Carvalho, Rachel. Salt and Sugar. Inkyard Press, 2022. ISBN 978-1335454331 368 pp. $18.99
This young adult novel is Brazilian culinary take on the Romeo and Juliet theme of star-crossed lovers. Larissa Ramires and Pedro Molina are sworn enemies, locked in a generational feud. Once their families were friends, but a decades-long rivalry has led to competing bakeries, one focused on savory, the other on sweet, across the street from one another. Pedro is already an accomplished baker, but wants to modernize some of the recipes, while Lari’s mother is insistent she focus on being the first in the family to go to college and pursue an economics degree–and won’t teach her any recipes or let her set foot in the kitchen.
Pedro and Lari recognize they have a common enemy in a big-box grocery store out to acquire one or both restaurants and agree to work together to fight it; Lari joins Pedro’s cooking club, which provides a lot of free food to community organizations. The forced proximity and united efforts results in feelings, romance, and ultimately, resolution.
This book made me SO hungry. I didn’t know what all the traditional dishes were and enjoying looking them up. The strong sense of community and duty to family helped drive the plot–this wasn’t just a simple enemies to lovers romance. Lari and Pedro were very real, and dialogue and details rang true. While I loved the story, I did find some of the writing repetitive; the editing could have been a little tighter.
I received an advance reader’s review copy of #SaltAndSugar from #NetGalley.