Dear Julia by Amy Bronwen Zemser

Lynn: We both love food, cooking and, of course, books about food so how Dear Julia (HarperCollins/Greenwillow, 2008) flew under our radar is a mystery. Happily I got the opportunity to read this during the holiday and started pestering Cindy immediately with demands that she read this right away! (I have found this technique distracts her from pestering me with demands about books she wants me to read right away.) Hey – I knew she would love this! It has our favorite ingredients: quirky characters, kooky off-center plot, dollops of humor and a smile-inducing resolution all basted with mouth-watering descriptions of lovely food. Start with two outsider girls who become friends. Shy quiet Elaine has mastered Julia Child’s every technique and dreams of being a chef, a career choice scorned by her Congresswoman mother. Flamboyant Isadora, who has renamed herself Lucida Sans, has no problems with confidence and wants to be famous – anything will do! Add a rotten fig of a boyfriend, Elaine’s five boisterous brothers, a trunk full of unsent letters and stir well. Season with a cooking competition like nothing ever seen on the Food Network and a visit from the goddess Julia herself. The result is an irresistible delight. A really lovely theme about being true to oneself and finding ones dream is the perfect finish. Be sure to add this tasty gem to your shopping list.

Cindy: This book is sheer fun for cooks (or people who like to eat!) and with the number of teens watching the Food Network, I think there is a knowledgeable audience for Dear Julia. This book reminded me of a Joan Bauer book, for its characters, humor and heart (although Chris, the cross-dressing brother, or the two moms are not standard fare in a Bauer book. I also like the fact that they are characters who just “are,” rather than functioning as plot problems). Contrivances and conveniences abound in the plot, but I didn’t care, I just rolled with the fun and the whole book was so over the top that those crazy elements work. A bonus was the friendship that develops between two very different girls who support each other (mostly) just when the other really needs it. I love it when Lynn pesters me to read enjoyable books like this one. She’s less appreciative of my tear-jerker recommendations for her!

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About the Author:

Cindy Dobrez and Lynn Rutan are Booklist reviewers and middle-school librarians who have chaired both ALA’s Best Books for Young Adults and the Michael L. Printz Award for YA Literature committees. Follow Bookends on Twitter at @BookendsBlog. You can also find Cindy at @cdobrez and Lynn at @482april.

1 Comment on "Dear Julia by Amy Bronwen Zemser"

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  1. misshvl@hotmail.com' Hannah says:

    This book is amazing 🙂 !!!

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