Review: Midsummer’s Mayhem by Rajani LaRocca

Title: Midsummer’s Mayhem
Author: Rajani LaRocca
Release Date: 6/4/2019
Publisher: Yellow Jacket
Pages: 352
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Eleven-year-old Mimi dreams of winning a baking competition judged by her celebrity chef idol. But she loses her best helper when her food writer father returns from a business trip mysteriously unable to distinguish between delicious and disgusting. Mimi follows strangely familiar music into the woods behind her house, meets a golden-eyed boy, and bakes with him using ingredients they’ve found in the forest. Then everyone around her suddenly starts acting loopy.

Squabbling sisters, rhyming waitresses, and culinary saboteurs mix up a recipe for mayhem in this Indian-American mashup of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and competitive baking.

Midsummer’s Mayhem was one of the cutest books I’ve ever read! I’ve started to really enjoy retellings the past few years, and this one was done so well. A Midsummer Night’s Dream isn’t a play I’m completely familiar with, but going into this novel I did know the basics of it. Since this is a middle-grade novel though, I really liked seeing Rajani LaRocca incorporate the play and give a brief synopsis of it in her story. You can’t make comparisons if you don’t know the original story, so the fact that she did this is really going to help readers find the similarities between the two.

Overall, this book was really just so much fun. I read it in two sittings because when I would pick it up I wouldn’t want to put it down. The story was fresh and fun and I felt like the pacing was perfect. At no point did I feel like things were dragging too slowly, instead everything had the appropriate amount of urgency behind it. LaRocca’s characters were also wonderful. Each one was so full of life and personality and showed great development throughout the novel.

The dynamic of the Mackson family was incredible! The way Mimi interacted with her sisters and brother felt so authentic. They would argue a lot and not see eye to eye at times, but you could also tell they all really loved each other. Mimi’s mom works a lot, but she always tried her best to attend games, performances, and activities. It also seems like most of the time we see parents and their children not getting along, so it was refreshing that Mimi not only adored her mom and dad, but also that they were supportive of each of their kids’ interests.

Life isn’t about succeeding or failing. It’s about trying your best, and loving what you do, and being kind.

midsummer’s mayhem by rajani larocca

Be prepared, because this book will make you hungry. Throughout the entire story, Mimi bakes so many absolutely scrumptious sounding treats. LaRocca did an excellent job of describing the baking process and all of the yummy ingredients. I actually let out a happy squeal when I saw recipes included in the back of the book. The kitchen is not part of my apartment I’m the most comfortable in, cooking and baking has really never been easy for me, but I still love reading about it. I was wanting to try and make some of the cookies from one of the recipes in the back, but wasn’t able to spend the extra money at the store this time. Instead, I picked up some pre-made funfetti cookie dough because I just couldn’t resist baking something.

This is actually LaRocca’s debut into the middle-grade world, but it feels like what she’s been writing for years. Midsummer’s Mayhem is one that absolutely needs to be added to your TBR this summer. Everything about it was wonderful and it really is one that is great for anybody that enjoys middle-grade fiction.

A physical ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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