Sep 14, 2013

Review: Taste Test

Taste Test
Taste Test
Author: Kelly Fiore
Release Date: August 27, 2013
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover, bought

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If you can grill it, smoke it, or fry it, Nora Henderson knows all about it. She’s been basting baby back ribs and pulling pork at her father’s barbeque joint since she was tall enough to reach the counter. When she’s accepted to Taste Test, a reality-television teen cooking competition, Nora can’t wait to leave her humble hometown behind, even if it means saying good-bye to her dad and her best friend, Billy. Once she’s on set, run-ins with her high-society roommate and the maddeningly handsome—not to mention talented—son of a famous chef, Christian Van Lorten, mean Nora must work even harder to prove herself. But as mysterious accidents plague the kitchen arena, protecting her heart from one annoyingly charming fellow contestant in particular becomes the least of her concerns. Someone is conducting real-life eliminations, and if Nora doesn’t figure out who, she could be next to get chopped for good.

My Review:

Nora is a small town girl from Virginia. She works in her dad's restaurant that sells the best barbeque around. When she isn't working she is fantasizing about cooking school or spending time with her best friend, Billy. When Billy tells her that she should send in an application to Taste Test, a cooking show competition for a full ride to a cooking school in France, the last thing Nora thinks is that she will get accepted. Nora is then spun into a crazy life against 20 different competitors for the top spot. She never expects to do good in the competition, let alone get some enemies as well as close friends while she is there.

Nora is a loveable character. I sometimes wanted to tell her to not be so thick headed, but I know I can't blame her. If I was in the same situations as her, I wouldn't be very trusting either. Christian comes off as a manwhore with no feelings for anyone but himself. He just radiates arrogance, but as you learn more about him, you learn to love him and actually cheer for him as well as cheer for Nora.

There are some other characters, like Prescott and Joy, that you hate the whole time. You can't begin to like them at all, and the more the story goes on, the more you hate them, but that is the whole purpose I believe.

The majority of the book is set in Connecticut, where the show is being filmed. You spend a great deal within the arenas themselves, as well as Nora's dorm room.

I LOVE watching the Food Network, I don't have cable anymore, but I still watch Chopped on Hulu as well as my cooking shows I have on DVD. I have watched a few seasons of The Next Iron Chef  as well. So this book was right up my alley. It reminded me of the two shows put together, with a romance and suspense twist put in.

I kept picturing the arenas in my shows and then the characters put within it. It was very easy for me to relate and keep up with the things that are being cooked because I have either eaten or cooked a lot of the dishes in the book, some not quite as fancy though.

There is a twist throughout the whole book because the arena is being sabotaged. You spend the whole book trying to figure out who is doing it and why. I will have to admit I never expected it to be who it was, even with so many hints. I stayed pretty confused through most of it trying to come to a conclusion to it all.

Fiore does a wonderful job with the writing and keeping you intrigued. I love how she balanced the romance, the competitiveness, the mystery, and the friendships so well. It was so easy to flow through the pages without realizing how fast you were able to fly through it. You wanted to continue through the pages even after it was all over.

I don't want to go through the romance part of it too much because I want you to find out for yourselves, but I really do feel  like it is a true romance that blossoms that is very realistic. I loved following it and trying to figure it out how it would turn out in the end.

She ended it in a way that you get to make up the ending for yourself. You know who ends up with who, but you get to decide how serious it gets after that. I usually hate ending that way, but she does it in a way that I actually enjoyed it. I got to play the ending in my head and smile.

This book is seriously wonderful. It was such a nice easy read with so much going on. I wish I could read it over and over, but sadly I know I need to give it a break, and come back to devour it again soon. It very much deserves 5 stars, and I know anyone with or without a cooking background will love this book just as much as I did.

Couldn't Put it Down!!


  1. I really liked this debut from Kelly Fiore, it was just a refreshing read. I'm glad you liked it too :)

    Aly @ My Heart Hearts Books

  2. This book sounds very different from any YA book I've heard about in a while. Most of them are about something super natural or involve love triangles. On another note this book sounds absolutely great! I actually wanted to go to school for Culinary Arts... but decided against it. I love to bake and cook... and to watch Food Network. Thank you for your review, I'm definitely adding this to my list of books to buy and devour soon!

    Kayla @ K.G. INC


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