I’m back (or at least, I hope I’m back.) The start of this school year has been super stressful and the last thing I seem to want to do at the end of the day is write. But, I miss it and so I hope that my inspiration and drive for updating more regularly has returned. Thanks for sticking with me!
I have read a bunch of great books that I know I need to write about because even though the writing stopped, the reading definitely didn’t. I’ve actually made an effort to read some non-fiction intermixed with my fiction reading and some of them are really good. So you may find some of those recommendations here.
However, I just had another great book that was not only a great YA novel but it is inspiring my travel bug pretty heavily. That book is A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey. This book came as a surprise – I was expecting another adorable YA rom-com and I didn’t expect that it would have some real depth.
Lila has had the worst 6 months of her life: First, her beloved Abuela passed away. Then, her boyfriend of three years dumps her days before her Senior Prom. Finally, her best friend who has been her rock decides to up-end their plans for college by leaving for a gap year program in Africa, leaving Lila feeling completely alone. After a significant depressive moment, her parents decide to send her to live with her aunt, uncle, and cousin in Winchester, England for the summer – to regroup, relax, and hopefully find some peace. After initial stumbles, Lila finds her footing, both her passion for baking (inspired by her bakery-owning Abuela) and some new friends that teach her the true meaning of friendship and love.
I loved that this book, while packaged as a teen romance, was really about a girl dealing with grief, loss, and depression. She thinks very seriously about the future that she has laid out for herself and is able to think about if that is what she really wants. I appreciate that Lila struggles with figuring out who she is and what she needs from her life. She is open to hearing criticisms and changing her behaviors. She was a beautifully imperfect character.
The second thing about this book is that it made me really want to plan visits to Miami, Florida and England. As you know from my previous posts, I am easily influenced by the places and foods about which I read! Therefore, I decided that I desperately needed access to the delicious treats that Lila bakes! The place where I feel like I could try those delectable Cuban delicacies is, of course, Miami, Florida. Since that’s not in the cards, I turned to the best (and only) Cuban place that I love in the Washington DC area – The Colada Shop.
I dragged Mr. Librarian to pick up Cuban coffee and the delicious guava pastelitos. They didn’t disappoint. Now, I can’t say they are the best – mostly because they are the only ones I’ve tried. I now need to find more Cuban bakeries to sample and report back on the best pastelitos that I can find.
I also need to find a traditional English tea. There is a side plot about Lila finding her signature tea. I definitely want to do that – in addition to eating Lila’s takes on traditional English tea treats. Biscuits, buns, and more: I need it all.
Read this, but expect the wanderlust and salivating mouth. It is worth it.
A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey, expected release date: November 10, 2020