Title: The Art of French Kissing
Author
: Brianna R. Shrum
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Release Date: June 5th 2018
Pages: 256
Genre(s): Young Adult, contemporary
Source: Netgalley
Purchase: The Book Depository

Seventeen-year-old Carter Lane has wanted to be a chef since she was old enough to ignore her mom’s warnings to stay away from the hot stove. And now she has the chance of a lifetime: a prestigious scholarship competition in Savannah, where students compete all summer in Chopped style challenges for a full-ride to one of the best culinary schools in the country. The only impossible challenge ingredient in her basket: Reid Yamada.

After Reid, her cute but unbearably cocky opponent, goes out of his way to screw her over on day one, Carter vows revenge, and soon they’re involved in a full-fledged culinary war. Just as the tension between them reaches its boiling point, Carter and Reid are forced to work together if they want to win, and Carter begins to wonder if Reid’s constant presence in her brain is about more than rivalry. And if maybe her desire to smack his mouth doesn’t necessarily cancel out her desire to kiss it.

Netgalley provided me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review. This was a cute and quick read with the added bonus of a cooking competition, even if the protagonist bothered me.

Seventeen year old Carter travels all the way to Savannah to join a cooking competition that can win her a scholarship for a culinary school. The book is filled with cooking and the most-delicious sounding food, which is enjoyable for anyone who’s into cooking. Moreover, the competition-element gives the story a bit of tension to make it exciting. Carter almost immediately makes an enemy of fellow competitor Reid and lots of sabotaging and bickering ensues which is highly entertaining to read about.

I did feel like the story was a bit predictable and cliché at times, which is not necessarily a bit thing, but something to keep in mind. There’s the from love to hate trope, there is a bigot who is nothing but rude and doesn’t seem to have any redeeming characteristics and from the start it’s clear which characters will make it far into the competition.

The one thing that ruined the book a bit for me is that I really disliked protagonist Carter at times. She constantly feels sorry for herself and is basically a really angry person that often acts completely unreasonable and then blames it on others. For example, whilst I get her anger over Reid’s initial (minor) sabotage, her reaction of making him trip is completely over the top and uncalled for. Moreover, she is rude sometimes, not even bothering to learn the names of all the other competitors and referring to one girl as ‘Addie’s crush’. I honestly wanted to shake some sense into her at times.

However, all in all The Art of French Kissing is a light-hearted and fun read with mostly diverse characters, cooking and cute romantic moments.

The Art of French Kissing

6.6

Characterization

5.2/10

Plot

7.0/10

Writing Style

7.0/10

Pace

7.0/10

Setting

7.0/10

Pros

  • Cooking competition
  • Fun read
  • Diverse characters

Cons

  • Bit cliché
  • Dislikable protagonist