|Sixteen year old Sophie Dumbrowski, is an adorably inept teen living above her family-owned Polish bakery with her man-hungry mother and her spirit-conjuring grandmother, who together, are determined to find Sophie the perfect boyfriend.But when Sophie meets two hot guys on the same day, she wonders if this a blessing or a curse. And is Sophie’s inability to choose part of the reason the bakery business is failing miserably? The three generations of women need to use their heads, along with their hearts, to figure things out…before it’s too late.BOOK INFO
Young Adult Contemporary
Published by Omnific Publishing
Released July 15, 2014
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One Smart Cookie is a book I’ve been really excited for to read. Having many Polish friends myself, I just knew I had to get my hands on this book, and man — it definitely gave me some HIGHLY ENTERTAINING reading hours.
Summer vacation have finally started and Sophie Dumbrowski has sworn to make her summer unforgettable – such as by getting a boyfriend. Or simply having a good time with her best friend, Teegan. What she definitely does not expect is to be fired by her mother on the very first day from her workplace in their family-run Polish bakery – or to be “ditched” by her BFF for a potential boyfriend. Now it is time for Sophie to find a new job (her mother won’t pay for college which is a nightmare!) as well as her own boyfriend. And yes, this of course results in a complete mess.
There were so many aspects in the story that were simply adorable. First of all, Sophie herself. Her wit and repartee captured me from the very first page and it was so much fun seeing how she deals with the mess she’s finding herself in, especially when it comes to getting used to her new job in a pet shop. She never minces her words and always does exactly the thing she feels is right, which often results in more than hilarious situations and I really admired her for her boldness. Also, the dialogues between her and her mother: priceless!
Busia, Sophie’s grandmother, was probably my favorite character in the whole book. Her Polish accent as well as her superstitious character were just freaking adorable and I can honestly say that she is one of the cutest and most endearing characters I have ever met. It was so much fun seeing her making the “deals” with Dola for Sophie! Anyway, I guess this is exactly what I liked about the book: The hilarious, yet somewhat serious clash between Polish culture and the Chicago environment which is reflected in the family dynamics in the Dumbrowski household. Needless to say, it sometimes felt like watching a ticking time bomb just about to explode; yet, you cannot deny the charm of the three generations being together.
That being said, I have to say that both love interests were rather that sort of flat characters for my taste. I would say that there is some chemistry between her and Gio (who himself has a Italian background) at the beginning and I really enjoyed reading the dialogues between them, especially since they both can relate to that “feeling sometimes out of place due to the immigrant background”-thing. Unfortunately, after a while, their relationship fades to the background as Nick comes into play, but luckily, he turned out to be quite an interesting character. I could clearly see the excitement or appeal of this love triangle but it would not have hurt if Sophie had gotten her priorities together earlier: After 50 pages or something I was into the book I knew exactly with who she’d end up. Nonetheless, the excruciatingly funny mess she gets entangled with, including many funny dialogues, made up for the predictable parts of the book.
Anyway, I can’t tell you how many times my mouth got all watery each time Polish pastries such as Kolszki or Pączki were mentioned. Seriously, Kym Brunner has got some talent in describing delicious food and as a self-declared food maven and food lover myself, this definitely added to my admiring for her writing.
I loved seeing Sophie finally wake up; seeing her pulling herself together and “finding her true self”. However, the ending was a little bit too rush and I felt as if it was missing some depth. It was too much of that happily-ever-after although there were clearly some pending conflicts. Nonetheless, I really liked how smoothly things ended.
All in all, if you are looking for a quick and fun summer read with a hilarious immigrant theme, you should definitely check this book out!
As the saying goes, I’m pretty much an open book. What do you want to know?
HOMELAND: I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois (Woo-hoo! Best city in the world!), but currently live in a northwest suburb that’s still close enough to get to the city in 40 minutes. Almost all of my stories take place in and around Chicago since it’s the only region where I’ve lived. I wish I could write a story that takes place in Greece, but I’d need to go there first. (Hint, hint, Husband)
SPARE TIME: I love to read and write obviously, but I also LOVE movies and reality TV. There, I said it. Point fingers all you want, laugh at me, but my brain wants what it wants and I’ve never been a good disciplinarian. Just ask my students or my lovely daughters, who laughed all the way out of the house after they did a few loads of laundry as “punishment.”
FAMILY: I’ve been blessed with three beautiful daughters, a very tall, intelligent, and debonair husband (who might read this so I have to be really nice so I can get that trip to Greece), and two adorable dogs. Life’s pretty damn good, for which I am super thankful.
WORK: Starting at the tender age of 14, I’ve been employed. First, as a hot dog wrangler (Sammie’s in the Portage Park area of Chicago), then an old-fashioned sign maker and cashier for PG Berland’s Paints, then in high school as an A-Accurate Answering Service operator (loved the job – hated the perverts who used to call and breathe heavy) and finally, for most of my life. . . a teacher. I’m teach 7th grade reading and writing all day long! And they pay me! What could be better than that?
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