The Sweet Life of Stella Madison
By Lara M. Zeises
Published 2009 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Stella Madison should be a foodie but she's not. She'd much rather eat Doritos than pommes frites and she likes it just fine that way. After all, it's not easy being the daughter of a world-famous chef and restaurant owner. But when Stella lands a job at the local paper as a restaurant critic, she's either going to have to fake it or learn the foodie world - fast.
I picked this up on a whim, in the mood for a breezy and lighthearted young adult read. I admit, I'd never heard of it before I spotted it on our shelves, but I'm pretty much willing to try anything. After finishing, I'm not surprised I've never heard of this - it's a generally unremarkable book. Now, this doesn't make it a bad book, just a forgettable one. I consider myself a foodie, so I really liked that focus here. I enjoyed that Stella chose not to be one - a pretty typical and small rebellion against her parents. But I also liked that Stella journeyed to a level of appreciation of "good food." I like that she felt conflicted about her journalism job - she's definitely not passionate about food, and know she got the job because of her famous parents, but it is a foot in the door to the career she wants to have (though she'd rather be writing about music). I really loved that Stella wasn't afraid or ashamed of her own sexuality, though I did not love the romance part of this book. There is a lot happening in this book and, at times, it feels a bit too crammed with plots, but Zeises keeps the plots moving so the reader never gets bored or distracted. This was a very quick and light read. I enjoyed it while reading but, like I said, it's pretty forgettable overall. I'd recommend this to foodies and teens who like contemporary realistic fiction, especially with romance.