Smoke Signals BBQ isn’t exactly haute cuisine, but it’s where Nora Henderson has discovered her love of cooking. Her best friend, Billy, talks her into auditioning for her favorite television show, Taste Test, because the teenage winner ends up $50,000 richer and with a scholarship to Paris to study at the International School of Cuisine. Nora doesn’t care much for being on TV, but that scholarship could be her ticket to the career of her dreams. Though it makes her a bit apprehensive to leave her single father and Smoke Signals behind, she knows she has to try.
Nora is accepted and so excited about meeting other teens who love to cook as much as she does. Though she knows there will be a sprinkling of children of famous chefs or wealthy restaurateurs’ progeny, she didn’t expect to have to room with one. Or to loathe the other. Or get tingly around him. No, no…loathe. Definitely. Most of the contestants are friendly and serious about being there, and even though Christian Van Lorton, son of bad boy chef Tony Tornado, keeps trying to get under Nora’s skin, she knows it’s all for the cameras.
As the participants take classes, plan for their challenges and have personal interviews, Nora notices that her roommate, Joy, a privileged socialite, seems to be getting a little extra “help” from one of the judges. But when a series of increasingly deadly accidents starts to happen on set, Nora doesn’t know who to trust. And her love/hate relationship with Christian leads her to believe that anything’s possible.
Considering the current obsession with reality shows, this is a fun and up-to-date tale. Though the characters could be a little more developed, and the romantic relationship not so telegraphed, the rest of the story line rounds out this story nicely.
Taste Test by Kelly Fiore was published August 27, 2013 by Walker Childrens. A free copy of this book was given to Ink and Page in return for an honest review. Big thanks to the Publisher, the Author and NetGalley.
Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Mystery Romance
Ages: 12 and up