Review: Taste Test by Kelly Fiore
by: Kelly Fiore
Publication Date: Aug. 27, 2013
Publisher: Walker Childrens
Age Group: Young Adult
Source: e-ARC provided by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Page Count: 352 pages
Order Links: Amazon | B&N
My Rating: 3/5 stars
I was quite excited to see this pop up on NG and even more excited when I got approved. I really enjoy cooking and while I've never really gotten into the cooking shows on TV, I still thought this would be a really fun story. And it was. While I would say this was just meh for me- I still enjoyed reading it. However, I found the characters to be very one-dimensional and didn't really see any character development.
I liked the main character Nora ok, but I did find her to be a bit immature. Especially when it came to Christian. But we'll get to him in a minute. Nora earns a spot on Taste Test and naturally has to deal with the assumptions that she's nothing but a country bumpkin from a few of the elite, rich kids. She is determined to prove herself and that she has a fighting chance of winning. Upon setting foot on the bus, she is immediately insulted and criticized by both Joy and Christian- two of the aforementioned elite, rich kids. What reality tv show would be complete without drama, right? Joy is a pampered princess who we think has something going on with Christian. It turns out Joy's taste in guys is a bit more advanced, which leads Nora to believe there is bias amongst the judges.
Nora and Christian have an interesting dynamic. They go from insulting and hating one another one minute to questioning their feelings for each other the next. Yet, I just didn't quite buy it. Christian is a straight up douche. He ran hot and cold the entire book with Nora. One minute he'd be insulting her, the next he'd be playful and teasing, and in the next he would be serious and almost vulnerable. It was hard to get a read on him and whether he was genuine or not because of the back and forth. They acted rather childish when it came to one-upping the other. I would have liked Christian a bit more had he shown some kind of redemption or bettering of his character in the end. But I didn't see that myself. Personally, I didn't find myself swooning over him at all.
Now, Billy, Nora's best friend? YES. He was sweet, caring, and encouraging. He is defensive of Nora and you can tell he has feelings for her. However, there really seemed to be no point in introducing his character as a potential love interest. It didn't go anywhere and seemed a bit awkwardly incorporated into the story. Such a shame- I would have preferred those two with one another, because it's a relationship I could actually believe. But Nora is too caught up with her infatuation/revenge with Christian.
I did like how there were interviews and such placed strategically through the novel. I thought that was pretty cool how the interrogator was trying to pit contestants and friends against each other and get the kids to try and say things they didn't necessarily mean. It was very realistic to what real reality tv shows try to do. I also liked the competitions and I wish we had seen a bit more of those instead of focusing on the drama surrounding it.
We do have a bit of mystery and intrigue in this book. Someone is trying to sabotage the competition by injuring contestants. Trying to figure out who was guilty of such heinous acts was really kind of neat, even though I hated who it ended up being.
Overall, not a bad read- there were definitely aspects I really liked and I tried not to focus on how much I disliked the love interest and just enjoy the story for what it was.