Title: THE ART OF FRENCH KISSING
Author: Brianna R. Shrum
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
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.
Thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for the eARC in exchange of an honest review.
I picked up this book because… FOOD! No spoiler there. And it didn’t fail to live up to the promise. The food and cooking scenes were excellently written in depth, vividly described and they were literally mouth-watering.
The book follows Carter Lane, a seventeen-year-old high school junior who flies off to Savannah to spend the summer in a cooking competition for scholarships. When she meets Reid, the two teens are set on destroying each other but when they’re paired for a few challenges, they must learn to cooperate with each other. Or possibly, definitely more.
First of all, can we talk about how freaking ADORABLE the cover is? I remember seeing it a few months back when it revealed and swooning over it for hours. And I’m not giving any spoilers, but you’ll know how important those macrons are and… damn, I wanted to devour them all but Carter and Riya ate them and all I could do was read about it.
Now to the actual review. I didn’t understand the entire Carter-Reid thing. Like, how could you be so into someone who basically is on your nerve all the time? I’m probably not the best person to understand the hate-to-love trope so I’m gonna leave the romance to the other reviewers.
Let me just talk about the food. There were so many mentions and description of the cooking and even of the taste. Man, it felt like watching Food Network. I think I may have learned a recipe or two and I want to try them right now. The kitchen setting was so realistic as well. The heat, the competition, and the rivalry between Carter and Reid (although repetitive) was very engaging.
As for Carter’s character, I loved her. She has purple hair, loves cooking (and BMX!), doesn’t second-guess or sugarcoat her attitude. All of which makes her a realistic character, just a teen navigating through a competition she *has* to win. She started out as a strong well-developed character, but as the story progressed, her character fell rather flat. The story ended with the same girl it started with, and she could have used some character development.
Reid on the other hand, was full of surprises. I loved how he went from douchey to total sweetheart. There was so much more to him than someone to set on winning and destroying Carter that he ended up being a much more interesting character than Carter.
And I didn’t understand how exactly Andrew went from strongly-opinionated to bigot in the last few pages. He is not nice, but was bigotry needed to show that?
The writing style was great. It established a strong voice that makes the story realistic and relatable. The awkwardness of being seventeen and falling in love was amazingly captured in the book.
Overall, it’s an equally hilarious and awkward but swoon-worthy read that will make you fall in love with the book, the food, and the adorably insufferable person you think you hate.