Book: Stir Me Up by Sabrina Elkins, Harlequin Teen, On Sale Now for $1.99 on Amazon
Book Info: YA contemporary romance, review copy received from Netgalley, 268 pages.
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Book Description (Goodreads)
Cami Broussard has her future all figured out. She’ll finish her senior year of high school, then go to work full-time as an apprentice chef in her father’s French restaurant, alongside her boyfriend, Luke. But then twenty-year-old ex-Marine Julian Wyatt comes to live with Cami’s family while recovering from serious injuries. And suddenly Cami finds herself questioning everything she thought she wanted.
Julian’s all attitude, challenges and intense green-brown eyes. But beneath that abrasive exterior is a man who just might be as lost as Cami’s starting to feel. And Cami can’t stop thinking about him. Talking to him. Wanting to kiss him. He’s got her seriously stirred up. Her senior year has just gotten a lot more complicated….
Stir Me Up is a sweet debut that satisfied my need for a feel-good book. This delicious romance is about an aspiring chef and an injured ex-marine living under the same roof. They are thrown together unwillingly by family circumstances but get flirty through food. If you like cooking with a little romance this is the book for you.
Cami is a girl who has always wanted to be a chef. How lucky to know what you want to do with your life when you’re 17! She’s trained in her dad’s French restaurant ever since she could walk, and she now works there full time while finishing up her senior year. The only problem is, her dad is set on Cami going right to university and not ready for her to trade a college degree for a chef’s hat. This brings up some interesting dialogue about post-high school options, and how the cookie-cutter college path does not always fit.
When Julian enters the picture, Cami’s life is turned upside down. Julian is her stepmother’s nephew and he lost half his leg in combat. He’s bitter and suffering from PTSD and just a grumpy patient all around who hates the loss of his independence. But Cami doesn’t let him get away with attitude, and throws her homemade streusel muffins at him when he doesn’t appreciate her gesture of breakfast in bed. Cami’s tough love medicine and delicious food thaws out Julian eventually and leads to something more.
The relationship starts out slow, one because Cami has a boyfriend, and two because Julian and Cami together are like oil and water. I like these opposites attract scenarios, and it turns out they have more in common than they think. Plus, Julian would never go hungry with Cami around. Cami’s cooking gets more and more creative as her relationship with Julian progresses.
I like that this book is as much about Cami and Julian’s life issues and career as about the romance. The romance is spicy too, but there is a lot of food for thought about family, personal development, and career goals. Would like to see more YA/New Adult books tackle this subject.
The relationship between Cami and her French father was very sweet. He’s a workaholic chef and worries about that path for her. It made me laugh how he would turn his nose up at his wife’s cooking, and the disdain for ranch dressing from a bottle. It was cute that Cami knew to speak French to her dad as a way to get him to listen to her.
There are many funny and sweet moments in this one that balance out the heavy emotional stuff. Sabrina Elkins cooks up a delicious romance between a young chef and an injured Marine and I ate it up. There’s even a couple recipes to try out at the end of the book. Looking forward to seeing what’s next on the menu from this author. And for a little Halloween fun, check out the Halloween bonus scene on the author’s blog!
Stir Me Up is a YA Fiction Cybils nominee.