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YA Book Reviews by Amy


YA Book Reviews by Amy: A Way to my Heart: FOOD!

I love food and I love reading, so I enjoy reading about food. I do have to ask: Why are there so many food trucks in YA? And why do they always make me so hungry? I guess that’s good writing!

Here are some YA books that feature food as a plotline, whether its our main character’s job, dream, or just searching for the best bite.

With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo

For Emoni life is like a recipe:

1 cup of responsibility taking care of her abuela and her daughter

2 teaspoons of passion for cooking, which she is now in a culinary class in high school.

1 heaping worry for raising money to go to Spain.

With a pinch of magic!

I loved that this book had actual recipes between sections of this book, and Emoni’s passion for cooking was felt so strongly though the pages. Elizabeth Acevedo writes beautifully and since I listened to the audiobook, I really enjoyed the performance.

Available on Overdrive, Hoopla, and at the library* for checkout.

Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Elle is obsessed with Starfield, a popular sci-fi series that she grew up with memories of her family. When she receives an invitation to Excelsicon Cosplay Ball, she wants to attend and win the cosplay contest, but her stepsisters might get in the way. Darien is slated to play one of the main characters in the reboot of Starfield. He is tired of the attention and the crazed fans. When Elle and Darien connect through the screen of their phones, could it be true love? Will they find their “happily-ever-afters”?

This retelling of Cinderella is a lot of fun with the fandom aspect of the story. The food truck being the pumpkin carriage was super fun connection to the original fairytale. This is a cute contemporary romance that many readers can connect to!

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Heartless is told through the evil Queen of Hearts of Wonderland- Catherine. This is the origin story of how she became the insane and deadly Queen of Wonderland, but she was not always that way. Catherine is the favorite of the King of Hearts’ affection, but all Catherine would like is to fall in love and own her own bakery. She falls for Jest, the courts’ jester, but her mother has other plans for her daughter. This tragic story leads readers into caring and understanding this otherwise evil character. Fans of Meyer’s Lunar Chronicle series would enjoy this classic retelling.

Heartless is a fantastic stand-alone book that pulls from the original classic and fits seamlessly into the mythology of Wonderland. Marissa Meyer writes tantalizing descriptions about Catherine’s food that make me hungry.

Available as an eAudiobook on Overdrive and Hoopla, and at the library* for checkout.

Pumpkinheads by Rainbow Rowell and Faith Erin Hicks

It is the last day of work for Josiah and Deja and they will not be returning next year since they will both be in college. They work in an autumn themed pumpkin patch. Josiah is a starred employee that loves his job, while Deja wants to enjoy their last day together. Deja is on a quest of eating the best food and helping Josiah find his crush for him to finally ask her out. Throughout the night they neglect their work and go on a journey together.

Rainbow Rowell is a fantastic writer that is able to capture the magic of the teenage years. Faith Erin Hick’s art is charming and beautiful and matches the style of Rowell’s writing. This is just a sweet graphic novel about friendship. Deja’s quest for food is a hilarious subplot!

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian

Told during current day with journal entries from 1944, Amelia works at the local summer ice cream stand. Amelia is ready to be head girl and leader of the stand; it will be the best summer ever, until owner and secret recipe creator, Molly, dies. Now there is only so many barrels of ice cream and it is up to Amelia and Grady, Molly’s grandson, to find the recipe or create a new one if they want to keep the business afloat.

I love ice cream and I wanted to taste this special, super-secret recipe so badly! I did get frustrated by the friendships in this book, but it felt realistic. A fun summer read.

Available as an eAudiobook on Hoopla and at the library* for checkout.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Lara Jean loves to express her feelings of love of her crushes through super private-never-to-be -sent letters. The last letter she wrote was to her current crush, Josh, that also happens to be her sister’s boyfriend. When the letters are accidently sent out to the five guys she wrote about over the last few years, she must save face. Lara Jean pretends to date, Peter K., another letter recipient who has his own motive. How will Josh react to receiving his letter after Lara Jean’s sister just broke up with him? And will the fake dating with Peter K. lead to real feelings?

This book does live up to all the hype for me. Lara Jean is such a likable character that I could relate to when I was a teen: she is super sweet, but also naïve. Lara Jean has a passion for baking that makes her even sweeter! The plot is cheesy, but also is suspenseful. I would recommend this book for anyone that enjoys reading contemporary romance.

Available as an eAudiobook on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.

The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo

Clara has never really been serious—she loves pranks and never had to pay the consequences until now: When Clara takes a prank too far, she must make up for it by working at her father’s Korean-Brazilian fusion food truck. She must work alongside her uptight classmate, Rose. They have gotten along or seen eye-to-eye. Can both girls put aside their differences and make Clara’s father’s business a success? And will that mean that Clara has to grow up and become more responsible?

Another book about a family owned food truck! This was a really fun contemporary that had romance, but also focused on the begrudging relationship growing between Clara and Rose. Plus, the food sounded so delicious!

Available at the library* for checkout.

The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg

Jordan is trying to keep his family afloat by helping his mother run a food truck which is out for the first time since the death of Jordan’s father. Business is not going well, especially when neither Jordan or his mother know how to properly run the food truck, but when classmate, Max, offers to help cook and serve this could be life changing for Jordan. Jordan and Max become friends and both boys might see something more, but they must learn about themselves and like who they are before starting a relationship.

This was a nice fast read. The relationship between all the characters is the highlight of this story. I really cared about what happened to Jordan and Max. Bill Konigsberg writes descriptively and I can feel a hot summer day in a food truck would feel like! A good summer read.

Available on Overdrive and Hoopla, and at the library* for checkout.

Even more YA books I want to read because it is about food:

A Ph̉ơ Love Story by Loan Le

Available on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.


Hotdog Girl by Jennifer Dugan

Available as an eAudiobook on Overdrive and at the library* for checkout.


Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Available as an eBook on Overdrive, an eAudiobook on Hoopla, and at the library* for checkout.




*check the link for available copies or to place on hold



Hello everyone! I’m Amy and I am a Youth Services Librarian at the Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County. When I’m not trying to reach my reading goal for the year, I like to talk about what I’m reading to my family, friends, and coworkers. You could say I am a little obsessed with reading Young Adult books. I enjoy most genres, but my favorites include: Westerns, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Fantasy, and Mystery. I am always looking for the next great book that makes me connect to its characters and hits me in the feels.