Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet

Featured
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
590 0
Somewhere Between Bitter and Sweet
Age Range
14+
Release Date
April 06, 2021
ISBN
978-0316460279
Buy This Book
      

I'm Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter meets Emergency Contact in this stunning story of first love, familial expectations, the power of food, and finding where you belong. Penelope Prado has always dreamed of opening her own pastelería next to her father's restaurant, Nacho's Tacos. But her mom and dad have different plans&;leaving Pen to choose between disappointing her traditional Mexican American parents or following her own path. When she confesses a secret she's been keeping, her world is sent into a tailspin. But then she meets a cute new hire at Nacho's who sees through her hard exterior and asks the questions she's been too afraid to ask herself. Xander Amaro has been searching for home since he was a little boy. For him, a job at Nacho's is an opportunity for just that&;a chance at a normal life, to settle in at his abuelo's, and to find the father who left him behind. But when both the restaurant and Xander's immigrant status are threatened, he will do whatever it takes to protect his newfound family and himself. Together, Pen and Xander must navigate first love and discovering where they belong in order to save the place they all call home. This stunning and poignant novel from debut author Laekan Zea Kemp explores identity, found families and the power of food, all nestled within a courageous and intensely loyal Chicanx community.

Editor reviews

1 reviews

powerful and unputdownable YA contemporary
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0
SOMEWHERE BETWEEN BITTER AND SWEET is a highly devourable YA romance/contemporary fiction. The story follows two young adults, Pen and Xander. Pen works at her father's restaurant and one day dreams of opening her own bakery. Her parents have a different dream for her, and they have enrolled her in college - but it is not the future she wants. When she reveals the lie she has been telling her parents, she gets an ultimatum she never anticipated - but she is ready to rise from the ashes.

Xander is undocumented and lives with his abuelo. He knows his father is somewhere in the United States but hasn't heard from him or seen him since he was little. He really wants to be able to find him, but it is difficult to find someone who does not seem to want to be found. When he is given an opportunity to work at Pen's father's restaurant, he is surprised at how much of a family the workers all are and the unexpected ways in which they serve the community.

As Xander and Pen collide, their worlds are certain to change.

What I loved: Although the romance is powerful and strong (a totally ship-worthy couple), the book really shines for its many critical and potent themes. There is a theme about mental illness that is handled fairly well, particularly in terms of insights into the way it must be culturally ignored but also in the strength of facing it and seeking treatments (in the past). There are also really strong themes about family - both blood and found families, and the importance of those relationships in life and for personal growth.

There are also some deeper themes around the fear and uncertainties with being undocumented. Xander must always keep this in mind, and it's a heavy weight. The book also touches on predatory lending and the inability of law enforcement to adequately protect the people it serves around these issues as well as the ability of the wealthy and powerful to stand above it all.

There is a lot of love in the book that really shines through. There is friend love, family love, romantic love, neighborly love, community love, and so many more threads that connect these characters to the people around them. I definitely fell in love with all of it. Xander and Pen felt so genuine and real, as well as those characters around them - this book really brought this world to life, and I loved every second spent in it.

This was a highly emotional read and gave me all the feels. It's difficult to express all of them here, but I really enjoyed the sorrow, the depth, and the happiness that I experienced throughout. On a lighter note, I also felt pretty hungry, because the food passion also shines through the characters.

Final verdict: A powerful, genuine, and touching read, SOMEWHERE BETWEEN BITTER AND SWEET is a thought-provoking YA contemporary fiction that is positively unputdownable. Highly recommend for fans of TWEET CUTE, STAY SWEET, and NORTH OF HAPPY.
Report this review Comments (0) | Was this review helpful to you? 2 0

User reviews

There are no user reviews for this listing.
Already have an account? or Create an account
Powered by JReviews

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

The Beautiful Ones
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
They are the Beautiful Ones, Loisail’s most notable socialites,...
Ember of Night
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
I am a weed. Unloved by my abusive, alcoholic...
Made in Korea
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Frankly in Love meets Shark Tank in this feel-good...
Perfectly Parvin
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Fourteen-year-old Iranian-American Parvin Mohammadi sets out to win the...
Havoc (Haven, #2)
 
3.7
 
0.0 (0)
For the first time in his life, Rain Ryland...
Finding Junie Kim
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Junie Kim just wants to fit in. So she keeps...
Parachutes
 
4.7
 
0.0 (0)
Speak enters the world of Gossip Girl in this modern...
The Bachmann Family Secret
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
Jaret Bachmann travels with his family to his beloved...
Sister of the Bollywood Bride
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
For fans of Morgan Matson's Save the Date comes a...
Nosotros Means Us: Un cuento bilingüe
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A moving bilingual ode to the unshakeable bond between a...
Awakened Are the Starry-Eyed
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
A new city and unexpected freedom give Andrea the fresh...
A Brutal Justice
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Protect the weak. Safety for all. Power without virtue is...
A Tale of Ashes
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Across the country, human teens are going missing, and all...
The Captain's Daughters
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
What would you do if you were abducted by aliens,...
The Hollow Inside
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Seventeen-year-old Phoenix has spent much of her life drifting from...
Truth or Dare
 
0.0
 
0.0 (0)
Welcome to Summervale… One of the USA’s top vacation...

Latest Member Reviews

Finding Junie Kim
 
5.0
"Junie Kim faces racist comments from a school bully at her middle school. Along with that her school is vandalized..."
Nosotros Means Us: Un cuento bilingüe
 
5.0
"NOSOTROS MEANS US is a beautiful bilingual picture book about the enduring and unconditional love between mother and child. The..."
Secondhand Dogs
 
5.0
"Gus is the pack leader at Miss Lottie's house, and has kept the peace well with excitable Roo, loyal and..."
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: The Road Trip
 
4.0
"HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL: THE MUSICAL: THE SERIES: THE ROAD TRIP is a fun book that compliments the show by diving..."
I'll Meet You in Your Dreams
 
5.0
"I'LL MEET YOU IN YOUR DREAMS is a gorgeously illustrated picture book about parental love that spans space and time...."
No Adults Allowed (Super Sidekicks #1)
 
4.5
"This is a cute read! No Adults Allowed is the first book in a new series from author Gavin Aung..."
The Last Fallen Star (Gifted Clans, #1)
 
5.0
"THE LAST FALLEN STAR is a thrilling epic fantasy. Riley Oh is a saram, a person without magic, adopted by..."
I Don't Want to Go to School
 
3.5
"I DON'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL features Dinosaur and Mouse, who are both scared of their first day of..."
The Mother of Monsters
 
4.5
"‘The Mother of Monsters’ by Fran Parnell, illustrated by Sophie Fatus, tells the story of Ntombi, the chief's daughter. She..."
Grim, Grunt and Grizzle-Tail: A Story from Chile
 
4.5
"‘Grim, Grunt and Grizzle-Tail’ by Fran Parnell, illustrated by Sophie Fatus, is great for younger elementary readers and anyone who..."
Baseball Baby
 
5.0
"BASEBALL BABY is a delightful board book about baseball. The book begins with heading to the park to play baseball..."
I Am Not a Penguin
 
4.0
"I AM NOT A PENGUIN is a silly picture book that manages to teach young readers about pangolins. A pangolin..."
Sam Can't Sleep
 
4.5
"SAM CAN'T SLEEP is a fun picture book read that introduces the concept of nocturnal animals. It's nighttime, and all..."
Welcome to California
 
4.0
"WELCOME TO CALIFORNIA is a fun picture book of facts about the state. It covers topics from the state capitol..."
Zoom: Dinosaur Adventure
 
4.5
"ZOOM: DINOSAUR ADVENTURE takes the reader on a journey to the time of the dinosaurs. Jamie and Jasmine are going..."
Let's Pretend Fire Station
 
5.0
"LET'S PRETEND FIRE STATION is a delightful peek-through board book about firefighters. The book features pictures of children, firetrucks, and..."
Rosa Loves Dinosaurs / A Rosa Le Encantan Los Dinosaurios
 
3.5
"ROSA LOVES DINOSAURS/ A ROSA LE ENCANTAN LOS DINOSAURIOS is a fun bilingual board book about a love of dinosaurs...."
Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch
 
5.0
"Eva Evergreen is a young witch about to embark on her Novice Quest. As the daughter of one of the..."
Homer on the Case
 
4.5
"HOMER ON THE CASE is a delightful middle grade mystery, featuring unlikely detectives. Homer, a homing pigeon, and Lulu, a..."
The Thingity-Jig
 
5.0
"THE THINGITY-JIG is a fun picture book read about invention and friendship. Although all his friends are asleep, Bear feels..."