I am constantly wishing for more Pride and Prejudice retellings so I was excited to hear of A Taste for Love! Jennifer Yen takes a beloved story and adds fresh elements to it that make it feel completely new.
From the Blurb:
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.
Reading A Taste for Love is like cutting into a tiered cake. I absolutely loved how many different layers this story held.
Being the daughter of immigrants, Liza Yang is a Taiwanese-American who dutifully does what her parents ask of her. Whether it’s helping out at their bakery and restaurant or going on the many blind dates her mother sets up for her.
Liza’s life almost seems to good to be true outside of having a know-it-all mother. She has the perfect boyfriend, good grades, and a loyal best friend. Things quickly take a turn when Liza finds out that her not so perfect boyfriend is cheating on her, though. Cue all the drama that follows!
Deciding not to dwell on a boy not worthy of her time her thoughts drift more towards what her future holds. Her parents want her to attend a university and become an engineer. But spending almost all of her time at her mother’s bakery has led to Liza’s own passion for baking sweet treats growing. She’s even invented some of the most popular items on their menu!
I loved Liza’s drive to make her dream a reality despite knowing that her parents would never approve of it. She wants to please them but also knows she needs to follow her heart. Witnessing her growth throughout the book was relatable and encouraging. I think a lot of young readers, specifically Asian-Americans, will relate to how Liza feels throughout the book.
Of course, there’s more to A Taste for Love than just Liza’s relationship with her parents. When the unpleasant and shy James Wong appears, readers will immediately see the similarities of Pride and Prejudice in the romance. Their interactions are very sweet. Fans of a good hate-to-love romance will be happy with this one!
There is a lot packed into this book especially with the baking competition, where Liza’s mother will take setting her up on a blind date to the next level. It was surprisingly one of my favorite parts of the book! There’s a lot of growth for all of the characters. Plus, the food descriptions are exceptional and will leave you hungry after reading.
Overall, A Taste for Love was a sweet coming-of-age story. Liza truly owns this book and seeing her step into her true self while holding the traditions of her family close makes her a heroine to root for. Jennifer Yen is definitely an author to look out for! I enjoyed the way she told a lighthearted story with complex characters. If you need the perfect read for a gloomy weekend then A Taste for Love is sure to brighten your day.