Saturday, August 15, 2009

Dear Julia

So a quick internet search yields over 43 million hits for "Julia Child". In these times of celebrity chefs and reality food shows, you may think that Julia wouldn't catch hold with the younger set, but you'd be wrong. With films like Julie & Julia opening to the tune of $20 million, Julia Child is as much of a pop culture phenom as she's ever been.

Elaine Hamilton has been writing letters to Julia Child since before she could spell. Elaine is the eye in the hurricane of her family, calmly waking before her 4 brothers and parents and preparing filling breakfasts, packing delicious lunches, and serving Friday dinners that could rival the local French Restaurant. Elaine is obsessed with Julia Child and haute cuisine.

Lucida Sans (aka Isadora Wilhelminetta Fischburger), on the other hand, wants to be FAMOUS! For what, she's not sure, but with her costumed existence, two mom headed family, and penchant for over-the-top solos during theater auditions, she certainly gets noticed.

Elaine and Lucida cross paths at the New Paltz Festival on the Green, when Elaine is handing out fliers for her feminist/politician mother, and Lucida's interpretation of Juliet brings about a chain of events of epic proportions resulting in some serious flames. Lucida takes a liking to Elaine, and being a girl with few friends herself, Elaine accepts an invitation to Lucida's for dinner.

Thus begins an opposites-attract friendship that brings Elaine out of her shell, and helps to tone down Lucida. The pages are filled with amazing foodie moments, characters that are bigger than life, and wacky revenge plots. Amy Bronwen Zemser has written a fun-filled book examining what it means to be a family, a friend, and oneself. Elaine's brothers are hilarious with cross-dressing Chris taking the cake, and Lucida herself is a delight. As Cindy Dobrez of Bookends puts it, "the whole book was so over the top that those crazy elements work."

While the setting is high school, this is the perfect book for a more sophisticated tween reader. There is a dash of romance, lots of ups and downs about friendship, and two odd-girl-out characters who are totally endearing and independent.

A laugh-out-loud read for girls...finally.


Esme Raji Codell said...

Great review, Stacy. Sigh! Love your rec's and your blog. Thanks for keeping up the excellent work...

Stacy Dillon said...

Thanks for stopping by, Esme! Right back at you!

Questa said...

I stumbled upon this book here and the cover was so enticing that I bought it. I don't regret it. Thanks for the review!