Teen Fiction


Sizzle . . . or burn?

Linda Delgado has the best nose in all of Arizona—for cooking, that is. She may be only fourteen, but Linda loves making fresh Mexican food with her aunt Elba and blogging about food with her best friend, Julia. But after Aunt Elba suffers a ministroke, Linda is catapulted across the country and into a whole new life.

In Pittsburgh, living with bossy Aunt Pat and her seven kids, Linda feels completely out of place. Worst of all, Aunt Pat is a local celebrity with her own TV show, Cooking from Cans—and she won’t let Linda in the kitchen. Linda might go loco if she doesn’t get some fresh food—like now. 

Then Linda finally gets her chance to sizzle—alongside cute-guy-with-a-secret Dino Moretti (who even smells delicious) and her jealous cousi


“Gr 6-9-Linda Delgado’s life is about to change. The 14-year-old has been living with her Aunt Elba in Arizona, going to school, spending time with best friend Julia, and working in her aunt’s small Mexican restaurant where the emphasis is on wholesome meals made using fresh ingredients. When her aunt falls ill and eventually closes her restaurant, Linda is sent to Pittsburgh to live with a distant aunt whom she has never met. When she arrives, she finds a large family headed by Sir Dad and Aunt Pat, and seven boisterous children-foster, adopted, and one biological daughter named Chloe who’s not pleased to have another addition to the family. Aunt Pat is a well known TV chef (Cooking from Cans) and creates all meals, both on TV and at home, using mostly canned ingredients-the total opposite of what Linda is used to. And she doesn’t want any help from Linda. Other challenges for the teenager include dealing with a gruff aunt and a somewhat distant Sir Dad as well as adjusting to a new family, a new school, new friendships, a budding romance, sibling rivalry, and more. Laura Hamilton’s reading of McClain’s novel (Amazon Children’s Pub., 2011) is authentic, capturing the talkative energy and mostly funny voice of a likeable young girl, as well as the typical teen angst and drama. This appealing, lively story concludes on a feel-good note, complete with a recipe for delicioso empanadas at the end.”

– Mary Oluonye, Shaker Heights Public Library, OH. Copyright 2013.

“Linda Delgado has always resented working in the Arizona restaurant owned by her aunt Elba, who has raised her since Lindas mother died. When Aunt Elbas health begins failing, the 14-year-old Latina is forced to live in Pittsburgh with Aunt Pat, who has her own food show (Cooking from Cans) and a large family of adopted kids. When not sparring with Pat over rights to her kitchen, competing with roommate Chloe for the attention of popular Dino (who has his own secret food connection), or simply trying to fit into her new high school, Linda keeps in touch with Arizona friend Julia through a social networking food website and uses her culture and personal experiences to comfort a grieving youngster in the household. This light fare, told in a chatty first-person narration, dishes up a feel-good ending as Linda learns to appreciate compromise in friendship, familyand, of course, food. Joan Bauers Close to Famous (2011) and Ramin Ganeshrams Stir It Up! (2011) offer more foodie fiction. Grades 6-9.”

– Angela Leeper, Booklist

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