To All the Boys I've Loved Before, by: Jenny Han
The Lara Jean Trilogy is the series that I always think of first when it comes to food. Lara Jean is a girl who loves to bake, and throughout the first book, we see her try to craft the perfect chocolate-chip cookie recipe. This subplot in the story is one that when I was reading, as soon as I would forget about her cookies (that made my stomach growl, no less), Jenny Han would have Lara Jean march into a scene to ask the characters to try her latest batch. While it did always make me a little sad that I couldn’t be there to try them, this part of the book added a sense of realism to the book and brought it back to its light-hearted nature.
Words on Bathroom Walls, by: Julia Walton
In Words on Bathroom Walls, Adam has just been diagnosed with schizophrenia. When the visions start to get to him or life starts to become too stressful, Adam’s first reaction is to go to the kitchen. It is the first story I have ever heard of that a character’s passion is baking, and because of this book, I think there should be more of them. The way Julia Walton shows Adam getting “into his zone” and finding peace in the kitchen was a beautiful thing to read. Sometimes he would be in there for hours, and his family would have to come drag him out. I love how his artistic passion was something that isn’t featured very often in mainstream YA.
Divergent, by: Veronica Roth
Who could forget about the famous Dauntless Chocolate Cake? I don’t know where Veronica Roth got the idea for this, but the reading community will be forever indebted to her for it. Divergent was the book that got me into reading, so I had to put this one on the list. If I were to craft a “fictional bucket list,” I would put trying Dauntless Cake near the top. Again, the feature of this small food subplot added to the many layers this story had to bring.
Love & Gelato, by: Jenna Evans Welch
Love & Gelato is a perfect summer read; it features travel, cute boys, parties, and don’t forget about the VAST AMOUNTS OF GELATO. One of the things I want to do before I die is to eat gelato in Italy one day, so reading about it made me want to dive into the story so badly. If my memory serves me well, I think that the gelato shop the characters visit in Florence has some significance to the story, which is always a bonus. When I write a book one day, food is going to be a significant plot point (because who doesn’t love food, am I right?).
(P.S. This book also has ice cream on the cover, so it gets bonus points.)
Since You've Been Gone, by: Morgan Matson
Morgan Matson is bringing this list home with one of my all-time favorite books Since You’ve Been Gone. Emily’s best friend, Sloane, has disappeared off the face of the earth, leaving only a list for her to complete during the summer. One of those things is to visit an address and ask Mona, where she finds out that Sloane has gotten Emily a position at an ice cream shop they always used to go to. I don’t ever have time to work a job in the summer since I am involved in quite a few sports, but if I were to get one, this would be my dream! Working with your best friend in an ice cream shop is something that happens more often in fiction than in real life, but it’s always something fun to imagine yourself doing. While this book isn’t directly connected with the ice cream itself, I still felt like it had to make the list.
(P.S. I just realized that on the cover, the girls are eating ice cream, so this one gets bonus points too.)
What YA food are you dying to recreate? Maybe one day us book nerds can rise together and collaborate on a YA cookbook for everyone to enjoy. (Actually, can we make that happen? That sounds like it could be a hit…)
While she goes and snoops around the kitchen,
All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.
— Charles M. Schulz
Ashton is a high school girl with a passion for books. She also participates in other activities such as sports and musical groups.