By Rajani LaRocca
Can Mimi undo the mayhem caused by her baking in this contemporary-fantasy retelling of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream?
Eleven-year-old Mimi Mackson comes from a big Indian American family: Dad’s a renowned food writer, Mom’s a successful businesswoman, and her three older siblings all have their own respective accomplishments. It’s easy to feel invisible in such an impressive family, but Mimi’s dream of proving she’s not the least-talented member of her family seems possible when she discovers a contest at the new bakery in town. Plus, it’ll start her on the path to becoming a celebrity chef like her culinary idol, Puffy Fay.
But when Mimi’s dad returns from a business trip, he’s mysteriously lost his highly honed sense of taste. Without his help, Mimi will never be able to bake something impressive enough to propel her to gastronomic fame.
Drawn into the woods behind her house by a strangely familiar song, Mimi meets Vik, a boy who brings her to parts of the forest she’s never seen. Who knew there were banyan trees and wild boars in Massachusetts? Together they discover exotic ingredients and bake them into delectable and enchanting treats.
But as her dad acts stranger every day, and her siblings’ romantic entanglements cause trouble in their town, Mimi begins to wonder whether the ingredients she and Vik found are somehow the cause of it all. She needs to use her skills, deductive and epicurean, to uncover what’s happened. In the process, she learns that in life, as in baking, not everything is sweet. . . . (Courtesy of goodreads.com)
Adult Point of View
I loved Mimi! She has such a passion for baking but doubts herself. Even with her doubts, she presses forward and tries. She is also kind, energetic, and deeply wants a friend. There are clues and concerns. Her dad isn’t himself, her siblings are in love (one with himself), and the neighbor keeps stopping by. If it wasn’t for her new friend she’d be lost. I love how the book centers on family and friends. Her new friend Vik has some secrets of his own. I liked how he has a strong motivation for all of his actions. I think kids will question if he is good or bad but will be happy by the end.
This would be such a fun book for kids to read after seeing A Midsummer Night. They would love picking out the characters and events. LaRocca is masterful in her story, both incorporating Shakespeare’s tale and writing a new storyline centered around middle-graders fear and love.
I wish the book included some recipes. Everything Mimi made sounded so delicious, I want to try making them.
This is an excellent debut novel and I highly recommend it.
5 out of 5 stars
If you loved Midsummer’s Mayhem, try The Dragon With a Chocolate Heart by Stephanie Burgis and The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol.
If you can’t find anything to read, send me a message, and I’ll help you find a book. The world is full of adventure, and we all deserve to live it.