Another 2019 favorite! I believe that makes three in a row for the favorite list, which to be honest is really nice because the books I started with this year with were not the best. Love à la Mode was published late last year and is the second book I have read from Stephanie Kate Strohm ( I still need to read the companion to Pilgrims Don’t Wear Pink). This books is a really nice quick and easy contemporary read. Making perfect for when you are in a reading rut. WARNING: Will make you very hungry and in desperate need of a baguette and pretty much every other French pastry ever made. It follows the classic formula of boy meets girl; boy and girl fall in love; boy and girl refuse to talk about the issues and misunderstandings that are keeping them apart; it all blows up in boy and girls face; boy and girl end up together after they talk it out. Classic romantic comedy in a book. I also love that is told from the prospective of both of the two main characters and love interests.
While I completely and absolutely adore the two main characters, Rosie and Henry, I think its the side characters that did it for me. Because the story is told from both Rosie and Henry’s point of view you get the know Rosie’s friends, Yumi and Priya, as well as Henry’s friends, Hampus (I absolutely die for that name its amazing) and Marquis. Yumi is probably my favorite she is from Japan, but has an American mother and is defiantly the sassiest in the group (which is probably why shes my favorite cause we are the same). She knows what she wants and how to get it and she is defiantly a take charge kinda girl. Her Marquis, who is a born and bred New Yorker, have a great rapport throughout the novel. Yumi also always has a connection to somewhere and her no nonsense attitude is great for bolstering up her friends. Besides Yumi, Hampus is my favorite. He found a place in my heart and will forever stay there. He is from a very tiny town in Sweden and is the actual personification of a golden retriever complete with a mop of blonde hair. He is also described as a large person which makes his teddy bear-esque attitude all the more adorable. Priya is Rosie’s roommate and I would venture to say best friend at the Ècole. She is a bit blunt and a bit frantic and a lot dramatic, which makes her all the more entertaining to read. As far as supporting characters and friend groups go these four are written and fleshed out beautifully. They are a diverse group and form a strong bond throughout the novel from beginning to end. They even end up being the “it” clique which I found to be kinda interesting cause from Rosie’s point of view they are not.
Rosie and Henry end up meeting on the plane to Paris (name a better meet cute I dare you) and bonding over Henry’s cooking magazine. Rosie, a small town girl from Ohio with four brothers and a single mom, is shy and reserved and a bit self conscious in the beginning, but she really comes out of her shell. She is funny, caring and a brilliant baker (not so much of a chef though). Henry, a Korean- American Chicago native with a chef dad and an overbearing mother, on the other hand is confident and outgoing in the beginning and gets a little self conscious in the middle (can’t say I blame him though crushes make you crazy). Rosie and Henry’s relationship is fairly adorable and sweet. Its the kind of romance one expects from a teen relationship at a cooking school in Paris. They are just devoted to their friends as they are to crushing on one another. While both Rosie and Henry ask their friends to help them in the grand gesture department, they don’t turn their friendships into something that only for the betterment of their relationship with each other. Which is rather refreshing. I feel like most YA novels turn the friendships of the main characters as a means to an end to get the love interest. It was also nice to see the male love interest freak out and over analyze just as much as the female love interest. Made me feel justified in my freaking out and over analyzing (see my post about crushes).
This is honestly the perfect YA contemporary read, but there were a couple of things that I was a bit eh about. The love triangle that wasn’t really a love triangle. Bodie Tal is a hot celebrity baker’s son who has a model mom and has been all over TV and magazines. He also happens to be they hypotenuse in this little triangle. The only problem is that A) a triangle wasn’t really needed due to the miscommunication issues and B) there was never a moment for Rosie where she was like “OMG who do I pick? I love them both!” (I’m looking at you Bella Swan) so there wasn’t really a triangle, but Bodie defiantly caused strife in Rosie and Henry’s budding relationship. Then there was the antagonists which I feel like weren’t as fleshed out and troublesome as they could have been. The main problems that Henry and Rosie face are Henry’s over bearing mother piling on extra school work making Henry exhausted, Rosie’s fear if being asked to leave the Ècole due to her poor chef skills, and the fact they don’t communicate very well to each other about their feelings. Those three things due their intended purpose of causing this romance to be a slow burn and I loved every twist and turn, but I feel the missed opportunity was Clara. Clara is a Upper East Side New Yorker who is beautiful, glamorous and perfect. The moment we meet her it established that she doesn’t like Rosie and she thinks she is better then everyone, but she very rarely comes up in the plot in the book and other then a some rude comments doesn’t cause problems. I feel like it was a bit of a missed opportunity and I wish she would have been worse and gotten some sort of comeuppance, but alas that did not happen. There was an incident with a cheesecake that I am sure Clara sabotaged, but it is not cannon.
I loved this book and highly recommend it to anyone who loves YA romances, food, or Paris. Its just so cute and well written that its hard to not fall in love with it.