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A Cuban Girl's Guide to Tea and Tomorrow

by Laura Taylor Namey

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1195183,149 (3.53)5
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Showing 5 of 5
3.5 Stars. Enjoyable. Lila’s passion for baking/cooking is evident throughout and I loved the moments where food references were woven into the narrative.

I wasn’t that into the romance here, as I haven’t really been in a number of books lately so it’s possibly a me thing, but it is sweet and given that Lila’s just out of a three year relationship, the gradual pacing felt appropriate.

The pacing of the novel itself dipped a little for me in the middle as there wasn’t much tension in the romance or much tension in the kitchen with Lila’s sort of rival absent, I also didn’t so much care whether or not Jules sang for that band, and the graffiti didn’t particularly interest me either until it evolved into one of the most rewarding relationships in the novel.

A scene between Lila and her estranged friend towards the end was such a standout, easily for me the most emotionally resonant moment, it had me wishing their broken friendship had featured more prominently throughout the book, as even without the buildup it might have had, that scene was just so impressively conveyed. ( )
  SJGirl | Apr 11, 2021 |
From the book jacket: For Lila Reyes, a summer in England was never part of the plan. The plan was 1) take over her abuela’s role as head baker at their panaderia, 2) move in with her best friend after graduation, and 3) live happily ever after with her boyfriend. But then The Trifecta happened, and everything – including Lila herself – fell apart. Worried about Lila’s mental health, her parents make a new plan for her: spend three months with family friends in Winchester, England, to relax and reset. But, … what would be a dream trip for some feels more like a nightmare to Lila … until she meets Orion Maxwell.

My reactions Okay, I totally picked this up because I needed a pink cover for a challenge. I noticed, too, that this was a pick for “Reese’s YA Book Club” and thought it might have some meat on the bones.

Some of this stretch credulity a bit far for me, but on the whole I enjoyed it. I liked that things were not all wrapped up nice and tidy in a pretty bow, albeit there is still a happy (or at least hopeful) ending. Lila is a complex character, with shifting emotions (typical teenager, and typical of the grief process). Orion has his own problems, with a mother suffering from early onset dementia, a little sis who is acting out, and more responsibilities than an 18-year-old should have to shoulder.

I liked that Namey showed that Lila’s attempt to forget her problems by focusing on food was a strategy that would take her only so far, and that she needed to face the issues that led to her breakdown before she could move forward. I really liked Orion. He’s a steady young man, with natural charm, but not at all pushy. All in all, this is a pretty good example of the YA romance genre.

And I loved all the references to food. I think I gained 10 pounds just reading about all the Cubano bread, and specialty pastries Lila concocted. ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 28, 2021 |
Lila's experienced a trifecta of loss: the death of her beloved Abuela, a breakup with her perfect boyfriend, and a split with her long-time bestie has Lila acting recklessly. Her loving family decides to send her to an aunt and uncle in England, to give her time to heal. She'd rather stay home in Miami and work out her troubles in the family bakery, but they're not giving her a choice. In England, Lila finds new experiences and new flavors that she can meld with the ones she's always known -- and a sweet boy who is willing to show her around and take things one day at a time, because they both know that Lila is leaving at the end of the summer . . . right?

If you're looking for a fun and sweet YA romance, look over here. There's character development (early in the book, Lila got on my nerves, but we moved past it) and British scenery and pastries -- so many pastries. (I was a little disappointed that the book didn't include recipes in the back.) A nice, fairly innocent escape from real life, if that's what you're seeking. ( )
  foggidawn | Jan 26, 2021 |
Such an adorable sounding title seemed like it would be a nice, different read that came through my library holds. I had been familiar with Namey but ultimately chose not to read her other books since I lost interest. This, however, sounded quirky and fun.

Lila was supposed to have her dreams all lined up: taking over as a head baker at the panadería, move in with her best friend and have a happily ever after with her boyfriend. Sounds easy and all set, right? Wrong. It doesn't and Lila ends up in England with family friends. And then there's the teashop clerk...

Well...this was dull. I don't remember why I ultimately skipped Namey's other book but this was just not interesting at all. I couldn't get into the story, did not find Lila appealing as a character (honestly, she seemed really whiny a lot of the time), and just didn't get it. It seemed like the author was trying to go for a fish out of water type story to set up a romance in England but it didn't go well (as noted by other reviewers, her best friend traipsing off to Africa was, uh, problematic with the author not even pretending to have a reason or a specific country and also engaging in some really unfortunate stereotypes).

Perhaps as a YA it's not difficult to understand would not really be able to have perspective someone else would and hence the selfish and self-centered behavior. But overall, this was why YA often doesn't work for me. This one's skippable and I'll probably not bother with future books by this author.

Library borrow was definitely best for me. ( )
  HoldMyBook | Dec 19, 2020 |
"She changed her own recipe, too...Not just food. Abuela changed her life recipe...In my heart, Abuela tells me I've been wrong all this time. She never put a spoon in my hand and skills in my head to tether me to one place. She gave me knowledge so I could choose, too. The place she built. Or the places I will build...I was brought up for this place but I can change my life recipe, too."

What a sweet story this was! It was a tale of tremendous grief, healing and reinvention. Lila, a Miami born Cuban girl shares a passion for food and cooking because it was a bond she shared with her grandmother who helped raise her. When her grandmother dies, her high school sweetheart dumps her a few days before prom and her best friend nixes their plan to move in together and attend college backs out without warning, Lila spirals into a mental breakdown. Her family sends her to England for the summer so she can gain her bearings and grieve.

I loved that Lila was a headstrong protagonist and did not allow anyone to dictate her path. All the food references made me so hungry and I was tempted to book a flight to Miami to indulge. I loved the pacing of the romance and how the chemistry between the characters felt natural.

The greatest lesson I took away from the story is that identity is personal and you can remain who you are regardless of geography. When you are given the freedom to make sense of your own emotions, choices and experiences, your future path becomes clearer. Your culture lives within in you and no one can take it from you. I also learned that you can chase more than one passion at a time because life is not just a straight line with only only one path to the goal. Life is about organizing your goals in a way that makes sense to you. Your life path is like a recipe where you are always adding and taking things away. ( )
  Booklover217 | Nov 11, 2020 |
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Epigraph
If you find undissolved sugar in the bottom of your
teacup, someone has a crush on you.

—Superstition
Mañana, by the way, does not mean tomorrow: It means
not today.

—Billy Collins
Dedication
For Hildelisa Victoria, my brave and beautiful mother
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