Title: Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff that Made Me Famous
Author: Kathryn Williams
Genre: YA Contemporary
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Can a spot on a teen reality show really lead to a scholarship at an elite cooking school AND a summer romance?
Sixteen-year-old Sophie Nicolaides was practically raised in the kitchen of her family’s Italian-Greek restaurant, Taverna Ristorante. When her best friend, Alex, tries to convince her to audition for a new reality show, Teen Test Kitchen, Sophie is reluctant. But the prize includes a full scholarship to one of America’s finest culinary schools and a summer in Napa, California, not to mention fame.
Once on-set, Sophie immediately finds herself in the thick of the drama—including a secret burn book, cutthroat celebrity judges, and a very cute French chef. Sophie must figure out a way to survive all the heat and still stay true to herself. A terrific YA offering–fresh, fun, and sprinkled with romance.
[WARNING: There are a few spoilers in this review because I could not, not have them while explaining my opinions on this. But the spoilers are labelled before you get to them and they are in white font so you won’t be able to see them unless you highlight over them. You have been warned!]
Every time I read this title I keep wanting to read “Pizza, Love, and Other Drugs”… Anywhoo…
Pizza, Love, and Other Stuff that Made Me Famous started out with an interesting idea. I liked reading how Sophie interacted in the kitchen and it was nice seeing her with her family. The premise of the reality T.V show sounded fun and interesting. But then the time came for the actual reality tv show.
Let’s get one thing clear: Everyone knows that ‘reality’ is more often than not, not actually reality right? I mean the way people live their lives is not that interesting, so there has to be some sort of interest to keep people watching, they may do things that they wouldn’t normally do to spice things up (For example: Kesha drank her own urine (Well she claimed she did) just because she could, on her reality show ‘My Crazy Beautiful Life’ (For the record I only know about this because it was all over the entertainment news; not because I watch her show) she wasn’t dared to do it or anything, she and her friends were talking about it and she was all ‘Oh, I’m totally gonna do it right now’. I seriously think it was just to cause a publicity stir up so she would get higher ratings – bad publicity is still publicity. I mean I don’t watch reality TV and I heard about it; so job well done … It just happened to be very disturbing). So editors might make it look like things are going on when really there was no such thing, and producers might even go so far to try and make something juicy happen; [Kind of spoiler] like write a burn book and place it in a location where someone will find it and then all hell will break loose… I thought this was a given about reality TV, I don’t watch it because I have no interest in it. But reading a book about it sounded like it would be fun.
It wasn’t that fun. The burn book thing was unoriginal and boring. Sophie finds a burn book in the pocket of her friend Shelby, chef’s coat. There are some horrible things written in it about everyone except Shelby, but Shelby denies having written it. [SPOILER IF YOU WANT TO READ THIS BOOK] To me it was obvious she didn’t write it and I thought it was obvious that the producers planted this in Shelby’s coat. I mean helloo? It IS reality TV, something’s interesting has GOT to happen. Snark is entertaining to watch. [END SPOILER]. So the fact that most of this book was around the burn book and Sophie, Shelby and Stan trying to figure out who wrote it, was boring and unoriginal. The twist wasn’t surprising in the least.
At first I thought the romance with the cute French chef Luc was, well, cute. [ANOTHER SPOILER] But then at the end when Sophie decides she does like her best friend Alex? That made me think ‘Ohhh so the cute French chef was only in this story to put some romance in and make it more appealing; but in actuality it was a load of bull and if we had taken that part out it wouldn’t have affected the story in the slightest’. [END SPOILER]. Seriously? The romance held no interest to me because of this. What a waste of time.
Then when Sophie returned home after the show had been filmed she had turned into this food snob. Throughout the book I had got the impression that she would realise that her fathers restaurant was what it was all about; family, love, laughter and good food. But she had denied it and was trying new dishes. She didn’t really stick to what she knew and it was starting to annoy me. She wanted to be anything but what her father was, I thought it would come down to the fact that she would realise that yeah, she wanted more, but at the end of the day her father had it right in some sort of way. That moment never came. She ended up being a stuck up food snob.
One good thing about this book? There are some pretty awesome recipes in it that I am actually considering giving a go. They look easy enough as well!
The reason I’ve given this book such a low rating is because Pizza, Love and Other
Drugs Stuff that Made Me Famous did not leave any sort of happy impression on me. I had no idea why I read what I did, the ending was less than satisfying and made me feel like the small things like the romance (Maybe that isn’t so small), the burn book, the friendships made, the way Sophie had suddenly turned into a stuck up snob that doesn’t appreciate her family like she did before she went on the show, and the whole point of the tv show just made no sense with that ending. It annoyed me.
– I thought this book sounded interesting and fun. In the end it was neither of those things for me.
– I felt like the whole burn book thing was petty and immature. It felt like a pointless thing to focus on and was not exciting to read about. Considering I had guessed the twist as soon as the burn book popped up.
– The romance was cute. Until the end.
– There are recipes in the book which I thought was a pretty cool touch.
– I just didn’t really care for this book unfortunately.