Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet Summary and Reviews

Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet

by Laekan Zea Kemp

Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by Laekan Zea Kemp X
Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet by Laekan Zea Kemp
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Book Summary

I'm Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter meets Emergency Contact in this stunning story of first love, familial expectations, the power of food, and finding where you belong.

Penelope Prado has always dreamed of opening her own pastelería next to her father's restaurant, Nacho's Tacos. But her mom and dad have different plans—leaving Pen to choose between disappointing her traditional Mexican American parents or following her own path. When she confesses a secret she's been keeping, her world is sent into a tailspin. But then she meets a cute new hire at Nacho's who sees through her hard exterior and asks the questions she's been too afraid to ask herself.

Xander Amaro has been searching for home since he was a little boy. For him, a job at Nacho's is an opportunity for just that—a chance at a normal life, to settle in at his abuelo's, and to find the father who left him behind. But when both the restaurant and Xander's immigrant status are threatened, he will do whatever it takes to protect his newfound family and himself.

Together, Pen and Xander must navigate first love and discovering where they belong in order to save the place they all call home.

This stunning and poignant novel from debut author Laekan Zea Kemp explores identity, found families and the power of food, all nestled within a courageous and intensely loyal Chicanx community.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Kemp's novel serves up finely rendered, stirring character arcs for both, as well as an intimate portrait of two teens grappling with mental health, complicated family relationships, and newfound love. Much like Elizabeth Acevedo's With the Fire on High, Kemp has created a truly special combination of deliciously described food, expressive prose, and dreamy romance." - Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"Fans of Elizabeth Acevedo's With the Fire on High (2019) will cherish Xander and Pen's love story and Pen's passion for food. This stellar debut offers a cathartic take on a relationship between a father and daughter. Authentic flavor inside and out." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Secondary characters are well developed and the plot is a balance of tension, humor, romance, and fear. Lush imagery celebrates Mexican culture and depicts how food can bring people together. This #OwnVoices YA contemporary debut is not to be missed; recommended for most collections." - School Library Journal

"Students will enjoy the food descriptions and community culture that lend the story a sense of authenticity and believability." - School Library Connection

"Wonderfully realized characters, a vibrant setting, and so much more. I loved this." - Melina Marchetta, award-winning author of Jellicoe Road

"Like the delicious food and decadent desserts described within its pages, Kemp's debut explores the often bitter and sweet complexity of family, new love, and what it means to find home." - Mia García, author of The Resolutions

This information about Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

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Author Information

Laekan Zea Kemp

Laekan Zea Kemp is a writer living in Austin, Texas. She has three objectives when it comes to storytelling: to make people laugh, cry, and crave Mexican food. Her work celebrates Chicanx grit, resilience, creativity, and joy while exploring themes of identity and mental health. Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet is her debut YA contemporary novel.

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