- Title: Love from Scratch
- Author: Kaitlyn Hill
- Publisher: Delacorte Press
- Release Date: 4/5/22
- Genre: Contemporary Romance
- Age Range: Young Adult
- Rating: ★★★★
- Publisher’s Summary: This summer, Reese Camden is trading sweet tea and Southern hospitality for cold brew and crisp coastal air. She’s landed her dream marketing internship at Friends of Flavor, a wildly popular cooking channel in Seattle. The only problem? Benny Beneventi, the relentlessly charming, backwards-baseball-cap-wearing culinary intern–and her main competition for the fall job. Reese’s plan to keep work a No Feelings Zone crumbles like a day-old muffin when she and Benny are thrown together for a video shoot that goes viral, making them the internet’s newest ship. Audiences are hungry for more, and their bosses at Friends of Flavor are happy to deliver. Soon Reese and Benny are in an all-out food war, churning homemade ice cream, twisting soft pretzels, breaking eggs in an omelet showdown–while hundreds of thousands of viewers watch. Reese can’t deny the chemistry between her and Benny. But the more their rivalry heats up, the harder it is to keep love on the back burner…
I am a big fan of the Food Network, and we all know I have a soft spot for books that center around cooking and food. Basically, Love from Scratch is a book made just for me, and I thorughly enjoyed it.
Reese and Benny’s relationship is the heart and soul of this book. While Reese doesn’t initially have a positive impression of Benny, it doesn’t take long for her to realize that he is caring and compassionate and worthy of her time. I love that they can joke around and call each other funny nicknames (like “Reese’s Pieces” and “Benedict Cumberbatch,” but that they can also have deep and vulnerable conversations about the bullying Reese has faced and Benny’s complicated relationship with his family’s business. It is clear that their romantic relationship has a basis in friendship and caring that is pure and sweet.
Reese’s friends from Kentucky, Clara and Nat, are also a critical part of the story. Reese is presented as a pretty shy person, so it was nice to see that she has loyal and supportive friends to confide in before she finds that in her relationship with Benny. Also, since Reese is so far away from home, her conversations with Nat and Clara provide details on what her life there is like.
As someone who loves the Food Network, I enjoyed getting a behind the scenes glimpse into what goes into making a cooking show. Of course, it’s not just about those in front of the camera, and I appreciated that Reese’s initial role at Friends of Flavor is in marketing working on social media for the channel. I also wish that Amateur Hour, Reese and Benny’s Friends of Flavor show, was real because I would absolutely watch it.
I also appreciated that Love from Scratch addresses sexism in television. Reese reads inappropriate comments about her body on Amateur Hour and is essentially told that she should clean the kitchen instead of Benny because she is a girl. This puts Reese in a particularly uncomfortable position as an intern because she doesn’t feel like she can say anything about it. It was also nice to see Benny recognizing the sexism and making sure to check in and support Reese in these moments.
There are also moments where Love from Scratch addresses the issues that come with fame and being recognized. Not only does Reese face internet trolls, but she also has to figure out how to set boundaries when fans cross the line at a convention. It is important that Love from Scratch doesn’t shy away from these issues around being in the public eye and that it shows Reese receiving support from those around her.
Love from Scratch is Kaitlyn Hill’s debut novel, and I am excited to see what she writes next.