Nora Henderson has been basting baby back ribs for as long as she could reach the counter of her dad's famous barbecue joint. When she's accepted to Taste Test, a teen reality cooking competition, Nora can't wait to leave her humble hometown behind. On set, run-ins with the maddeningly handsome and talented son of a famous chef, Christian Van Lorten, make Nora wonder if it's him or the win she really wants, but as she and Christian emerge as front-runners for the final prize, Nora can't ignore the mysterious accidents plaguing the kitchen arena. Someone is conducting eliminations of their own, and if Nora doesn't stop them, she could be next to get "chopped" for good.
Taste Test was a delicious (I'm sorry, I just couldn't help it.) read that I enjoyed (and almost died laughing over.)
The number one thing that hit me was definitely the writing style. Or, rather, the other things included. We got "interviews" with all our characters that I definitely enjoyed and giggled over. It let us see what front some of them were putting up and how they felt about what was going on! It was both hilarious and sort of sad sometimes. In the way that I want to be "LET ME LOVE YOU" to them. And then we got recipes. That I really want to try but would probably burn (even if it's not burnable.) I really love how Fiore included these little extras to make our reading experience way more enjoyable (and for all you actually decent cooks out there--can you pretty please make a few of them then send the food to me? I will love you forever, because some of these look absolutely scrumptious.)
The relationships between these characters also took center stage. Whether it was the absolutely amazing father-daughter dynamic Nora and her dad had, the unrequited love between her and Billy (BFF), or her hate/love (literally. Mainly hate?) with Christian, all of them were wonderfully written! Nora's weren't the only relationships that played a role though--Gigi (the new BFF) and her friendships and familial ties, Joy's little trysts, and Christian's own relationship with his dad were also ones that were pretty fleshed out! I do wish we spent a little more time on them though, rather than spending a majority of the book focusing on Christian and Nora's chemistry.
Of course, that doesn't mean I like it. Trust me, I was cheering these two on from the start! They were absolutely HILARIOUS by themselves, but together? I think I died of laughter several times. Their witty banter was filled with snarky remarks that had me crawling around on the floor clutching my stomach. Kelly Fiore definitely played on the phrase "There's a thin line between love and hate" because that was definitely true here! I never knew whether they were going to end up kissing or if it would end with Nora slapping him.
I did love the pacing, though I couldn't help but wish we focused more on the show in the first half. We glossed over several of the "incidents" and we only really read/experienced a few and it wasn't really the main focus. The culprit was also pretty predictable, though I really didn't expect the reason why! The ending, I loved though. (But can we get an epilogue? I DON'T WANT TO SAY GOODBYE.)
The characters were probably the thing I liked the least. Nora wasn't really written well and seemed a little flat and she seemed to judge harshly and quickly. She definitely wasn't my favorite character and I can't help but wish she was a little less...impulsive sometimes.
Christian, I loved, though he did seem excessively cruel at times. But his snark was absolutely HILARIOUS and I'm pretty sure I fell in love with him by the second time we met him. He was absolutely adorable and a fun character to read about!
Taste Test is a cute and fun read I'd definitely recommend to people looking for an laugh out loud book that brings out their Giggle Monster. A perfect read for anyone who needs a break from the paranormal and dystopian!
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Release Date: Aug 27, 2013
Rating: 3.5-->4 stars