Batter Royale

Abrams/Amulet. Jun. 2022. 240p. Tr $24.99. ISBN 9781419750755.
Gr 6 Up–When 17-year-old Rose unexpectedly impresses a famous restaurant critic with her dessert skills, she receives an invitation to a baking show in Britain; the winner will receive $500,000 and a book deal. With some effort, she convinces her best friend, Fred, who’s the son of the owners of the restaurant where she waits tables, to join her team, and her parents to let her compete. Fred and Rose travel to Britain, compete against cutthroat teams, and explore themselves and their friendship. The story is fast-paced and exciting, and both Rose and Fred are likable, relatable characters. The competition is reminiscent of popular reality cooking shows, and fans of these shows will enjoy the story. Rose and Fred’s eventual romance won’t come as a surprise to readers, though it will delight them, and readers will recognize many of the issues they face, such as dealing with family stress and navigating friendships and relationships with peers. The chapters are marked by the recipes made in the story—a fun touch that aspiring chefs will appreciate. The artwork is bold and cartoonish; fans of authors like Reina Telgemier and Kayla Miller will be drawn to the work. Rose is biracial (her mother is Black, while her father is white), Fred is white, and the competitors in the Batter Royale competition are diverse in terms of race, many of them hailing from across the world.
VERDICT This fun, engaging graphic novel will have readers eager to discover the winner of the contest. Budding pastry chefs will be inspired to follow suit and prepare delicious desserts of their own.

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