A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea & Tomorrow Review & Inspired Recipe

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

My Thoughts: 

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. Read More »

THE BOOK OF YOUR READER DREAMS: The Library of Lost Things Review

Summary (from the publisher):
GUEST_4b82a404-b296-4ed9-b8d9-523a6b7d5fddFrom the moment she first learned to read, literary genius Darcy Wells has spent most of her time living in the worlds of her books. There, she can avoid the crushing reality of her mother’s hoarding and pretend her life is simply ordinary. But when a new property manager becomes more active in the upkeep of their apartment complex, the only home Darcy has ever known outside of her books suddenly hangs in the balance.

While Darcy is struggling to survive beneath the weight of her mother’s compulsive shopping, Asher Fleet, a former teen pilot with an unexpectedly shattered future, walks into the bookstore where she works…and straight into her heart. For the first time in her life, Darcy can’t seem to find the right words. Fairy tales are one thing, but real love makes her want to hide inside her carefully constructed ink-and-paper bomb shelter.

Still, after spending her whole life keeping people out, something about Asher makes Darcy want to open up. But securing her own happily-ever-after will mean she’ll need to stop hiding and start living her own truth—even if it’s messy.

 My Rating: 5/5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I think it’s safe to say that most readers love books about characters who are readers  or books that take place in bookish settings. The Library of Lost Things hits both of these reader dreams, as the main protagonist, Darcy, spends most of her time with books. A lifelong reader, literary genius, & bookstore employee, Darcy constantly finds herself surrounded by books.

The Library of Lost Things is such a relatable read for readers because of Darcy. Her family life has often forced Darcy to hide her personal life from her classmates, other than her super supportive friend, Marisol. Literature is Darcy’s sanctuary in numerous ways. Between this comfort and her genuine love for books, I found myself keeping post-it notes by my side throughout reading to mark some of my favorite reader-inspired quotes. Some more bookish-ness comes into play of course with Darcy’s part-time job working at the bookstore. The Library of Lost Things is a cozy read for plenty of reasons, but Yellow Feather books is definitely the most cozy of them all (aside from its grumpy owner). Laura Taylor Namey’s descriptiveness left it so easy for me to picture the setting.

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With a book about a book-loving character, Laura Taylor Namey definitely delivers on the literary references. I really enjoyed how each chapter started with a literary quote in line with said chapter’s theme. While I don’t much about this classic other than its Disney adaptation, I really enjoyed how a certain children’s classic is incorporated into the story, and I didn’t see some of the allusions coming.

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