Salt and Sugar

Inkyard. Nov. 2022. 400p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781335454331.
Gr 9 Up–In this debut YA romance, locally owned businesses in Olinda, Brazil confront the big, bad, evil corporation that sabotages them, ultimately pitting small businesses against one another. Such is the case for Salt, a bakery that sits across the street from Sugar, the rival bakery. The divide and conquer strategy seeps into the lives of young people who have hopes and dreams rooted in their families’ bakeries. Lari, from Salt, and Pedro, from Sugar, take this feud into the kitchen, and the slow sizzle delightfully becomes romance. While the romance development between these rivals is fun, equally important topics the author explores are predatory speculating, gentrification, and how big chain supermarkets sanitize food culture. The book shows how recipes handed down generationally are transmissions of love, family history, and culture, not just food. The communities struggle to hold onto this part of their culture, and the next generation picks up where the previous one left off. But this generation has new tools at their disposal to help our heroes—Lari and Pedro—succeed in saving their bakeries, their cultures, their families, and their budding love. Victor, a friend, is a food blogger, and social media becomes the tool for advertising. And of course, the romance is not complete until the two bakeries merge.
VERDICT A fun read that will have readers cheering for the courage and love of the two protagonists.

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