Francie believed she was living a pretty perfect life until a new girl named Darlene arrived at her school. Darlene finds Francie’s baking aspirations odd (and for reasons not made clear, Francie actually cares what Darlene thinks) and immediately hones in on both Francie’s crush and her long-time best friend. But Francie keeps trying, even lying to her beloved grandma in order to defy her parents by going to a pool party.
All of her efforts to reclaim her best friend and maybe hook up with her crush are, of course, a recipe for disaster. Nothing goes as planned and Francie just alienates everybody even more. But things start to look up when Francie learns the school band (of which she’s a member) will be performing in the same town where her favorite TV baker will be. Francie hopes to convince him to allow her on the show, which means she’s more interested in that potential than the actual purpose of the band trip.
As a character, Francie was completely unlikable. It wasn’t just that she lied to her grandma, she was entirely self-obsessed. When a book begins with the main character fantasizing that she’s the heroine of one of her True Romance novels, I expect to read something like Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. Recipe for Disaster was nothing like that and quite a disappointment.
The novel would have worked better if everything had been fantastical, rather than trying to paint Francie as a down-to-earth albeit perfect teen. There were also some distracting oddities with the technologies in the book. For example, Francie uses the internet to enter a contest that would give her chance to meet Lorenzo, the celebrity baker she’s obsessed with, yet Francie also uses a cassette player and a landline. It was a struggle to read this book.
- Publisher: Kids Can Press
- Date of Publication: September 2009