Monday, November 9, 2020

#AmReading YA

A Cuban Girl's Guide to Tea and Tomorrow

Laura Taylor Namey
Age/Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publisher: Atheneum Books
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads
Love & Gelato meets Don’t Date Rosa Santos in this charming, heartfelt story following a Miami girl who unexpectedly finds love—and herself—in a small English town.

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 panaderĂ­a, 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.
Lila had her future all mapped out! Her boyfriend and best friend would go to college in Miami, while she assumed her responsibilities at the family bakery. Yes, the future looked bright until her beloved grandmother passed away, her boyfriend broke up with her, and her best friend left for Africa. With her heart broken beyond repair, her family shipped her off to England, which helped Lila come to terms with her heartbreak and her future. 

I don't want to sound like a fangirl, but SQUEEEEE! I LOVED THIS BOOK SO MUCH! I adored the characters, the setting, the romance, the familial love, the food, and of course, the feels delivered by this stupendous story. 

Let's start with the food. Wow! So. Much. Food. I expected to read about a lot of baked goods, and let me tell you, they all sounded amazing, but there was also a plethora of Cuban dishes sprinkled throughout. Namey did a beautiful job helping me "taste", "smell", and "see" each culinary delight. My advice - don't read this book on an empty stomach. 

It was also fantastic being transported to Winchester, England. I simply loved touring the town with Lila. The picnics, stargazing, and motorbiking were some of the highlights, and I loved that the town served as more than just a backdrop. I felt the warmth and kinship of its inhabitants and delighted in the new friendships Lila made there. 

As much as I adored all these things, it was the characters who stole my heart. I instantly loved Lila and couldn't help but want to soothe her pain. She suffered "the trifecta" of losses, and each had such a profound impact on how she saw her world. It was wonderful to see her making so many new and important connections after everything she had lost. Orion and his circle welcomed Lila with open arms, and they played a big role in easing her heartache. I had a lot of fun with this group and counted Lila lucky to have found them. 

Lila's family was also stupendous. Though Lila was not pleased that they plotted this whole getaway in secret, she grew to understand that they did it, because they loved her. They were so sweet and supportive, and even when Lila wasn't sure about her life, their belief in her never wavered. I was drowning in their outpouring of love and affection, and I enjoyed every minute of it. 

The summer didn't turn out the way Lila thought it would, it turned out better! Though she suffered some grave losses, her world expanded in leaps and bounds. By moving out of her comfort zone, Lila discovered so much about herself, her abilities, her dreams, and her desires. Not only was I super warm and fuzzy at the end of this book, but I was overwhelmingly proud of Lila and the way she grew. 

Overall: A wonderful story of love, loss, and self discovery made better with enchanting characters, a fantastic setting, and lots and lots of delectable food. 

**ARC received in exchange for an honest review. 


 

Favorite type of tea?
Let us know in the comments!

20 comments:

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    1. It was. I was all smiles at the end of this book.

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  2. Wow this sounds good despite not being a big contemporary fan. Family plots are always important to me in contemporary books and tea always get a plus.

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    1. I really liked that Namey kept her family in FL involved, and she re-bonded with her cousin in England, while also picking up some found family. It was very sweet. You would like how they spend time trying to find her perfect tea.

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  3. I love stories like this where the characters show so much growth. Your collage makes this an even more tempting read too. :)

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    1. Thanks! I like when authors leverage the location for a story, and Namey did a great job taking me out and about.

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    1. It was, and those are my favorite kinds of books

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  5. Oh, this sounds like such a wonderful read! I love that Lila is able to grow and find happiness when things seemed bleak.

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    1. My heart definitely went out to her in the beginning of the story, but I feel like she discovered so much about herself and came out stronger and with a lot more clarity about herself in the end

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  6. I love the sound of this book. The characters sound wonderful and I love that the food and setting helped to bring the book to life. Great review!

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  7. Your love for this one really comes through your review! I love the way family plays such a big role... always a plus. And great mood board!

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    1. Thanks, Tanya, and YES! Including positive family interactions is a plus for me...always.

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  8. I haven't really been in the mood for YA lately, but this is one that keep catching my eye. After reading your review and how excited you were for it, I think I am going to have to read it eventually. It just sounds so good! Great review!

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    1. It was fun and cute and I had a great time reading it.

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  9. I added have this on my TBR, but your passion for it shines through, so I'll have to make sure I can get my hands on it soon!

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    1. It was such a delight. There are certain things I always love seeing in books, and Namey put them together so well in this one

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  10. A Cuban Girl's Guide to Tea and Tomorrow sounds absolutely amazing! I am always down for a lot of mentions of delicious food and I also really like the sound of it all being focused on the characters and having them totally steal your heart. I have been lacking on my YA contemporary reading lately and I seriously need to get back into it. I love earl grey and green tea a lot at the moment :D

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    1. There are so many amazing contemporaries out there. Just depends on what you are in the mood for. My daughter likes green tea, but I cannot drink it without sweetener, so I stick to spiced teas or fruit teas.

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