The thing about Ms. Warren's writing though, isn't just that she has great characters, it's that she tackles some tough subjects in her stories and strikes you in the heart with how real it feels. Grace and Max both have things in their lives that are hard. Max most especially, and the way Ms. Warren handles it is brilliant. Max's choices aren't always the right ones, but yet you understand why he makes them. He's got such a tender heart and doesn't want anyone else to suffer with him. Which is noble, but still. Nobility is for the birds! Grace is so good for him though. I really enjoyed watching their friendship bloom.
Relationships that start from a friendship are one of my favorites to read about. And Max and Grace have an amazing friendship! They understand one another and work so great together, especially in the kitchen. The cooking competition was fun! Plus it gave them something to bond on. And the way that continues throughout the rest of the story is so sweet. They take care of each other.
Yes, obviously their relationship is the highlight of the entire story. But there's so much more awesomeness in between their bickering and fun! I loved seeing the other couples from the first two books show up. (Another thing I love about a series like this. Where each book can be a stand alone, yet the characters all connect and show up in each one.) And just the Christianson family as a whole is wonderful. The way they care for and love each other is just how a family should be. It made me want to jump into the story just to be part of them all! :)
So. In short, I think you should definitely read this one. It's fabulous and lovely and fantastic and...well, you get the picture. Read it!
"She and the other girls took me under their wing. They would let me help make the late-night snack, and they'd talk about boys and high school, and I felt like they let me into their world."
"So food isn't really about food for you," Max said, finishing his shrimp. "It's about camaraderie."
"Sometimes I don't even eat what I make. But I always watch people eat it. I love it when they make those little sounds of joy." She closed her mouth. "Mmm...yum...those sounds."
"Like these?" He slurped, then licked his lips.
She laughed. "I like watching people be happy."