I have been meaning to read this book for quite some time and I was delighted when I spotted it at Library #1’s English collection (slowly they are adding more books).
Meet Emoni (though her name is apparently pronounced Imani which was utterly confusing to me as I kept calling her Ay (double ee here)moni). A teen mom who has a sweet baby named Emma (though Emoni likes to call her Babygirl). She loves cooking and she is working hard for her family to make sure things are possible. I loved her strong will and I loved how brave she was. I loved seeing her with her daughter and their bond was just so sweet and strong.
There is a slow-burning romance and I am definitely happy with how the author wrote it. I just loved seeing the characters get closer and closer together as the book went on. Though OK, at times it was a bit too slow and I wished they would just kiss already. 😛 But other than that very happy with how Malachi and Emoni found each other. I loved how sweet and patient Malachi was and how he was with Emma.
While I wasn’t always a fan of Tyrone (especially not the whole I can date but you cannot), he was a great father and really did his best to be there for Emoni and Emma. Sure, his mom was a handful (and being a terrible woman at times), but at least Tyrone was a good guy. I loved seeing him pick up his daughter, and at the end with his proposal… well I had a feeling it was coming given things in the book.
The trip to Spain was so much fun and I was delighted for Emoni that she could come with her group. I don’t see it as a spoiler given the whole book has things going well for Emoni. She learned so much while being there, and I loved the cook she had as a teacher. I also loved how mature she was, as her other classmates clearly showed they were still teens.
I loved Angelica, she was such a fun and sweet girl and I loved seeing her together with her girlfriend, Laura.
Abuela was also a terrific character. I have to say I was worried with the constant going to the doctor stuff, and was preparing myself for the worst. In the end something else turns out to be the reason why, but I kind of wish that maybe the author had picked another venue, because really I kept being worried throughout the book. I didn’t want to lose this great grandmother.
We also see Emoni’s father with whom she has not so good of a bond, which I could understand given how she only sees him once a year and other than that at times phone calls. Given how he practically dumped her with his mother when she was born. WOW. But I could see that he was a kind person and that he did mean well mostly.
Plus points to the absolutely stunning and beautiful cover. And I love that we see the food/fruit items come back with each chapter header.
Just a few things why this book isn’t a 5 stars, however there was enough good that the book was saved from a 4 stars.
1) The magical food that Emoni makes and how everyone thinks it is perfect and magical and stirs up memories and how people cry. I have never in my life see anyone cry about food or say it brought back memories. Not even in tv shows (and I watch a great deal of food shows). I have eaten at restaurants, food made by myself, by other people. They were delicious, they were great, and I would eat them all the time, but to say it stirred memories? Neither have I seen friends or family cry over food. I wouldn’t have minded the OMG memories/crying thing happening once or twice, but it kept happening and it felt really too much.
2) Emoni and her instinct. I am glad that she learned something because oh boy you could kill someone with that instinct. I know people who are lactose intolerant, I myself have nuts/peanuts/sesame/ and some others allergies, I know people who are allergic to garlic and other spices. You CANNOT just add stuff unless you tell people or put it on the list. You could kill someone. She was quite a drama queen when she was taught this lesson.
3) Drinking age in Spain is 18, not 16.
4) The Babygirl stuff and how she called her baby’s real name her government name. Whut? I have never in my life heard anyone say that nor call a given name that way. Plus, is she really going to call her baby Babygirl forever? I can tell you that will confuse the kid, not to mention she is coming to an age she may not be called a baby.
5) The ending just felt a bit to convenient. I understand that it may happen this way, but it just such a small small chance.
But all in all, this was a book I really liked reading and I am so glad I got a chance to do so. There was so much good to this book and I really liked the characters. I would definitely recommend it to all!