ISBN-13: 9780385901789
Publisher: Random House
Published: July 2009
240 pgs

Seventeen-year-old Stella Madison is the daughter of a famous chef and a restaurateur. She does not know much about cooking and it always intrigue her when she sometimes sees her father making a fuss on getting a dish prepared, in which he would reply that cooking is a form of art and it should be taken seriously.

Unlike Stella's father, Stella's mother is not much of a cook but she helps to ensure the restaurant is running and also to keep tabs on the financials even though they are separated. However, they still maintain an amicable relationship and sometimes this makes Stella wonder about them. But that is not all to it, Stella has a devoted boyfriend and he has said the big L-word to her. Stella knew she should be thrilled over Max's confession, after all he is adorable and she gets along well with his family, but she is not so sure about committing herself since she has other things on her mind: her parents' separation and the summer internship at the local newspaper. To make things more complex, she is attracted to Jeremy, a new intern who works in the restaurant and she is seeing him more than Max, not that she could help it considering she has to write articles on food and she needs his opinions since he knew much more than her.

So how does Stella cope with all these issues thrown in her way? Though she struggles to find a balance (or a solution, depending on how one views it), it is through this stage that she began to understand more about her life as it helps her to appreciate her family and understand the true meaning of friendship through the things that happened to her.

The Sweet Life of Stella Madison is a fun, entertaining story about family, friendship and food. I love reading a story surrounding food and this is one reason why I picked up this book, besides the pretty cover that is. I think most teenagers would be able to understand and feel for Stella, after all life is not a bed of roses and sometimes, we have to make a choice and accept it no matter how much we like it or loathe it. In the beginning, I was not sure if I like Stella because she seems unpredictable to me; she gave me the impression she does not know what she wants in life and she is wishy-washy of her feelings towards her boyfriend. But as I read further, it made me think that most of us have gone through those stages before, but with different situations and scenarios, that is all.

One of the things I loved is each chapter begins with a list of food (just like the way you view at a menu that starts with appetizer, main course, dessert etc) and speaking of food, it reminds me of The School of Essential Ingredients which is one of my favourite reads this year. It is a sheer delight reading these books as you wonder about the food mentioned.

So, have you read a book that is centered on food? Do share with me!

Other review:
Books By Their Cover
(Let me know if I missed yours.)

15 Responses
  1. Veens Says:

    This sounds great. I read Like Water for Chocolate that was surrounded around food and there was a little bit of Magic Realism... I loved that one !

  2. Sandy Nawrot Says:

    The School of Essential Ingredients was one of my favorite reads this year. By looking at the cover of this book, though, I would have classified it as a totally different book. This one comes across as very fluffy, unlike School. Guess mom was right about judging books by their covers!

  3. Beth F Says:

    A book centered on food? Yikes, where to begin? Have you read Heat? Cod? Salt? or books by Elizabeth David, M.F.K. Fisher, Ruth Riechl?

  4. Ceri Says:

    Ooh, it made me hungry just reading that review haha. I've yet to read a book centred on food (usually I read non-fiction books about the food industry and it puts me off eating altogether) though I do have Chocolat on my TBR and, if the film's anything to go by, I better stock up on the Cadbury's. ;-)

  5. Wanda Says:

    My niece just started a two year course in the culinary arts, bet she'd love this book! Thanks for the great review. :)

  6. Violet Says:

    I've read Like Water for Chocolate, loved it. There is something very attractive about books and food together, isn't it?

    I recently bought a food memoir, no idea how it is, but it does look very good.

    This book looks good and the cover is so cute.

  7. I wonder why Stella's insecurities and apprehensiveness don't make her a fuller character from the start... that seems like it might be bothersome.

  8. The Bookworm Says:

    This does sound good, great review ;O)
    Have you read Chocolat?

  9. Iliana Says:

    Like Water for Chocolate is an excellent story. Have you read that one?

    This story sounds really cute. I think I have to read it too as my dad was a chef and I'd probably be able to relate on that point at least :)

  10. Melody Says:

    Veens - I'm going to look out for that book! Thanks for your recommendation! :)

    Sandy - No other books (on food, that is) could compete with The School of Essential Ingredients IMO, at least not yet! :P

    Beth - No, I haven't read any by those authors, but you bet I'm going to check them out!

    Ceri - I suppose the reading experience would be different between a fiction and a non-fiction. I'd go for fiction anytime! ;)

    Wanda - That's great! I hope your niece will enjoy this book when she get to it!

    Violet - You can't go wrong with books and food, hehe.

    Anonymous Child - I wonder about that too.

    Naida - No, I haven't read Chocolat but I will keep a look out for this book. Thanks! :)

    Iliana - I keep hearing good things about that book, so you bet I'm going to look out for that book the next time I visit the bookstore! ;) Oh, I didn't know your dad was a chef! It's great having a family member as a chef so you can be assured you always have good food all the time! :P

  11. Andreea Says:

    Hmm, I haven't read any books centered on food, but this one sounds lovely. Great review, Melody!

  12. Ladytink_534 Says:

    Besides culinary cozy mysteries the only books I can think of that are centered around food are Chocolat by Joanne Harris and Deep Dish by Mary Kay Andrews. I know I've read more but those are the only two great ones that immediately come to mind.

  13. Melody Says:

    Andreea - Thanks, Andreea! This is a fun read!

    Jen - I've not read any of the books by those authors, but you bet I'd check them out! :)

  14. Alice Says:

    I have no clue about cooking but this sure sounds good to me! :)

  15. This sounds like an interesting book, Melody! I am glad you liked it. I've read a couple of books that somewhat centered around food: The Hindi Bindi Club and Serving Crazy with Curry, both were enjoyable. Not being one who likes to cook though, I don't really pay attention the recipes and foold lists that often come in books like that.

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