The Dos and Donuts of Love

Feiwel & Friends. Jun. 2023. 336p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781250842114.
Gr 9 Up–Things heat up in Bangladeshi Irish Shireen Malik’s life when she’s cast in a televised teen baking show alongside her ex-girlfriend. Talented baker Shireen hopes to win the competition and bring recognition (and a cash prize) to her parents’ donut shop, You Drive Me Glazy. But instead of excitement, Shireen feels apprehension heading into filming with her former girlfriend, Chris Huang, who is Taiwanese Irish and the daughter of rival shop owners. Mix in a potential crush on Niamh, another contestant, and it’s a recipe for, if not exactly disaster, plenty of drama. Shireen, reeling from the breakup, anxious about the competition, and missing her best friend Fatima who is visiting family, is not her best self. She’s messy, self-centered, and quick to villainize. Her supportive and accepting parents fade to the background as Shireen spends most of her time at home in her room monologuing her complaints on calls to Fatima or perseverating over how everything ended with Chris. Much of the story takes place during filming of the show, but the baking is often skimmed over, with eliminations sped up and descriptions of baked goods lacking, favoring focus on the interpersonal issues. Those looking for a sweet romance may be disappointed to find it on the back burner for much of the book.
VERDICT Readers will root for Shireen not just to win the baking competition but also for her to grow and learn from her relationships and mistakes.

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