviewed A La Carte when it first came out in 2008. Decided to run it again because the cover of the paperback is gorgeous and I couldn't resist.