Review: Recipe for Disaster

Recipe for Disaster

by Aimee Lucido


Category: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Rachel J. Fremmer

Recipe for Disaster by Aimee Lucio is not just tasty but also filling. Rebelling by embracing tradition, Hannah embarks on secret bat mitzvah lessons, given by her mother’s estranged rabbi sister. Hannah explores what being Jewish means to her as she compares herself to - and unwittingly judges - her friends and relatives of varying Jewish commitment, observance, and background. An antisemitic incident makes her further examine her Jewish identity. Using the framework of recipes - for friendship, for Judaism - for Hannah, who loves to bake, is effective.
Recipe for Disaster is a clear contender for the Sydney Taylor Book Award. Its portrayal of a daughter of an interfaith marriage, struggling with her Jewish identity, obviously meets the requirement for authentic portrayal of Jewish life. With its beautiful writing and authentic understanding of this age group, it qualifies as “outstanding.”
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Reviewer Rachel J. Fremmer is a lawyer-turned-unemployed elementary-school librarian. She is a native New Yorker and lives there with her husband and two daughters, ages 16 and 13, who are rapidly outgrowing her area of book expertise. She loves baking and doing crossword puzzles.