Bliss (Bliss Bakery, book 1)
By Kathryn Littlewood
Expected publication February 14, 2012 by Katherine Tegen Books
Rosemary Bliss is the oldest girl of four children and can't but feel like she is nothing special. Her older brother Thyme (or Ty) is incredibly handsome, her younger brother Sage is very funny and destined to be famous, and the baby Parsley (or Leigh) is just so adorable. Rose feels like she'll never live up to the rest of her family and believes even her parents don't like her as much as they like her brothers and sister. And there is something special about the bakery that the Bliss family runs - all the food they make seems just a little bit too good to be true. A little bit magical...so when Rose's parents have to leave the bakery, Rose wants to use this as an opportunity to prove she belongs in this family, too.
I picked this up sort of on a whim at Midwinter but, come on, magic bakery? Sounds a little like Chocolat for kids. I really liked this book. It is fun and easy reading and Rose is a nice, complex heroine. It's not just about how she wants to have some of the magic her parents do; it's also about how she just doesn't feel like she fits in with her family. I imagine a lot of kids could relate to this, especially those who have siblings that outshine them in certain aspects. In addition, Rose just doesn't feel all that comfortable with herself - she knows she's not very pretty or funny and she's too old to be adorable anymore. She is dependable and good at math, but Rose realizes that kids her age don't place any value on these qualities. I can also imagine a lot of kids relating to this. Plus, there is magic in this book. Really cool magic. I loved learning about the different recipes and magical ingredients the Bliss family used. The only thing, for me, that didn't really work was how obvious the villain was. Perhaps this won't be as much of a problem for kids but it made me feel like Rose was being a little too silly sometimes to not spot the answer. All in all, though, I think this is a delightful book that should be enjoyed by kids looking for fun fantasy.
Thanks to the publisher for an advance reader's copy.