5th May 2014, Stripes, 336 pages, Paperback, Review copy
Themes: loneliness, secrets, hoarder, teen carers, illness, illusions, baking, school life, friendship, fixed views,
Content: Some teen romance, humour, tissues needed
Summary from Little Tiger Press
Sixteen-year-old Lottie is on a mission to protect her biggest secret, and it’ll take every lie and every baking trick she can muster. Since her dad died, life hasn’t been the same for Lottie. When the school suggests she joins Bake Club to get her back on track, Lottie reluctantly agrees. The alternative – the school paying her mum a home visit – is not an option. But Lottie’s uncertainty about Bake Club melts away as she rekindles her love of baking and gets caught up with Mac, school rebel and another unwilling Bake Club member. As the end-of-year Bake Off approaches, the tension rises. Can Lottie keep up the façade of her perfect life? And can her bubbling romance with Mac survive the pressure?
Confession, I'm pretty sure I didn't properly read the blurb when requesting this first in a trilogy read. I saw the words bake club and was hooked! It's an awesome read, about several teens who all have major issues going on in their life. Lottie is looking after herself and her mother after her dad died. It's a huge strain which others notice. Lottie tries to keep up appearances, but there comes a time when the truth about her mother comes out. This is the reason why I didn't award full marks: I'd have liked a little bit more action on the school's behalf, and for Lottie to have more close calls with the school and her mother. Don't get me wrong, I loved how the secret came out, emotions were running high and I was in as much shock as Lottie, but I felt it was a bit too close to the end and could have benefited from having a bit more page time to explore the impact of the discovery for Lottie.
I felt desperately sorry for Lottie having to cope with do much, but she isn't the only one. I was far more interested in what was going on with shy bake club girl Ella who had secrets about her grandmother, and rolling my eyes at bake club's queen bee Grace who is rich and spoilt than the romance elements. The odd match of teens do end up supporting each other and calling each other friends before the book ends, which was touching to read. That partly happens because of a national baking competition which they end up being entered in.
I was over the moon with the bakery experience and the recipes at the start of each chapter because I'm going through a phase of adoring adult fiction where the female protagonist opens up a shop for sweet foods of varying types. Love, Lies and Lemon Pies fits perfectly into the genre, differing only in the fact that Lottie is at school so can't have her own business. I didn't try out the recipes since sadly baking takes up too much of my constantly low energy levels. I imagined the goods rather well though!
Find out more on Katy's website.
Check out other baking fiction for older readers like Meet Me At The Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan (Fiction, 10E/10E)