After struggling to cope with the death of his brother, Carlos goes against his parents’ wishes and decides to travel to the United States to eat at the renowned restaurant, Provencho. There, he hopes to honor his brother by following in his footsteps, by taking a detour from his carefully planned out life in Mexico. With a stroke of luck, he manages to secure himself a job as a dishwasher at Provencho. His culinary skills garner the attention of his colleagues as well as the head chef, who decides to teach Carlos the art of cooking. Unfortunately, he begins to fall in love with the chef’s daughter, Emma, something that could end his career as a cook and send him packing back to Mexico. To be honest, this book did not reach my expectations. After reading Never Always Sometimes, I expected a book that was funny but still managed to retain its romantic atmosphere. But in this book, I felt that the humor was dry and the relationship between Emma and Carlos was poorly developed.
- @Vaseline of the Teen Review Board at the Hamilton Public Library
North of Happy is the first book I have read by widely acclaimed author Adi Alsaid, and I have to say I was rather intrigued by it. This book starts off right into the depths of the story which already captivates the reader because there is no extra material; we get to know Carlos right from the start and see how broken down he is six months after his older brother, Felix’s, death. He sees Felix in everything he does, and his face forms in everything in front of Carlos. One day, at his high school graduation party, Carlos does it. He listens to the pigeon who has taken the form of Felix and starts packing his bags, ready to leave but with no idea where to go. One of Felix’s letters leads him to a restaurant in Needle’s Eye called Provencho, a place where Felix longed to have a meal but died before he could. But soon Carlos realizes it’s not just a meal he needs, it’s the breakthrough away from the path mapped out for him and the grip his father has on his life. Carlos’s wishes are seemingly granted when he meets Emma, the daughter of the restaurant’s head Chef, and gets a job as a dishwasher. But when his relationship with Emma is noticed by the Chef, he must realize what is more important to him; the kitchen where the Chef is starting to realize his cooking potential, or the best thing that has ever happened to him. Initially this was a book that I wasn’t that interested in but slowly I started enjoying his time in the kitchen, if nothing else. Rating 3.5/5
- @jewelreader of the Teen Review Board of the Hamilton Public Library