Bake, bake, bake

It was when I was entering high school that I really got into baking. My younger sibling and I would take charge of all the family’s birthday cakes, whipping up layers and layers of cake and frosting. Additional hours upon hours were spent testing for the flakiest pie crust, finding the perfect chocolate chip cookie, and decorating delicate cupcakes–quite the fun and tasty endeavors.

Our very own Teen Advisory Board (TAB) has many a baker, and one of the first projects of this year’s TAB was to compile and create a fall zine filled with their favorite recipes to bake. Real life extends into fiction as baking (and food and cooking) happens to be a very popular trend in young adult publishing right now. You’ll find reads filled with aspiring patissiers, food competitions, rom-com hijinks, and heartfelt family stories.

So, as we head into prime cozy baking season, let’s take a look back at some sweet and sweet-filled teen reads. And, the next time you’re in the library, be sure to stop by the Teen Center for a copy of our latest Teen Advisory Board zine on baking. This issue collects six delicious recipes from the bakers of TAB, including wonderfully spiced cupcakes, a jiggly cheesecake, vegan brownies, and more.

“Rubi Ramos’s Recipe for Success” by Jessica Parra
Having grown up in her family’s Orange County bakeries, baking is in Rubi’s blood. But, her parents rather she pursue a law degree for a more practical career than continue in the family’s footsteps. Wanting to make her parents proud, she tries to get off the waitlist of a prestigious university. When a too-good-to-resist baking competition comes her way, Rubi will need to evaluate her priorities. Cuban-inspired creations will delight readers as will the swoony romance.

“Fake Dates and Mooncakes” by Sher Lee
Seventeen-year-old Brooklynite Dylan joins a mooncake-making competition to honor his mother and bring visibility to his aunt’s Singaporean Chinese takeout place which is facing eviction. When he meets Theo in a food-delivery gone awry, hijinks ensue. Classic rom-com tropes couple up with cultural discussions in this charming food-filled romp.

“The Dos and Donuts of Love” by Adiba Jaigirdar
It’s a dream come true for Bangladeshi Irish teen Shireen Malik when she is selected to compete on the “Junior Irish Baking Show.” Not only will she get a chance to show off her talents but joining the cast will put a much needed spotlight on her parents’ donut shop. Shireen will need to keep her focus off of her fellow competitors–which include her ex and a new crush–to make her way towards victory. This fast-paced and endearing pun-filled read is perfect for fans of “The Great British Bake Off.”

“Fatima Tate Takes the Cake” by Khadijah VanBrakle
High school senior Fatima bakes in secret–she aspires to become a pastry chef, which is at odds with what her family wants for her. An arranged marriage with her crush and a baking contest causes Fatima to wrestle with the weight of expectations and personal autonomy. VanBrakle explores complex family dynamics and a Black Muslim community in this story about aspiring pâtissier Fatima. Much food for thought.

Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

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