From Adi Alsaid, the acclaimed author of Let’s Get Lost, Never Always Sometimes, and We Didn’t Ask for This
What do you do when you want to run away — but you end up finding yourself?
A dual citizen of Mexico and the United States, Carlos Portillo is happy to follow the well-worn path to a future of comfort and ease in Mexico City that’s been planned for him since birth. But when his older brother Felix—who defied their parents to live a life of adventure—is tragically killed, Carlos is determined to live out his own dreams for the both of them.
He escapes to San Juan Island off the coast of Washington state and gets a job with a celebrity chef he’s admired from afar for years. But while things are coming together for him in the kitchen, a forbidden romance with his boss’s daughter could end his career before it even begins. Finally living for himself, Carlos learns that reality doesn’t come with a road map to an easy life — but does finding your true path mean following your head? Or your heart?
“An exceptional tale of grief, ambition, love, and maturity.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review
A YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adult nominee
A Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year
A TAYSHAS Reading List Book
Mexico City native Carlos Portillo always looked up to his older brother, Felix, who shared his passion for food and did things his own way, rather than follow in their wealthy father's path. Now Felix is dead, but Carlos still feels his presence, urging him to leave home and follow his dreams, instead of doing a summer internship with his father then attending college in America. On a whim, Carlos runs away to Seattle and takes a job as a dishwasher at a renowned restaurant. Carlos is determined to prove his culinary skills to his boss, but trouble brews when he falls for the chef's daughter, Emma, and is told that if he dates her he'll be fired. In a story pitting ambition against love and deference against independence, Alsaid (Never Always Sometimes) strongly evokes the frenzied atmosphere of a restaurant kitchen and the equally turbulent emotions of a young man struggling to sort his priorities. Carlos's frequent visions of Felix add extra dimension, shedding light on the brothers' history and underscoring Carlos's underlying grief. An Alloy Entertainment property. Ages 14 up.