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If you live for food, so should the books you read
The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender and The Belly of Paris by Emile Zola are two novels that revolve around food.
For many of us, food is life and life is food. We spend our days thinking about where we’ll be enjoying our next meal, and our nights dreaming of meals we’ve enjoyed in the past. So why not fill your non-eating waking hours with stories involving great food? From classics to under-the-radar tomes, we’ve rounded up 10 novels that every food-lover should read.
10 Novels Every Food-Lover Should Read (Slideshow)
Over the years, thousands of novels have been written that involve food one way or another. After all, eating is a big part of the human experience, and that’s exactly what novels are supposed to capture, right? But some novels don’t just mention food in passing, they revel in it, bringing it front and center, making food as much of a character as the book’s protagonist.
There have been plenty of non-fiction books written about food; it’s hard to not get a kick out of reading about some famed gourmand’s travels throughout the world, eating everything they can get their hands on. But it’s less common to find novels that revolve around food, even though some spectacular ones have been written. You’d be hard-pressed to find a bookstore with a fiction section all about food, so we thought we’d make some suggestions for those looking for novels that make food pop right off the page.
Even if your life doesn’t revolve around food, these novels are still an extremely entertaining read. There are plenty of great non-fiction books that we’d also suggest, like Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, but these authors’ ability to weave narratives around the beauty of food, all while describing dining and gustatory pleasure in florid prose, will certainly make you hungry while teaching you something about how powerful food is, and how it’s about so much more than just eating a meal.
Read on to learn about 10 books that deserve a place on your reading list.
5 Books All Chefs Should Read
In every career, it’s important to hone your craft and build new skills. The culinary arts are no different: the very best chefs are constantly learning and growing, reading the top books and literature in their field.
While it’s important to learn – and then practice – proper cooking techniques, like blending spices into your dishes, your learning journey should go beyond pots and pans. Reading and continuing education should be equally important ingredients to mastering the culinary arts and becoming a top chef.
Here are five of the best chef books in the library that will expand your knowledge. They’ll expose you to ideas and techniques from culinary gurus…and they’ll give you a basis for developing your own approach in the kitchen.
If you want to go even deeper, explore our college’s accelerated online curriculum or request a guide on learning more bout the culinary arts.
30 Best Books for Teens for Young Adults to Read Right now
Some of these novels may be on required reading lists, but they definitely won't feel like homework.
Whether your teen is a certified bookworm or a reluctant reader, everyone can benefit from diving into a good novel. Teens who read widely can better handle complex concepts, score better on standardized tests, and are often more accepting of those who are different from themselves. And for a lot of teenagers who claim to hate reading, finding the right subject matter may prove the difference between grumbling over finishing their required reading list and devouring a new novel without coaxing.
Because middle grade and young adult books have more to offer than ever before, there's no shortage of great literature available that speaks directly to the life and times your Gen Zer. You may already know the seminal works by literary legends like Harper Lee and J.D. Salinger, the fantastical takes spun by J.K Rowling and the heartstring-tugging high school romances that made John Green a household name. If one or all of these speaks to your kiddo, we've got deeper cuts that will have them frantically downloading their next read. But if they don't bat an eyelash at those, we have more offbeat options that could strike their fancy. No matter where your teen falls on the book-loving spectrum, we've got something on this list that won't get an eye-roll.
This delightfully weird boxed set starts out when Jacob Portman journeys to a mysterious island off the coast of Wales following a terrible family tragedy. There, he finds the ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children and so, so much more.
Esperanza Cordero is a young Latina girl who's just trying to figure herself out while growing up in Chicago. Sandra Cisneros first penned The House on Mango Street more than 25 years ago, but her lessons on challenging stereotypes of the immigrant experience still hold up today.
Between her temperamental cat, accidentally shaving off her eyebrows, and all of the cringe-worthy hijinks that come with being an awkward teenager, this book is laugh-out-loud hilarious and almost too relatable. Guaranteed to boost any bad day within the first five pages.
Then-18-year-old S. E. Hinton set the groundwork for YA fiction when she wrote The Outsiders in high school, with a book that spoke directly to her peers. Ponyboy's journey shows that things can go too far very quickly when you're willing to do anything to belong.
It's been 20 years since we first met the boy who lived, but the adventures of Harry and friends Hogwarts still resonate with teens today. Relieve the experience by reading along with your kids, right from the book that started it all.
After Julia's sister Olga passes away tragically, her broken family looks to her to hold them together. But Julia isn't the perfect daughter her sister was. Then again, was Olga? This story delves into the pressures of being a Mexican-American daughter and what it means to carry the weight of loss on your shoulders.
Since the 1970s, Judy Blume has won more than 90 awards for her ability to nail the inner turmoil of teens. In one of her most well-known, Margaret Simon longs to just grow up already in a story that's just as relatable as the day it came out.
If your teen missed the sensation before it became a blockbuster, slide this dystopian adventure their way. You'll root for Katniss Everdeen as she fights for her life in Panem's annual Hunger Games in a world that's eerily similar to our own even as it feels foreign.
This cult favorite takes a stark look at the heartbreaks, friendships, and weirdness of high school in all its honest glory. Kids who feel misunderstood may find a kindred spirit in Charlie, as he navigates the rocky road between childhood and adulthood.
Mark Haddon's novel follows a boy with autism who is working to solve the murder of a neighbor's dog. The language gives readers a look inside the complicated mind of Christopher John Francis Boone, offering a new perspective on an entrancing narrative.
After her mother dies by suicide, Leigh travels to Taiwan to seek answers. This beautiful, surreal story is perfect for any teen who has ever lost someone, as it explores the many ways grief can manifest, as well as the healing power of family.
Even reluctant readers will find something to love in this absorbing New York Times bestseller. It explores a Nazi society in which a young girl's passion for reading feeds her soul when all else seems hopeless.
Eleanor and Park aren't your fairytale lovers. They understand that first love almost never works out, but that doesn&rsquot mean they won&rsquot try. Set in 1986, this offbeat romance captures how young love can feel desperate, overwhelming, and catastrophic.
This iconic novel follows a group of schoolboys who survive a plane crash only to get stranded on a remote island. The chilling story reveals how much extreme circumstances can bring out people's true nature.
This unique book is narrated half by moody and artistic Noah and half by his daredevil twin sister Jude, which gives readers a glimpse into how both twins experience family tragedy, breathtaking romance, and a search for their place in the world.
When 16-year-old Starr witnesses a police officer fatally shoot her unarmed best friend Khalil, the divide between her poor neighborhood and her suburban prep school becomes even clearer. This is an important book on police brutality and racial inequality that every teen should read.
John Green's debut into contemporary fiction offers up a new perspective from the kid who isn&rsquot the nerd or the most popular, but somewhere in between. The protagonist leaves his safe, predictable life looking for The Great Perhaps, a concept that will entice any teen who feels a bit restless.
Every teen girl's nightmare happens in the first book in this series: All of Lara Jean's love letters get sent to their unintended recipients &ndash at the same time. It sends her love life into chaos in this fun romantic romp that's far more entertaining to read than it would be to experience.
With more than 18 million copies sold in 40 languages, it doesn't get much more classic than the late Harper Lee's tale of conscience in a small southern town. It gets right to the heart of human behavior: Who's innocent, what guilty means, and the limits of love and hate.
This suspenseful thriller has it all: A private island where the well-heeled Cadence spends her time, mysterious goings-on, and a group of friends who aren't what they seem. The twist at the end will floor your teen, guaranteed.
Elie Wiesel's account of his time in Nazi death camps is horrific and graphic, but it's a powerful and necessary read. Teens who enjoyed The Diary of Anne Frank may want to pick up this one next.
J.D. Salinger's tale of teenager Holden Caulfield who wanders the big city was first published more than 70 years ago. While some of the New York City landscape may seem old-fashioned, the way Holden desperately keeps his pain inside is a timeless teenage turmoil.
This book weaves together the worlds of seven women in a bleak inner-city sanctuary called Brewster Place. It offers an eye-opening portrayal of just how many paths a woman's life can take, as well as the struggles, strengths, and fierce hope of black women in America.
Falling over the edge can seem so normal, especially when you appear fine to the outside world. This story about a bright, successful girl's struggle with mental illness has much in common with Plath's own experience, and makes a great introduction to the author.
George Orwell's tale of a dystopian world where the government is always watching isn't just eerily prescient. It also demonstrates how crucial free-thinking is to protect, especially to readers whose minds are most malleable.
This National Book Award finalist addresses the complicated challenges that surround speaking up about rape and assault. If you don't know how to start a conversation with your teen on the topic, let this powerful book guide the conversation.
Barack Obama summed up Toni Morrison's Nobel Prize-winning novel best at the Presidential Medal of Freedom Ceremony in 2012: "I remember reading Song of Solomon when I was a kid and not just trying to figure out how to write, but also how to be and how to think." If that's not an endorsement, we don't know what is.
When Meg and her little brother Charles Wallace find a strange woman in their kitchen one stormy night, they never expect the adventure that will follow. Sci-fi fans shouldn't miss this classic that will also entice those who don't typically enjoy the genre.
After an explicit video of Lulu goes viral and her picture-perfect boyfriend dumps her, she feels like life is over. But then she meets the extremely offline Cass who brings Lulu to the no-phone-zone that is The Hotel. As they spend more and more time together, Lulu starts to rethink her relationship with social media. After reading, your teen will too.
The students who go to Catherine House know they've made a special commitment to the isolated school: No contact with the outside world for three whole years, no TV or internet, or even their own clothes. But Catherine House has something amazing to offer in return, even if few realize exactly what that is.
50 Books All Kids Should Read Before They're 12
From picture books to graphic novels, fantasy to family fun, these must-read books have the power to hook kids of any gender. Some are cultural touchstones that belong in every kid's library. Others open kids' minds to cultures beyond their own. And some are recent releases that have the timeless quality of classics -- the kind that get handed down to siblings and passed around classrooms. Whether you have a reluctant reader or a budding bookworm, consider these surefire, kid-tested titles. (We've included a few rated best for 12 and up for the precocious readers out there!) For more great picks, check out our Best Book Series and Best Book Series for Early Readers.
Want more? Check out our Summer Reading List to build your kid's personal library.
By Ayad Akhtar
At once personal and political, Akhtar’s second novel can read like a collection of pitch-perfect essays that give shape to a prismatic identity. We begin with Walt Whitman, with a soaring overture to America and a dream of national belonging — which the narrator methodically dismantles in the virtuosic chapters that follow. The lure and ruin of capital, the wounds of 9/11, the bitter pill of cultural rejection: Akhtar pulls no punches critiquing the country’s most dominant narratives. He returns frequently to the subject of his father, a Pakistani immigrant and onetime doctor to Donald Trump, seeking in his life the answer to a burning question: What, after all, does it take to be an American?
10 Museums That Need To Be On Every Food Lover's Bucket List
George Bernard Shaw had rightly said, "there is no love sincerer than the love of food." From spicy Chicken Tikka to exquisite Soupe à L'oignon and decadent chocolate cakes, what's not to like?
And if you're someone who fancies exploring the rich history behind some of the world's most popular foods (while munching on delish food samples) then look no further than a food museum.
Check out these popular museums that are a must-visit for all food lovers who have a hunger for travel:
1. Deutsches Currywurst Museum, Berlin, Germany
Currywurst is a German fast-food favorite. The quirky museum offers a sneak-peek into the interesting history of the fried sausage dish. You can listen to the story of its origin on a sausage-shaped telephone while sitting on a sausage-shaped couch. What's more, you can play currywurst-themed video games, prepare a virtual sausage using interactive exhibits, take some selfies behind a mock-currywurst bar, and of course, scarf down a few spicy samples.
2. Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum, Yokohama, Japan
The museum's first floor is dedicated to the history of the popular noodle dish. While the basement floors feature a beautiful, detailed replica of Tokyo's old town, Shitamachi. It also includes a recreation of the first ramen dish ever eaten back in the 17th century. The lower floor also houses nine different restaurants which serve ramen bowls from different regions of Japan. According to the museum, there are at least 30 distinct, regional varieties of ramen in Japan. Meanwhile, you can also create your own brand of ramen at the 'My Ramen' booth in the museum's shop. How do you say "take me there" in Japanese?
3. Pizza Brain, Philadelphia, United States
Curated by pizza aficionado Brian Dwyer, this quirky museum houses the world's largest collection of pizza paraphernalia. And if browsing through all those pizza-themed books, vinyl records and action figures makes you a little peckish, you can head over to the attached pizzeria to gorg on a few slices.
4. Le musée du chocolat, Paris, France
"All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt," wrote famous American cartoonist, Charles M. Schulz. He couldn't be more accurate! If you're a chocolate enthusiast like me, then the chocolate museum of Paris definitely needs to be on your bucket list. Also known as Choco-Story, the museum has over 1,000 exhibits that cover everything from the origin of cocoa beans to commercialization of chocolate-making. Moreover, you can also taste delicious treats made by expert chocolatiers or create one yourself at one of the workshops. Excusez-moi, s'il vous plait, need to book some tickets!
5. Frietmuseum, Bruges, Belgium
Located in northwest Belgium, it is the world's only museum dedicated to French fries. On its ground floor, visitors can learn about the interesting history of potatoes which originated in Peru over 10,000 years ago. The first floor is dedicated to the history of French fries and how they came to Belgium. According to historians, the Belgians have been eating fried potatoes since the late 1600s. Once the tour is over, you can head over to the medieval cellars located on the basement floor to chomp on some free samples!
6. Museum Kimchikan, Seoul, South Korea
Made with fermented vegetables, Kimchi is a staple in Korean cuisine. The museum's aim is to educate visitors about the making of this traditional side dish. You can check out a special exhibition that focuses on various regional varieties of kimchi. Other than that, visitors can use a microscope to observe the lactic acid bacteria that makes the pickled dish nutritious. Additionally, you can treat yourself to a wide range of Kimchi in a unique tasting room.
7. The Herring Era Museum, Siglufjörður, Iceland
Icelanders take their fish very seriously. And the Herring Era Museum proves just that. Located in a small fishing town, it's the largest maritime museum of the Nordic nation. It illustrates the importance of Iceland's herring industry and it's role in the country's history. Good herring seasons during the great depression of the 1930s, "played a role in enabling the country to achieve freedom in 1944, following five centuries of Danish domination," explains the museum website. The museum boasts of a great number of artifacts, including heavy machinery, boats, motors, anchors and smaller hand tools that were used in fishing and processing of the fish. In addition, visitors can buy quirky merch from its souvenir shop like handmade barrel tubs and pins that look like vintage barrel stencils.
8. The National Mustard Museum, Middleton, United States
Complete with assorted mustard memorabilia, interactive food quizzes and a tasting bar, this place is every mustard enthusiast's paradise. The star attraction is the museum's Great Wall of Mustard – an extensive collection of over 5,600 types of prepared mustard from all 50 U.S states and more than 70 countries. And oh, did I mention that the entry is free?
9. The Cheese Museum, Alkmaar, Netherlands
Located on the upper floors of Alkmaar's Cheese Weigh House, the museum focuses on the history of two most famous Dutch cheeses: Edam and Gouda. It houses a vast collection of cheese-related tools along with interactive exhibits and presentations for kids. If you happen to visit Alkmaar between April and September, don't forget to check out its world-famous cheese market.
10. Jell-O Gallery Museum, New York, United States
The museum is located in the town of LeRoy which is also the birthplace of Jell-O, the wobbly gelatin dessert. Decked with recipe books, vintage advertisements, molds and other memorabilia, a visit to this fascinating museum is bound to make you hungry. Also, don't forget to check out their quirky souvenir shop that sells everything from Jell-O plush toys and pencils to license plates and color changing cups.
Now book the tickets and pack your bags, it's time to take your taste buds on an adventurous journey!
Pancit is a traditional Filipino noodle dish that Cora is learning to cook along side her mother. What I’m most looking forward to reading is Cora’s experiences in a large family as a second generation Filipino-American.
Buy the book: Cora Cooks Pancit by Dorina K. Lazo Gilmore
Matilda Macaroni schools her parents on trying new foods in this delightful role reversal. You see Matilda has a very diverse appetite but her parents are quite picky so she flips the script by making dinner to encourage them to try some new foods.
Buy the book: How to Feed Your Parents by Ryan Miller
Quarantine Vegan Meals with Store Cupboard Ingredients
Vegan professional chef Gas Oakley of Avant Garde Vegan will show you how advanced culinary techniques can help to transform humdrum vegan meals into something of excellence yet approachable for everyday dining.
Green Kitchen Stories is a must-visit website and the YouTube channel for Veganism 101. A vegan husband-wife team, David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl (a certified nutritionist) will showcase their takes on vegans and how they make it work in their plant-based family with 3 kids.
The 7 Best Cookbooks Every Home Cook Should Own
Like the dang 1/4 teaspoon, a good cookbook can be hard to find.
If you are a dedicated home cook you will understand this. If you know someone who is a dedicated home cook, they will understand this, which, subsequently, makes it almost impossible to buy them a cookbook that they will not only like but use.
As the Food & Nutrition Editor of Men's Health, I'd estimate that I've paged through more than 1,000 cookbooks in my life. Publishers send me copies. I peruse new releases at bookstores. People give me cookbooks as gifts. I've even written two myself. And of those 1,000-plus cookbooks, there are only seven (other than my own, of course) that I return to regularly.
That's because cookbooks tend to fall into three camps.
1. The most popular and most useless camp: Fussy chef cookbooks
These cookbooks, written by high-end chefs, are often totally out-of-touch with the average home cook. They are prestige projects for the chefs who write them, an opportunity for readers to peer behind the curtain and wonder in the mystique that is their ego.
They're demanding of their readers' time, energy, and willpower to track down esoteric ingredients and labor over complex procedures.
They're gorgeous, but belong on a coffee table, not in a kitchen.
2. The not-as-popular and slightly-yet-useless camp: Hyper-specialized cookbooks
The lasagna cookbook! The grilled cheese cookbook! The strawberry banana Greek yogurt cookbook!
Look, useless you're one of those people who only eat certain types of food groups, these cookbooks are often too narrow to be practical.
And, because of their specialized nature, many of the recipes within are often a stretch in terms of concept and deliver&mdashas if overcompensating to prove their worth.
A grilled cheese recipe where you make your own American cheese and the jam that goes with it sounds intriguing in theory, but in the second hour of DIY American cheese creation, you'll begin to wonder about the practicality.
You'll likely find a recipe or three you like within these types of cookbooks, but the frustration the rest of the cookbook brings often outweighs its novelty.
3. The rare and incredibly useful camp: Powerfully practical cookbooks
These are the cookbooks that you can repeatedly turn to feed yourself without sacrificing too much of your time and sanity. These are the cookbooks that understand you as a reader and don't ask too much of you, yet encourage you to do more than just the norm. These are the cookbooks that you will dog-ear, stain, and replace once or twice because they will fall into beloved dilapidation.
Of the thousand of cookbooks I've seen, here are seven of these cookbooks.
Anjali Pathak is a dedicated home cook, informed by the lessons she learned within a family of dedicated home cooks. Yet her approach to Indian flavors feels modern and, at times, totally wild.
Her recipe for Blazing Burgers comes with a beet, horseradish, and yogurt slaw that tempers the burn of red chiles mixed into the beef patties. Her Drunken Chicken roasts atop a mixture of beer, ginger, and coriander seeds. Her Slow-Cooked Tamarind-Glazed Pork with pomegranate seeds and chipotle paste is a feat of contrasting yet somehow complementary flavors.
The book includes dhals and kebabs and tikis, too, each with their own twists. Every recipe is an adventure into technique and flavor not for the sake of the chef, but for the enjoyment of the executor.
As a longtime food editor for The New York Times, Melissa Clark gets it. You don't have a lot of time to pull together the last meal of the day, but if you have to eat another frozen pizza you're going to lose it.
Most of the recipes in this book require less time to make than it takes to go and pick up a large pepperoni. That's because Clark uses intensely flavorful ingredients that don't require extensive amounts of time to cook.
The Fried Halloumi with Brussels Sprouts are surprisingly flavorful for a mere eight ingredients. The Chile & Ginger-Fried Tofu will reshape everything you think you know about tofu. And the Pizza Chicken. Oh, holy wow, the Pizza Chicken.
I've cooked every recipe in this cookbook. Every. Single. One.
The Dollar Dumplings (easy and addictive). The Pesto Ramen (world-colliding). The Corn Cheese (drunk-munchie delight). And if you've never experienced the sheer simplicity and joy that is a St. Paul Sandwich (eggy, spicy, pickle-y, mayo-y amazing), then it's about damn time.
Each dish is a delight not only in flavor, but presentation. It pretends to be nothing it isn't. And it's funny.
Cooking is fun. More cookbooks should be funny.
My wife hates this cookbook. I'll defend it till I cook my last meal.
Sure, Jamie is a little lax with how he defines "15 Minutes," but all the prep and dishes serve a higher purpose. Although my wife may begrudge the work involved in the Blackened Chicken San Fran Quinoa Salad, we'll both relish the results (and leftovers). Maybe the Chorizo Carbonara Catalan Market Salad doesn't need the homemade sherry vinegar dressing, but it's always gone come dinnertime. And, okay, many of the recipes involve either a blender or a food processor, but how else are we going to enjoy those Black Bean Beef Burgers with Noodles & Pickle Salad, huh?
It looks like a fussy chef cookbook. One flip through and it scans like a fussy chef cookbook. But cook just one recipe from Taste & Technique and you'll understand that Naomi Pomeroy is doing more than offering you what to cook&mdashshe's teaching you how.
Recipes carry tough-love notes about not burning the onions. If an ingredient is a little out-there (gelatin, say) she explains why it's a necessity (so the tarragon mousse doesn't drop into the soup). And even though some of the multi-stage recipes offer easy-outs by dubbing certain components "optional," there's an implied encouragement that putting in the extra effort will pay delicious dividends.
Pomeroy's Baked Camembert with Armagnac Prunes, Mushrooms, and Thyme is one of the richest, most decadent, most "worth it" dishes you will ever taste.
It's the source code. Any graduate of the Culinary Institute of America owns, or has owned a copy. Yes, it's massive. Yes, the recipes are scaled for restaurant preparation. Yes, it's technical at times.
But there's no better all-in-one culinary reference guide to turn to for chicken broth, clam chowder, leg of lamb, beef wellington, or any number of other iconic dishes that are now canonized in the modern American culinary world.
Written, in part, by the wife of Roald Dahl, this cookbook is as imaginative as Roald's art for crafting incredible children's stories.
You can make Fresh Mudburgers inspired by James and the Giant Peach. There's the Wormy Spaghetti from The Twits. If you feel so inclined, there's even the Lickable Wallpaper from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Okay, maybe it's not practical in the sense that you'll be making Bruce Bogtrotter's Cake every weekend. But there's also practicality in the sense that when you start to grow bored of cooking, it's helpful to have a reminder that you don't have to cook boring food.
Hutton, Ronald: Triumph of the Moon
Triumph of the Moon is a book about Pagans by a non-Pagan, and Ronald Hutton, a highly respected professor, does an excellent job. This book looks at the emergence of contemporary Pagan religions, and how they not only evolved from the Pagan societies of the past, but also owe heavily to 19th-century poets and scholars. Despite his status as a scholar, Hutton's breezy wit makes this a refreshing read, and you'll learn far more than you ever expected to about today's Pagan religions.
14 Kid-Approved Books for Advanced Fifth and Sixth Grade Readers
Does your reader love books full of complex characters and thought-provoking themes? Do they get excited when they discover a “really thick” book they haven’t read yet? Do they want to be challenged but still find themselves deeply immersed in a great story? It can be hard for 10-, 11-, and 12-year-old readers who read at a high school (or higher) level to find books that meet their reading needs but are still appropriate for their age and experience. For readers like this, I worry less about what Lexile or Guided Reading level a specific book is and look for books that will offer them a chance to go deeper in their thinking about characters and situations.
Here are 14 books that are loved by young readers on Bookopolis.com that offer unique character voices, complex plots and themes, and high page counts to engage fifth and sixth grade advanced readers.
Fantasy and Science Fiction
These are recommended for readers who enjoy complex characters, extensive world-building, and rich writing.
The Glass Sentence
Time travel, history, and magic come together in this unique fantasy that spans time and place. Sophia is a clever and observant girl from a long line of mapmakers who have been mapping the New World since the Great Disruption of 1799, when all the continents were scattered into different time periods. The story begins in 1891 and Sophia’s parents and uncle have all gone missing. She and her friend Theo embark on a mission to save her family and figure out what is really happening to their world. Sylvie, 11, raves, “I loved this book because it had adventure, action, and great storytelling. The adventure was great with exploring not only the world, but Sophia herself. I also loved the way the author created characters who I would want to be friends with.”