A Taste for Love by Jennifer Yen

A Taste for Love Book Cover A Taste for Love
Jeniifer Yen
Teen, Young Adult, Romantic Comedy
Razorbill
February 2, 2021
Kindle, Hardback, Paperback, Audiobook
336

To her friends, high school senior Liza Yang is nearly perfect. Smart, kind, and pretty, she dreams big and never shies away from a challenge. But to her mom, Liza is anything but. Compared to her older sister Jeannie, Liza is stubborn, rebellious, and worst of all, determined to push back against all of Mrs. Yang's traditional values, especially when it comes to dating.

The one thing mother and daughter do agree on is their love of baking. Mrs. Yang is the owner of Houston's popular Yin & Yang Bakery. With college just around the corner, Liza agrees to help out at the bakery's annual junior competition to prove to her mom that she's more than her rebellious tendencies once and for all. But when Liza arrives on the first day of the bake-off, she realizes there's a catch: all of the contestants are young Asian American men her mother has handpicked for Liza to date.

The bachelorette situation Liza has found herself in is made even worse when she happens to be grudgingly attracted to one of the contestants; the stoic, impenetrable, annoyingly hot James Wong. As she battles against her feelings for James, and for her mother's approval, Liza begins to realize there's no tried and true recipe for love.

The perfect combination of sweet and salty…

A Taste for Love by Jennifer Yen is a wonderfully lite, confectionary tale that is the perfect pick-me-up for any day.  Liza Yang is graduating high school and coming of age under the rigid direction of her Taiwanese mother who is determined to see Liza with a practical college degree and suitable boyfriend. In other words, an Asian American from the right family who checks all the right boxes; even if those are not the boxes Liza would check.  Liza tries to walk the fine line between pleasing her parents and spreading her wings in hopes her parents will see that her true passion is found in the kitchen with her hands buried in dough.  When Liza’s mother surreptitiously uses the Annual Ying and Yang Baking Contest as a Bachelorette style competition, the tension between mother and daughter reaches a new level.  However, the heat really increases after James Wong, the hot but hard to read new guy in town, is announced as a contestant.

Jennifer Yen puts her own personal twist on the boy meets girl storyline by using an Asian American perspective.  Her flawlessly created and plated storyline reveals that attraction, love, and the desire for self-determination are universal even though there might be cultural variations as to how they play out.  I genuinely liked Liza and enjoyed her point of view as the connection to James starts to bubble and the tension with her well-meaning yet hyper-controlling mother comes to a boil.  The icing on the cake, however, is the highly reputable, scholarship baking contest for high school students the family puts on annually. Liza’s mother is so obsessed with the “right” Asian boy, she covertly turns the contest into a Bachelorette competition, with some of the contestants painfully inept in a kitchen.  Simply put, A Taste for Love is a really fun read.

Jennifer Yen has concocted a beautifully balanced story that is one part RomCom and another part coming of age under strict Asian parents. This combination, garnished with mouth-watering Asian dishes, Boba tea, and a twist of intrigue, is the perfect recipe for a delicious and satisfying read.  It is sweet without being sappy, funny without being forced, and a book that should be on your TBR list for your next day at the park or beach.

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