eARC Review: Bacon Pie by Candace Robinson & Gerardo Delgadillo and Author Interview with Candace Robinson!
Release day April 13, 2018!
When a showdown between Lia and Kiev lands them in the principal's office, they're forced into volunteer work at the cringe-worthy Piggy Palooza Festival, or risk being suspended. Lia and Kiev aren’t thrilled about the situation, especially when it interferes with Lia's relaxed life and Kiev's theater role. But by working together, they may find more than just bacon—possibly a little love in the air.
Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.
Authors: Candace Robinson & Gerardo Delgadillo
Publication Date: April 13, 2018
Publisher: Evernight Teen
Page Count: 241
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Cover Artist: Jay Aheer
My Rating: ★★★
High school is a defining time for teens. Studying, extra-curricular activities, and love interests, are all large focal points in the lives of students. For Kiev, Lia, Cole, and Barnabas, this all holds true. Kiev, a theater-lover aspires to be cast for the role of Horatio in the Shakespeare play school is putting on. Lia, an old-school video gamer, spends much of her time hanging out with her best friend Barnabas. Cole, a girl-hungry teen, constantly seeks out his next love interest. Each is on his or her quest for individuality.
These differences, however, cause issues between the characters. Kiev tends to be a know-it-all, even if he doesn’t mean to be. He gets a bad rapport with Lia after answering her questions in class. She assumes that he is trying to show her up, and it infuriates her. One day, when confronted by Kiev about why she doesn’t like him, she punches him in the nose. The two are sent to the principle’s office and punished for the altercation.
Kiev and Lia are force to set their differences aside when they are both mandated to work community service at the local Piggy Palooza event. After spending some time with one another, they begin to realize that their opinions of one another were jaded. As true feelings begin to surface, the two must work out their feelings about one another, and help one another through trials to come.
All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.
When I first heard the title of this book, I couldn’t help be curious about it. While the Young Adult contemporary genre isn’t really my style, I still wanted to check this book out because I’ve been following (one of) the author(s) since her first book was published. As always, the writing style and quirkiness throughout this book do not disappoint. The reader is able to quickly immerse themselves in the story without much obstructing their path.
Bacon Pie is set in a small town in Texas, where the hot and dry climate is palpable. Because the setting takes place in a realistic present-tense, not a lot of world building is necessary to immerse the reader in the plot. Notably, the region is important, as its population has a lot of diversity.
Pacing & Readability
I find that contemporary books do not require much prompting in order to get the plot moving. The same is true here, as Bacon Pie, from the opening scene to finale feels as though I’ve stepped into the character’s lives and understand exactly where they are at. The pacing remains consistent, with few valleys of slowness here and there.
Point-Of-View & Characters
The point-of-view alternates between Kiev and Lia. I felt that Kiev was definitely the main character between the two, but they both were well-developed for the plot.
Kiev Jimenez comes from Latino origins. At home, he, his father, and sister only speak English, while at school he speaks English. Kiev’s mother left a few years ago, and they haven’t seen her since. Her leaving caused a fissure between him and his sister Vi. Amidst juggling his strained homelife, Kiev has a deep passion for theater and is rather knowledgeable. His goal is to become Horatio in his school’s play.
Lia (Ophelia) Abbie has grown up with two dads. Spending most of her time with her close friend Barnabas, she immediately reveals her feelings about Kiev and his close friend Cole.
Cole Novotny serves as the comic-relief throughout the story. Constantly stalking the school halls for his next love interest, he relies on Kiev to reign him in. While he is comical (at times), his immaturity is apparent in the way that he handles each and every situation.
Monica Serrano serves as a partial antagonist. Interested in Kiev, she causes jealousy to blossom between Cole and Kiev’s relationship. Later on, when a certain young woman changes her perspective of Kiev, Monica becomes the “competition.”
Diversity is represented racially and sexually. Majority of the more prominent characters come from families with diverse traits. Kiev and Monica are both Latino/a, and Barnabas comes from a culturally diverse family as well. Lia has two fathers (along with a mother who isn’t in the picture much).
While this isn’t as big of a theme, I thought it mentionable. Kiev’s mother left his family a few years back, causing a big change to take place in his daily life. His sister Vi was deeply affected and retreated within herself. Struggling to cope with the loss of her mother, Vi spirals into her own bought of depression and harmful coping methods. The repercussions of her methods estrange her from others and make her difficult to interact with. In the end, she was able to reach out to her mother in order to tell her how she felt about the fact that she left them behind. I think the way the affected characters handled this aspect ended in a positive light.
Assumptions between characters are constantly causing issues. Because no one directly confronts others, assumptions are made. This is most apparent in Lia’s opinion of Kiev. However, when she learns the truth behind what she thought was true, she realized that what she had made to be a big issue, was nothing at all.
Things that I liked:
⇒ The writing is seamless and there isn’t an obvious gap between each writer’s voice.
⇒ It was an easy and quick read.
⇒ The diversity.
⇒ The incorporation of Shakespeare.
Things that I didn’t like:
⇒ The language.
⇒ While I liked the comic relief that Cole’s character brought to the story, I didn’t care for his “mouth.” He reminded me too much of those kids back in high school that got away with murder because they were “smooth talkers” even though they weren’t (if that makes sense.)
⇒ At times the plot would lag a bit and wasn’t constantly engaging me. However, I think this is preferential on my end, rather than it being the fault of the book.
⇒ The underaged drinking.
Overall, I thought this was a likable read. While I don’t normally read Young Adult Contemporary, I find that when I do, they serve as great palette cleansers between dense and lengthy books. It’s nice to be able to pick up a book and finish it in nearly one sitting, due to its likable characters and dash of quirkiness. While I didn’t care for the amount of language used, and Cole’s (sometimes obnoxious) personality, it didn’t sway me from appreciating the easy flow of conversation and plotline.
This Q&A features author Candace Robinson!
About Candace Robinson
Candace Robinson spends her days consumed by words. When she’s not writing stories, she maintains a book review blog. Her life consists of avoiding migraines, admiring Bonsai trees, and living with her husband and daughter in Texas—where it can be forty degrees one day and eighty the next.