cover image Alice Fleck’s Recipes for Disaster

Alice Fleck’s Recipes for Disaster

Rachelle Delaney. Puffin Canada, $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7352-6927-9

Rising seventh grader Alice Fleck, 12, who has unruly “ginger-colored hair,” secretly enjoys being sous-chef to her culinary historian father as they whip up historically accurate, sometimes stomach-churning, recipes. But then her father’s “unnecessary” girlfriend, Hana Holmes, announces that she has entered the duo into their favorite cooking show, Culinary Chronicles, “quite possibly the friendliest cooking competition on TV.” Alice doesn’t want to be on-screen—or around Hana, since the program will be shot at the “week-long Victorian festival” Hana is lecturing at. Things go from sour to downright unsavory when the production team announces that the show has been acquired and transformed into Culinary Combat, evaluated by Tom Truffleman, “the fiercest judge in the world of competitive cooking.” As the contestants prepare Victorian dishes such as charlotte russe, suspicious kitchen accidents point to sabotage, and Alice and her new friends, two other children at the festival, must find the perpetrator—especially after Truffleman accuses Alice’s father of cheating. Detailing fascinating food history and delectable dishes, Delaney (Clara Voyant) serves a toothsome culinary caper amid a gentle, well-balanced portrait of one preteen’s journey toward accepting adaptability and change. Ages 10–14. Agent: Amy Tompkins, Transatlantic Agency. (May)