Hey guys, I lost a relative yesterday. He had Covid and now his family is broken and distraught without him. I hope y’all are doing good and to people in India, please be safe and take immediate measures if you are tested postive or have any symptoms.
About the Book
Title: A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow • By: Laura Taylor Namey
Published on: 10 Nov 2020 • By: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Pace: Medium • Pages: 301 • Age: 13 and up
Standalone • Genre: YA Romance
Song: Clearly by Grace VanderWaal
Love & Gelato meets Don’t Date Rosa Santos in this charming, heartfelt story following a Miami girl who unexpectedly finds love—and herself—in a small English town.
For Lila Reyes, a summer in England was never part of the plan. The plan was 1) take over her abuela’s role as head baker at their panadería, 2) move in with her best friend after graduation, and 3) live happily ever after with her boyfriend. But then the Trifecta happened, and everything—including Lila herself—fell apart.
Worried about Lila’s mental health, her parents make a new plan for her: Spend three months with family friends in Winchester, England, to relax and reset. But with the lack of sun, a grumpy inn cook, and a small town lacking Miami flavor (both in food and otherwise), what would be a dream trip for some feels more like a nightmare to Lila…until she meets Orion Maxwell.
A teashop clerk with troubles of his own, Orion is determined to help Lila out of her funk, and appoints himself as her personal tour guide. From Winchester’s drama-filled music scene to the sweeping English countryside, it isn’t long before Lila is not only charmed by Orion, but England itself. Soon a new future is beginning to form in Lila’s mind—one that would mean leaving everything she ever planned behind.
Rep: Cuban MC, Bi (Jules) and Black (Remy) characters.
We meet our 17 year old Lila Reyes, the protagonist who is unable to overcome her grief of losing her abuela, breakup with her boyfriend and friend all at the same time. She could never digest the absence of these three people in her life and made no effort to move on. Her parents and elder sister are sick worried about her, so they pack her bags and send her for 3 months stay in Winchester with her aunt. At first she’s so reluctant to give Winchester a chnace but then she slowly warms up to the place and the people there.
•A Fierce Little Star and a Warrior Constellation
Lila is a passionate girl. She loves her abuela and cooking the most. It’s like she lost herself when her abuela died. She grew up holding a spoon and laddle and played around in the kitchen unlike other kids of her age.She is called a star (Estrellita) by everyone close in her family and no wonder they want her to see her shine again. I could understand her grief which was so loud and clear in the first part of the book.
The only comfort she finds in Winchester is the kitchen in the Owl and Crow Inn (her aunt and her husband run it together).
We can call her first meeting with Orion a meet-cute, though Orion was thoroughly chastised by her for his actions.
Orion, named after the constellation, is a guy who collects superstitions as a hobby. I found that aspect of his character very intriguing. His superstition collection was diverse; there was Indian, Greek, English, and many more. He also had a sweet reason to why he loves knowing about them.
It was through him Lila meets his gang and they were all amazing together. I loved Jules character a lot. She’s a singer-songwriter and kept a book ready to write down anything her friends would say.
Orion and Lila’s sister were similar. They were looking after their siblings and were worried about them. They were irritating at times but that’s how siblings are.
I loved how Lila warmed up to Flora in the last part of the book. They were always tense around each other for no reason. Later, Lila would teach her to bake and is there for her as a sister and friend. I loved reading about this bond they developed.
Orion was the tourist guide for Lila. He introduced her to many places in Winchester and London, and they’d just sit under a tree and enjoy yummy, good food and the view. As a person who loves reading about travelling, I enjoyed every part of Winchester and London explored in the book. There’s just something about how the places were described that made like the book.
•Galaxy of Golden Embers
I was annoyed at times how Lila would never stop comparing Miami to Winchester. But then I understood where she came from. Over the course of the book, you see how she outgrows her grief and begins to love the place. Her character development was slow and gradual and carried out perfectly.
There was this one scene where she glimpses Winchester in the night from a hill and she is speechless looking at the view. She feels guilty that she is already forgetting Miami and falling in love with this city.This conflict in her, which was often, was brought out well in the novel.
•The Cuban Siren Song Strikes Again
I will never deny that I never enjoyed reading about all the mouth-watering food Lila prepared in the book. I was so hungry while reading and I’d have even teleported into the novel to taste her cubano sandwiches. They sounded so yummy and delicious.😋
While Lila was known for her food, Orion was best with tea. Yes, that’s where the title comes into the picture. You see, everyone who comes to Maxwell’s (tea shop run by Orion and his dad) have their favorite flavor. Orion is dead set on finding which one would be Lila’s. It was so cute to see him trying to find it.
• Todo está bien- All is Well
Grief is something that wouldn’t fade away easily. It takes days, months, sometimes years to get over the loss of someone whom we loved. Lila’s love and her grief for her abuela was palpable. She felt older than seventeen in the book. She was broken and lost, but Winchester changed her life. She learned to move on from her past and carried all the love and lessons thought by her abuela to guide her course in the future. The last sentence of this book was so symbolic and the best ending she could have got. In the end, she learned that all is well when you try to change your life’s recipe with the help of those who love you.
A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow is heart-warming, delectable, and divine. I love book when characters grow into someone stronger than who they were in the beginning and this book kept that promise. Reading about Lila, Orion and about their story was sweet and sour. Their story was a perfect balance. It was a slow burn romance filled with so many stories that were worth bottling up.
This wasn’t just an ususal romance novel, it was about exploring culture through food and places. It was about a person who didn’t know how to move on, after losing her loved ones, to move forward . If you love YA Romance, or love books with travel stories and good food, then you should read this one.
Sometimes we have to want more than we’re given. So, this is me, wishing for someone as impossible and otherworldly as you.
TW // Death, Grief, Loss of a loved one, Self injurious behavior, Amnesia
About the Author
Laura Taylor Namey is the New York Times bestselling author of Reese’s Book Club pick A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow, and The Library of Lost Things. A proud Cuban-American, she can be found hunting for vintage treasures and wishing she was in London or Paris. She lives in San Diego with her husband and two children.
This former teacher writes young adult novels featuring quirky teens learning to navigate life and love. She holds a BA in Elementary Education from the University of San Diego and is the winner of the Peggy Miller Award for excellence in young adult fiction. Her third novel is forthcoming from Atheneum Simon and Schuster fall 2021.
Have you read this novel or is it on your TBR? Let me know your thoughts in the comments.
“Where there’s life there’s hope”
— J.R.R. Tolkien
I’m sorry about your relative, Isha, and I hope you stay safe!! I haven’t read this book yet but it’s on my tbr for a long time because I’ve been seeing amazing reviews. Lovely review!
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Thank you, Jan.❤
We all are staying safe for now and hope that the situation doesn’t get out of everyone’s control. I loved reading this book and if you like reading about food+romance+picnics, you might like it too.
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