This review first appeared on YA Books Central and is reproduced below with permission. To see the original post, click here.
I received this book via the publisher, Running Press Kids. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Where There's a Whisk by Sarah J. Schmitt
Published by Running Press Kids on 2021-10-12
Length: 401 pages
Reviewing ARC Rating:
Reading Challenges: 2022 Beat the Backlist, COYER 2022
Life is what you bake it.
Peyton Sinclaire wants nothing more than to escape her life as a diner waitress in her small, North Florida town and attend culinary school. Top Teen Chef, Food TV's new show that pairs reality TV drama with a fast-paced culinary competition, is her ticket out of her boring future. It's a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make her dreams come true and Peyton is determined to prove to herself, and the world, that where you're born does not determine where you can go. However, once on the show, Peyton quickly discovers that there is more to the competition than just a well-seasoned dish.
As things start to heat up on and off the set, Peyton will have to prove to the judges that she deserves to win while trying to untangle what is real and what is scripted drama, and decide what she is willing to risk to win before her dreams end up on the chopping block.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book! Where There’s a Whisk by Sarah J. Schmitt follows Peyton, a recent high school graduate, as she competes on Top Teen Chef for a chance to win a full paid scholarship to one of the four top culinary schools. This YA contemporary has something for everyone: drama, lots of laughs, a hint of romance, and the excitement of competition.
What I Loved:
Peyton Sinclaire is a relatable character that is easy to cheer on from the first page. I liked seeing her grow as the show progressed. Her willingness to learn from the judges and the other competitors showed that she truly loves and is passionate about being a chef, or in her case a baker. She can be a bit naive at times, especially in how she trusts the other teens on the show, but this is believable in someone who has never been in that particular situation. I admired how she saw the best in all of the competitors, even those that were not the nicest.
I absolutely love that the entire book is set during the show. It opens with Peyton’s first day on set and closes with the finale. It made for an interesting read as we get a glimpse into each aspect of the competition and experience it all through Peyton. The author gives us a behind the scenes tour as we see how Peyton and her other competitors are viewed, the things they do just for the show versus what is real. It was easy to empathize with Peyton as she experienced the harsh reality of learning to decipher the real from the acting.
What Left Me Wanting More:
I struggled in the beginning of the book to keep all the characters straight. There are several competitors, and as everything is told from Peyton’s perspective, it was hard to remember who was who. Once the elimination began, it was easier to differentiate them. They became more fleshed out. I wouldn’t say I was invested in any character aside from Peyton.
The love interest was hard to believe. There was very little building of a relationship between Peyton and the character. I didn’t have any emotions or attachment to him and honestly was surprised to see that Peyton liked him back.
Overall I really enjoyed Where There’s a Whisk. I loved the setting of the competition as it was a driving force of the plot. I also loved Peyton and rooted for her from page one. I would’ve liked to see more fleshed out characters from those that were competing against her as they played a large role in shaping her. Regardless, I enjoyed it. If you enjoy reality TV, drama, and a touch of romance, I highly recommend it.