A Kirkus Best Book of 2019!
An Indies Introduce Selection for 2019!
An Indie Next Pick for Summer 2019!
"A delectable treat for food and literary connoisseurs alike." Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW
"What a wonderful, intriguing, and magical book. And wow, did it ever get my tastebuds going! Each time I picked it up, I felt the urge to head to my kitchen. . . . What I loved most was the smartness of it. It never once doubted its young readers." Kathi Appelt, Newbery Honor- and National Book Award-Nominated author
"Midsummer's Mayhem is an enchantment of a novel, bursting with magic, mystery, and mouth-watering baked goods. Readers who have their own baking-show dreams will be cheering for Mimi until the very last page." Kate Messner, award-winning author of Breakout, The Seventh Wish, and All the Answers
Can Mimi undo the mayhem caused by her baking in this contemporary-fantasy retelling of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream?
Eleven-year-old Mimi Mackson comes from a big Indian American family: Dad's a renowned food writer, Mom's a successful businesswoman, and her three older siblings all have their own respective accomplishments. It's easy to feel invisible in such an impressive family, but Mimi's dream of proving she's not the least-talented member of her family seems possible when she discovers a baking contest at the new bakery in town. Plus, it'll start her on the path to becoming a celebrity chef like her culinary idol, Puffy Fay.
But when Mimi's dad returns from a business trip, he's mysteriously lost his highly honed sense of taste. Without his help, Mimi will never be able to bake something impressive enough to propel her to gastronomic fame.
Drawn into the woods behind her house by a strangely familiar song, Mimi meets Vik, a boy who brings her to parts of the forest she's never seen. Who knew there were banyan trees and wild boars in Massachusetts? Together they discover exotic ingredients and bake them into delectable and enchanting treats.
But as her dad acts stranger every day, and her siblings' romantic entanglements cause trouble in their town, Mimi begins to wonder whether the ingredients she and Vik found are somehow the cause of it all. She needs to use her skills, deductive and epicurean, to uncover what's happened. In the process, she learns that in life as in baking, not everything is sweet. . . .
As the curtain raises on this reimagining of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Indian-American Mimi, 11, is reading her favorite cookbook when she hears a song drifting from the woods "like an irresistible aroma." Debut author LaRocca liberally uses food metaphors to underscore Mimi's passion for baking, which she shared with her sorely missed best friend who moved away. Hints of Shakespeare surface as Mimi's brother Henry spouts lines from the school production, in which he plays Puck, whose character traits are reflected in Vik, the mysterious pipe-playing boy who befriends Mimi in the forest. While she experiments with recipes in hopes of winning a celebrity-judged Midsummer's Eve baking contest and proving herself to her high-achieving parents and siblings, Mimi's family and neighbors start talking and acting out in puzzling, inexplicable ways after sampling her herb- and flower-based confections. Though this mayhem provides some humorous moments, repetition and overstatement impede the pace of the story, until LaRocca with Vik's help ties together its myriad threads in a satisfying finale. Enchantment reigns, yet the author's exploration of family, friendship, and self-esteem are firmly grounded in reality. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8 12.
I loved it!!!!
WRITE ANOTHER ONE!!!
My least favorite part of the book was the ending.
And then, I remembered.
What kind of ending is that?