Q: have you ever gone to a different country? Which one(s)?
Today I’m coming to you with the most special treat of a book: Laura Taylor Namey’s YA contemporary A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea & Tomorrow.
Told in writing that’s often lyrical, ACGGtTaT is both a story of grief & celebration as Lila Reyes copes with suffering three recent big losses & being sent away from the loving arms of her family to live in Hampshire, England for a summer.
After her beloved Abuelita dies—the woman who taught Lila how to bake—& her long-time boyfriend breaks up with her, & her best friend changes their graduation plans & moves to Africa for work instead, Lila is unmoored. Her protective, loving family decides that the best thing for her is a temporary new environment.
Lila leaves Miami, her family bakery, & her family (internally) screaming. But spending time with some of her other family in England, running the kitchen in their inn, & becoming friends with the local tea shop owner’s son, Orion Maxwell, make her see that her life & heart can follow a new map .
This beautiful book gives such love to place whether it’s Miami or England. Vivid descriptions; characters who delight in the world around them & the things they create; & food-rich scenes—mostly of Lila baking Cuban and/or English recipes—make for a sensory feast.
Lila’s confidence is inspiring & her relationship with Orion, their friendship that doesn’t stay just a friendship, is so sweet & banter-filled. While I did have a slight problem with the romantic timing of it all—esp given that Lila had just gotten out of a 3 yr relationship—her relationship with Orion moves so slowly, so gradually, that I was okay with it. And honestly, they’re so great together. So.
This lovely contemporary gave my heart the boost it needed last week. I highly recommend it & I’ll be singing its praises for a while into the future.
5⭐️. Thanks to Simon & Schuster and Netgalley for the complimentary ARC. All opinions provided are my own.
Give me that HEA, please.
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