Summary (from the publisher): For Lila Reyes, a summer in England was never part of the plan. The plan was 1) take over her abuela’s role as head baker at their panadería, 2) move in with her best friend after graduation, and 3) live happily ever after with her boyfriend. But then the Trifecta happened, and everything—including Lila herself—fell apart.
Worried about Lila’s mental health, her parents make a new plan for her: Spend three months with family friends in Winchester, England, to relax and reset. But with the lack of sun, a grumpy inn cook, and a small town lacking Miami flavor (both in food and otherwise), what would be a dream trip for some feels more like a nightmare to Lila…until she meets Orion Maxwell.
A teashop clerk with troubles of his own, Orion is determined to help Lila out of her funk, and appoints himself as her personal tour guide. From Winchester’s drama-filled music scene to the sweeping English countryside, it isn’t long before Lila is not only charmed by Orion, but England itself. Soon a new future is beginning to form in Lila’s mind—one that would mean leaving everything she ever planned behind.
My Rating: 5/5 Stars
After having absolutely loved Laura Taylor Namey’s debut, The Library of Lost Things, in 2019, I could not wait to get my hands on her sophomore YA novel, A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow. Everyone knows that a love a book about books & bookstores, which were both at the heart of The Library of Lost Things, and everyone also knows that I love books that have anything to do with baking, which is at the heart of A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow! Suffering from the loss of her grandmother, not to mention being dumped by her longtime boyfriend and having a falling out with her best friend, Lila needs a breathe from life in Miami and helping run her family’s Cuban American bakery… at least that’s what Lila’s family believes. Much to Lila’s dismay, Lila’s family sends her to England for the summer to live with her aunt and family and try to regroup after losing so much. At first, Lila wants nothing to do with Winchester, but with the help of a tea-delivering, charming friend, she begins to find herself – or a new version of a herself- once again.
I read A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow in less than 24 hours with the biggest smile on my face. I knew I was likely to swoon over this book, but I didn’t realize how much I would fall in love with it! Before I jump into the book itself, I have to take a moment to swoon over the cover! I love the pink and green color scheme so, so much, and the illustrated characters are just how I would imagine Lila and Orion! I also love how Lila’s red flip flops, Orion’s gray cardigan, and some Cuban inspired treats make there way on to the cover as well. I honestly just want to transport myself into this scene!
Lila is one of my favorite YA protagonists of 2020. Her character and storyline just feel so authentic. While a few of us would jump at the chance to spend the summer in England, Lila really wants nothing to do with the trip and would do anything to go back home to Miami and run the family bakery with her best friend & sister, Pilar. It does take the first few chapters for Lila to begin to embrace life in England, thanks to Orion and being able to lend a hand in her aunt’s inn by helping out with the daily baking. Orion and Lila’s friendship is a huge part of the book, and their development was done so well. Although they have chemistry from the start, I really loved that friendship was the basis of their relationship and how they helped each other out along the way. I also just genuinely loved the side characters both in Miami and Winchester.
I could not tell you how many times this book made me want to eat the food and desserts mentioned right off the pages! I started reading A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow on a rather gloomy Friday and I did take a reading break to make some chocolate chip cookies because I was so inspired by Lila’s baking. While Lila has to stick to the traditions and recipes of the inn’s cook at first, Lila can’t help but add her own touch and Cuban flair to the desserts. I loved how she’d cook and bake for everyone in her life at a moment’s notice. I absolutely loved her character development and the way her story ended. It was so heart-warming and heart-breaking to read about Lila’s relationship and grief over her grandmother. Another relationship that I loved was Lila’s relationship with her best friend, Stefanie. I feel like we don’t see a lot of friend break-ups in YA books, and Lila and Stefanie’s friendship journey again felt so, so real and is very relatable for anyone going through that high school to post-high school or college transition stage of life.
Overall, I absolutely loved A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow because it featured so much of what I love in my YA contemporaries: family & friendship, romance, baking, and specifically, a girl trying to find herself again. Although Lila discovers hat her future might not be what she imagined, it is still as lovely as it should be. A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow is absolutely a 2020 YA contemporary not to be missed!
A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow comes out on November 10, 2020.
This review is based on an advance reader’s copy. By no mean did receiving this ARC & being included on this blog tour affect my thoughts opinions.
I wanted to devour ALL of the food Lila creates in A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow right off the pages! While I wish I could make pastries as well as Lila, one of my go-to treats to make at home is banana bread. I’m always experimenting with new recipes, with my latest one included here. This was my first time using honey and oil in my banana bread, and I liked the consistency. My biggest tip is to definitely use 3-4 ripe bananas – while the textures is right with 2 bananas, it doesn’t have a super banana-like taste.
Is A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea & Tomorrow on your TBR? What’s been your favorite dessert or treat to bake lately? Have you read The Library of Lost Things? Share in the comments!