Midsummer’s Mayhem

Little Bee. Jun. 2019. 352p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781499808889.
Gr 4-7–Eleven-year-old Mimi Mackson is the youngest in a family of overachievers. Between her older siblings’ many activities and her parents’ busy work lives, Mimi feels lost in the shuffle and longs for her own moment in the spotlight. When she learns about a contest held by the mysterious new bakery in town, Mimi sees a chance to distinguish herself and jump-start her dream of becoming a celebrity chef like her idol Puffy Fay. But she struggles to find inspiration with the loss of her best friend Emma, who recently moved to Australia, and the advice of her dad, who overnight seems to have lost his impressive sense of taste. Then one day, while searching for ingredients and ideas in the woods, Mimi meets a boy who shows her areas she’s never visited before. She is surprised to discover Banyan trees and a wild boar in the Massachusetts forest, along with delicious nectar-filled flowers and other ingredients that she incorporates into her baking. Things at home go from weird to weirder, with her father continuing to eat more food than seems humanly possible, her sisters caught up in an intense and absurd love triangle, and her brother suddenly in love with his own reflection. Despite the mayhem, Mimi pushes forward toward her goal of winning the contest. This delightful and delicious spin on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream flows beautifully into a sensitive and thoughtful novel that addresses family dynamics and self-confidence alongside mouth-watering descriptions of food. Readers will relate to Mimi’s attempts to stand out and find her place and will be thrilled by the magical baking.
VERDICT A first purchase for most libraries, especially where titles like Kathryn Littlewood’s “Bliss Bakery” and Anna Meriano’s “Love Sugar Magic” series are popular

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