September 24, 2013

Taste Test - Kelly Fiore

Taste Test - Kelly Fiore
Taste Test by Kelly Fiore
Publisher: Walker Children's
Publication Date: August 27, 2013
Source/Format: NetGalley (Thanks Bloomsbury!) || e-galley
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the thoughts expressed in my review.]

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. (from Goodreads)

If you like reality shows, particularly cooking reality shows, Taste Test is absolutely the book for you. The novel clearly has lots of cooking in it, what with it revolving around a reality cooking competition for teens; there are recipes, and lots of kitchen references involved. However, that's not all this novel offers, as it brings to life the story of Nora Henderson, and what goes on in her world as she takes part in this crazy cooking contest.

Nora is such a fun character to read about, as she's Southern and sassy. Her determination to win the contest (and the scholarship prize) is admirable, but I loved how she was also able to make friends with some of her competition. She seems like she would be an awesome person to be friends with, particularly since she's willing to stand up for her friends and for what's right. Her prowess with cooking is made clear as the competition progresses, although she's neck and neck with her fiercest competition: Christian van Lorten.

Christian is such an enigma. Even though that's a fairly common trope in contemporary books, I still enjoyed trying to unravel the mystery of his personality. He has a legacy to live up to, which definitely puts a lot of pressure on him to cook well and win. But there's also a part of him that's just sweet, funny and adorable -- and that's the part that I found myself easily attracted to. The mysterious allure he has had me just as mixed up as Nora, who could barely tell when he was being real or just faking his feelings.

Apart from these two, their competition and their budding romance, there was also the mystery of who was trying to sabotage the show via its contestants. The turn of events was really a little too much, as the stunts were dangerous and downright scary. But I didn't end up predicting who the mastermind of all the sabotage was until it was revealed, which I think is pretty remarkable.

If you're a reality TV show junkie like me, or love cooking, then look no further than Taste Test for a contemporary you just might enjoy. While it certainly primarily focuses on the cooking competition, it weaves in the story of Nora and her relationships with the other contestants, as well as a mystery that I didn't figure out at all. It's a fun, fast-paced read, and perfect to devour on an afternoon off!


  1. This book isn't really my thing, but I'm going to write it down for my sister. She loves cooking and TV shows about cooking :D Thanks for the recommendation, I bet she's going to love it if she takes the time to read :p


  2. I'm a series reality cooking show junkie, so this is probably the most perfect book for me ever. :P It looks like it has all the great parts of contemporary thrown in with a ton of cooking, so I'm hoping I'll enjoy this one as much as you did!

  3. LOVED this book! And now that they're starting Masterchef Junior... :-)

  4. kiddo would totally love this. Sounds cute & fun.

  5. I was pretty disappointed in the characters for this one. The concept is so much fun and yet I found them super annoying.


Thanks for leaving a comment! I love seeing what you have to say, and will try to reply (here or on Twitter) as soon as I can :)