The Baking Life of Amelie Day
Publisher: Curious Fox
In some ways Amelie Day is a teenager like any other, much of her day-to-day life revolving around her best friend, school, loyal boyfriend and fretful mother. However, in other ways, she is rather less typical. Amelie is also obsessed with baking. At every available opportunity, she is to be found inventing new recipes or rushing to the kitchen to whip up a succession of delicacies with which to delight family and friends. Her talent has even won her a place in the televised Britain's Best Teen Baker of the Year.
However there is a rather major obstacle in her path. Amelie has Cystic Fibrosis. With the illness impacting more and more on her daily life, the chances of attending the competition finals in London are looking slim. A happily separated Mum and Dad and her beloved boyfriend mean she has a great support system around her, but no one wants to Amelie to exert herself and risk making her Cystic Fibrosis worse. If she wants to show off her 'flour power', she's going to have to go it alone.
Whilst suitably light and bubbly in places, this isn't a sickly sweet read. It is a book enriched by thought-provoking substance and with a dramatic (and surprising) climax and some unresolved questions. The descriptions of life with Cystic Fibrosis ring very true, suggesting the author has genuinely researched the subject, which can only improve understanding of the condition. Meanwhile, the copious references to cupcakes, cookies, cheese straws and muffins are utterly mouthwatering - and the chapters are interspersed with some of Amelie's 'favourite' recipes, guaranteed to inspire young readers to pick up a whisk or a wooden spoon themselves.