cover image Eli Over Easy

Eli Over Easy

Phil Stamper. HarperCollins, $19.99 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-311883-6

Thirteen-year-old Eli Adams lives alone with his father, who has become stridently protective ever since Eli’s mother, a test kitchen chef, died of Covid months ago. And now that they’ve moved away from family and friends in Minnesota to New York City, and Dad refuses to talk about Mom, Eli feels lonelier than ever. While using his mother’s computer to research project ideas for his virtual summer coding bootcamp, Eli stumbles upon her YouTube channel, where, he learns, she had been uploading instructional cooking videos. With the help of his cute tween neighbor Mat, who is spending the summer with his grandmother, Eli uses his mom’s videos to teach himself how to cook, hoping to feel closer to her. After a lot of failures, he slowly hones his skills, but his sudden interest in cooking worries his dad, who believes that Eli is becoming trapped in grief. Eli’s burgeoning self-expression—through both his cooking and his sweetly developing relationship with Mat—shines through in this tender, low-conflict drama in which Stamper (Small Town Pride) portrays myriad grieving processes and experiences with sensitivity and care. Eli reads as white. Ages 8–12. (Oct.)