Rubi Ramos’s Recipe for Success by Jessica Parra #JessicaParra @WednesdayBooks @sophiarose1816

Posted June 14, 2023 by Sophia in Book Review / 20 Comments

Review copy was received from NetGalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Rubi Ramos’s Recipe for Success by Jessica Parra #JessicaParra  @WednesdayBooks @sophiarose1816Rubi Ramos's Recipe for Success by Jessica Parra
on May 16, 2023
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Graduation is only a few months away, and Rubi Ramos’s “recipe for success” to get into prestigious Alma University is already off track.

When Alma waitlists Rubi’s application, Rubi will need to be distraction-free to make the grade and keep her parents—who have wanted this for her for years—from finding out. Which means falling for her cute surfer-slash-math tutor, Ryan, definitely won’t work. And neither will breaking her mother’s ban on baking—her parents didn’t leave Cuba so she could bake just like them.

But some recipes are begging to be tampered with.

When the First Annual Bake Off comes to town, Rubi’s passion for baking goes from subtle simmer to full boil. Add to the mix her crush on Ryan may be turning into a full-fledged relationship and Rubi’s life is suddenly so different from what it was. She’s not sure if she has what it takes to win the Bake Off, or where the relationship with Ryan is going, but there’s only one way to find out—even if it means going against her parents’ priorities.

Now Rubi must differentiate between the responsibility of unfulfilled dreams she holds and finding the path she’s meant for.

A teenage girl must figure out whether she lives up to her beloved parents’ expectations and go off to college and be a lawyer, or embrace her own joy of baking with a sprinkling of first love on the side.  Jessica Parra’s debut standalone work forecast the feels for a sunny, summery coming of age tale and- I couldn’t pass up that stellar cover.

Rubi’s parents emigrated from Cuba to the US and baking is their livelihood.  They want something more than they have for their daughter so her mother squelches any of Rubi’s pesky tendencies toward wanting to bake and push her toward college and the legal career to follow.  Rubi dutifully obeys the baking ban even though her head is full of dreamy desserts and she’s got a little problem with math keeping her from being accepted into college.

Enter sweet, handsome surfer and math tutor, Ryan O’Reilly who is easy on Rubi’s eyes and they build a rapport when they share their teenage burdens.

All seems to be going well if shakily until Rubi spots that tempting baking contest that comes to town and her true longing surges to the forefront and she has to start keeping secrets from her parents.

Rubi Ramos’ Recipe for Success was the light teenage story I was expecting and I would have not guessed it for a debut effort.  I loved the focus on Rubi and her family showing their Cuban American roots and immigrant dreams.  Rubi wants to honor her parents’ efforts to get them where they are, their love and dreams for her, and be true to her Cuban roots.  For her, this is food and community.  I enjoyed her hilarious baking witticisms about her life, feelings, and thoughts.

It felt very much the YA story with Rubi’s actions and choices, but it’s not deeply dramatic which suited my mood.  Rubi and Ryan have a tender, sweet first crush romance and Rubi has a great friend group, but this is more secondary to Rubi figuring out how to do what she loves and get her parents’ blessing for it and this involves baking her heart out in the baking contest.

Side note, all the foodie mentions had me salivating so I warn others that food will definitely be on the mind.

So, a cutie YA full of family, friends, baking, and first love hit the spot and must be considered for the summer beach read stack.


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Posted June 14, 2023 by Sophia in Book Review / 20 Comments

20 responses to “Rubi Ramos’s Recipe for Success by Jessica Parra

  1. This does sound like a fun YA read, especially with her Cuban heritage being such a big part of it. Does it come with recipes, too?

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  2. This sounds like a lovely YA story and I like how you describe it as not deeply dramatic as I don’t care for that. The foodie element has me curious too. Great review!

  3. I’m not a big YA reader, but I need one for my Romance Reading challenge. This sounds like something I’d enjoy. Sweet and not overly angsty or drama-filled. Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. Happy to see that this book was able to fit your mood just right. Thats always the best to see in a story. Its always nice that a YA doesn’t have crazy amount of drama, but a more realistic take on it.

    Great review.