Jouhanneau, Anne-Sophie. French Kissing in New York. Delacorte, 2023. 336 pp.ISBN 978-0593173619. $12.99
When Parisian Margot and American Zach and meet at a high school culinary program in France, they fall fast, enjoy exploring Paris together, agree long distance relationships are recipes for disaster and pledge to meet again in a year in New York a very specific location in Times Square. Fast forward a year; Margot has gone to NY to stay with her dad for a bit, and anticipates a restaurant job that doesn’t involve using her chef mother’s clout, but lands at Nutrio. They call her desparate for help while she is still jet-lags, she accomodates and shows up in time for family meal… only to get trained on the commercial dishwasher in spite of her culinary chops. To add insult to injury, she gets out of work late, and gets turned around on the subway. Zach either misses the connection–or just didn’t care enough to show up.
When Margot shares the details of the relationship and failed meeting with line cook Ben, he offers to help her track down the guy. He is also a wonderful support when Margot is bullied at work. Every time she is on the verge of giving up on Zach, and beginning to consider that maybe Ben might be more than just a friend, the trail heats up with some new sighting or detail, and she’s back to Zach.
This a unique coming of age tale about identity, geography, and connections, with a strong setting and predictable ending. The food details are great–there’s a funny moment where Luz tells Margot that cinnamon is the national spice and we put it on everything, and much to Margot’s horror, goes on to explain the pumpkin spice phenomenon and the concept of seasonal coffee. The touristy descriptions of the people along the Highline and the shops in the West Village, even the rats, are fresh through Margot’s eyes.
I received a free advance reader’s review copy of #FrenchKissingInNewYork from #NetGalley.