Monday, August 4, 2014

Review: Taste Test

Taste Test
Title: Taste Test
Author: Kelly Fiore
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: August 27, 2012

A Quick Introduction: Nora knows anything and everything barbecued, smoked or fried. She was practically raised in her father's barbecue restaurant, so when she gets a chance to take part in a reality-television teen cooking contest, she takes it. But things on set are far from simple, and she has to juggle conflicts with the other contestants and the rash of vandalism that has been taking people out of the show, all while trying to remain in the running.

Out of Ten: 2/10

Review at a Glance: While the TV show aspect was fun, this story suffers from a poor plot and frustrating characters.

Review: This wasn't for me. I don't usually read contemporaries. I just don't like them, though I still try to read a couple every year, just in case something has changed (so far that hasn't really happened)... I have a soft spot for anything about cooking, and I liked the idea of a story that takes place on the set of a cooking contest. Don't ask me why, I don't watch the television shows, but somehow I was interested.

Taste Test is narrated in first person by the main character, Nora. She was often a little exasperating. Or a lot exasperating. I sometimes found her overly judgmental (or prejudice, maybe?) The cooking part was enjoyable, but sometimes Nora's personality got on my nerves a little. Christian was obnoxious. I think that's the best term I can come up with to describe him, and I didn't really find him growing on me. The relationship development didn't really ring true for me- possibly in part because I didn't really find either of the characters enjoyable or connect to them. Not to mention the kind-of sort-of love triangle which was unnecessary. None of the characters really grew at all, either.

The whole mystery with the vandalism did kind of take the a back seat. Nora does make some make sort of attempt at an investigation, but investigation does not mean accusing random people randomly, which is essentially what Nora did. The plot was weak. It was essentially played for drama, and wasn't really the focus of the story. The cooking aspect was enjoyable, for me it was the most enjoyable part and I wish that there had been more of it.

I did enjoy aspects of how the novel was written. I found the TV interview excerpts were kind of fun, as were the recipes. The book had an overall light feel, which didn't mesh perfectly with the mystery aspect- if the mystery were a main focus, some suspense might have been more effective. Other than that, the writing didn't really stand out one way or the other. Basically, I enjoyed the formatting more than the content.

All in all, this is a light read, and I enjoyed the cooking parts and the excerpts from the interviews and judges. However, these were somewhat spoiled by the characters, which were aggravating at times and the weak plot.

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