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Recipe for Disaster

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Francie's life was almost perfect before the new girl showed up. She had her own business as a weekend baker whose scones almost caused stampedes, a best friend named Holly and a deeply fulfilling crush on Tate Jarvis. She dreamed about the day she'd be famous and have her own baking show. But the new girl at school, Darlene, thinks Francie's obsession with baking is weird Francie's life was almost perfect before the new girl showed up. She had her own business as a weekend baker whose scones almost caused stampedes, a best friend named Holly and a deeply fulfilling crush on Tate Jarvis. She dreamed about the day she'd be famous and have her own baking show. But the new girl at school, Darlene, thinks Francie's obsession with baking is weird, she acts like Holly is her best friend, and she's somehow managed to steal Tate's attention away. Suddenly, everything is unravelling. Unable to stay focused, Francie's pastry-filled dreams are starting to slide. Then Francie gets a chance to meet the sexy celebrity baker Lorenzo LaRue, whose toned pectorals inspire Francie as much as the baking tips she picks up from his TV show. Francie is sure that if Lorenzo could only see how passionate she is about baking, he would help launch her career, and possibly marry her when she reaches legal age. It won't be easy - but Francie is starting to understand that although trying won't guarantee success, quitting will guarantee failure. Young readers will gobble up this hilarious exploration of a girl's recipes for friendship, dating, fame and coconut-drop cookies.


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Francie's life was almost perfect before the new girl showed up. She had her own business as a weekend baker whose scones almost caused stampedes, a best friend named Holly and a deeply fulfilling crush on Tate Jarvis. She dreamed about the day she'd be famous and have her own baking show. But the new girl at school, Darlene, thinks Francie's obsession with baking is weird Francie's life was almost perfect before the new girl showed up. She had her own business as a weekend baker whose scones almost caused stampedes, a best friend named Holly and a deeply fulfilling crush on Tate Jarvis. She dreamed about the day she'd be famous and have her own baking show. But the new girl at school, Darlene, thinks Francie's obsession with baking is weird, she acts like Holly is her best friend, and she's somehow managed to steal Tate's attention away. Suddenly, everything is unravelling. Unable to stay focused, Francie's pastry-filled dreams are starting to slide. Then Francie gets a chance to meet the sexy celebrity baker Lorenzo LaRue, whose toned pectorals inspire Francie as much as the baking tips she picks up from his TV show. Francie is sure that if Lorenzo could only see how passionate she is about baking, he would help launch her career, and possibly marry her when she reaches legal age. It won't be easy - but Francie is starting to understand that although trying won't guarantee success, quitting will guarantee failure. Young readers will gobble up this hilarious exploration of a girl's recipes for friendship, dating, fame and coconut-drop cookies.

30 review for Recipe for Disaster

  1. 4 out of 5

    Canadian Children's Book Centre

    Reviewed by Rachel Seigel Fourteen-year-old Francie Freewater is like most other girls her age. She’s boy crazy, aims to have nearly perfect hair, is a little bit clumsy, and spends her time shopping, and chatting with her best friend Holly. She also has a part-time baking business, and dreams of the day that she’ll have her own TV cooking show just like her idol Lorenzo LaRue. Everything seems to be going along perfectly for Francie until a new girl shows up at school. Darlene thinks Francie’s b Reviewed by Rachel Seigel Fourteen-year-old Francie Freewater is like most other girls her age. She’s boy crazy, aims to have nearly perfect hair, is a little bit clumsy, and spends her time shopping, and chatting with her best friend Holly. She also has a part-time baking business, and dreams of the day that she’ll have her own TV cooking show just like her idol Lorenzo LaRue. Everything seems to be going along perfectly for Francie until a new girl shows up at school. Darlene thinks Francie’s baking is weird, attracts the attention of her super-crush chemistry partner, and seems to be stealing her best friend away from her. Francie is sure that all the disasters in her life can be turned into success if only she can meet Lorenzo and wow him with her passion and talent – although she knows it will take a lot of hard work and perseverance. Francie is a fun character, and tween girls will easily relate to her. She’s persistent, smart and sweet, and is without the sense of entitlement displayed by the nameless protagonist of Fergus’s previous book Exploits of a Reluctant (but Extremely Goodlooking) Hero. She knows that she can’t expect to be handed success, but she does believe that if she can demonstrate her passion, she’ll be guaranteed a place in the spotlight. Francie’s quest to meet her favourite celebrity chef eventually forces her to make a difficult choice between getting what she wants, and putting a friend first. Along the way, Francie also learns to challenge her own perceptions of people, realizing that enemies, boys, and especially celebrities, are not always what they appear to be. Though the lessons are painful, and somewhat disillusioning for her, she does grow as a result, and still gets a happy ending, even if it isn’t exactly what she was expecting. A strong cast of supporting characters, and some incredible but amusing mishaps give this novel all of the ingredients of a fast-paced and enjoyable read. Canadian Children's Book News (Fall 2009, Vol. 32, No. 4)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Wisteriouswoman

    This was a fun read. I love baking so reading about food made me hungry. There is an interesting assortment of characters in the book including a talking parrot. There is so much to laugh about in this story. Francie is a less than perfect kid getting herself into all kinds of trouble at school, at home, and with friends. It reminded me a bit of the Beezus and Ramona stories. Francie has several starry-eyed goals and lapses into hilarious fantasies in her mind. She wants to cook with a famous Ca This was a fun read. I love baking so reading about food made me hungry. There is an interesting assortment of characters in the book including a talking parrot. There is so much to laugh about in this story. Francie is a less than perfect kid getting herself into all kinds of trouble at school, at home, and with friends. It reminded me a bit of the Beezus and Ramona stories. Francie has several starry-eyed goals and lapses into hilarious fantasies in her mind. She wants to cook with a famous Canadian cooking show host and will not let anything stop her from reaching that goal. In the end she discovers that not everything that glitters is gold. There is a villian in the story --a new girl at school who is incredibly two faced and manipulative. You just want to shake Francie and tell her to not believe anything the girl says. Francie eventually catches on and learns to stand up for herself and discover what true friendship is all about. Finally!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    My own personal policy is not to give stars to books I didn't finish. That being said, this book probably would have earned itself 2-3 stars if I had stuck with it. Francie was a perfectly likeable character (although she seemed younger than a freshman in high school), but the other characters seemed so over the top - especially Darlene and the tv chef Lorenzo - that I couldn't really care about any of them. A middle school girl with a love of baking or the Food Network may find this book to her My own personal policy is not to give stars to books I didn't finish. That being said, this book probably would have earned itself 2-3 stars if I had stuck with it. Francie was a perfectly likeable character (although she seemed younger than a freshman in high school), but the other characters seemed so over the top - especially Darlene and the tv chef Lorenzo - that I couldn't really care about any of them. A middle school girl with a love of baking or the Food Network may find this book to her taste, but it just didn't sit well with me.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie A.

    I could not get over the marvelous syntax of how much this story sounded exactly like my old journals -- not just the plethora of band room scenes, but all these small, sharp details that most books would overlook. It was like reliving an alternate version of my life, with a refreshingly cute and funny tone throughout. Warning: will induce strong dessert cravings.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Sadie

    wonderful book. it inspired me to cook awesome things

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kimberley

    I finished this YA novel, but it was painful in parts. Cliché teen angst: new girl tries to break up long-term friendship, boy-crush is a jerk, band-trip exploits, the whole bit. Sadly, this Canadian YA novel is basically the disappointing form of "Canadian TV drama" in book format. I wanted to like it more, as we still don't have a lot of great YA fiction set in Canada, but it wasn't my cuppa tea (or bran muffin or raspberry white chocolate scone, either). I finished this YA novel, but it was painful in parts. Cliché teen angst: new girl tries to break up long-term friendship, boy-crush is a jerk, band-trip exploits, the whole bit. Sadly, this Canadian YA novel is basically the disappointing form of "Canadian TV drama" in book format. I wanted to like it more, as we still don't have a lot of great YA fiction set in Canada, but it wasn't my cuppa tea (or bran muffin or raspberry white chocolate scone, either).

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia

    Fun teenage read about teenage girl who has set her sights on becoming a professional baker and is obsessed with a celebrity chef. Humourously told, Maureen Fergus, the Canadian author(from my home town Winnipeg) knows her audience and has scripted a story that is entertaining with a light touch of romance, misadventures,the inevitable school detentions and away from home school trips.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Marissa_Bagg14

    It’s very mature..... you have to be able to understand the comments in the book to understand the book in general, but it was excellent!!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    I picked up this one because it has a lot of AR points, and one of our 6th graders is a big fan of getting as many points as possible in one book. It feels like it's aimed at someone a little bit older since the main character, Francie, is in 9th grade, though she is really immature. Francie's obsessed with her lack of boobs, a boy at school, and a celebrity chef crush. She puts up with band practice to support her best friend Holly, and has to deal with a new girl, Darlene, who might not have o I picked up this one because it has a lot of AR points, and one of our 6th graders is a big fan of getting as many points as possible in one book. It feels like it's aimed at someone a little bit older since the main character, Francie, is in 9th grade, though she is really immature. Francie's obsessed with her lack of boobs, a boy at school, and a celebrity chef crush. She puts up with band practice to support her best friend Holly, and has to deal with a new girl, Darlene, who might not have other's best interests at heart. Almost all the characters were really out there, particularly the Harold character who just did not seem like a real teenager or human being. He says things like "detain the lech," described another student as a leviathan, and other weird behaviors throughout the book. At least we can thank Harold's over-the-top vocabulary for getting us those extra AR points. In the end, it's an acceptable story about about an awkward girl who likes to bake and ends up finding her place with true friends like Harold, Holly, and the rest of the percussion team. MG+ - BL: 6.8 - AR Pts: 13.0

  10. 5 out of 5

    Gwen Farm

    Hustling her way from wiping counters to cooking up a storm, Francie Freewater has a lot on her plate for being just a 9th grader. Ever since perky, "perfect" Darlene moved into town and shook apart her social life, not only does Francie have to go to school and meddle through her social drama but yet, on the weekends, has to run her own business as a weekend baker at her parents' small cafe; creating scones that erupt stampedes. With barely any free time to spare, on her free time Francie would Hustling her way from wiping counters to cooking up a storm, Francie Freewater has a lot on her plate for being just a 9th grader. Ever since perky, "perfect" Darlene moved into town and shook apart her social life, not only does Francie have to go to school and meddle through her social drama but yet, on the weekends, has to run her own business as a weekend baker at her parents' small cafe; creating scones that erupt stampedes. With barely any free time to spare, on her free time Francie would be perfecting her very own recipes and performing a cooking show for Nana's parrot, Rory; dreaming that one day she could spend hours whisking, melting and kneading in a kitchen studio and become a renowned celebrity baker just like her idol and man crush, Lorenzo LaRue. When her dreams become so close to reality, Francie's hopes viciously turn upside down, leaving her to understand that although trying won't guarantee success, quitting will guarantee failure. Just like a raspberry white chocolate scone and hazelnut mocha drops, Recipe for Disaster by Maureen Fergus is a light, humorous sweet read. If you are looking for a quick read to pass time, this book should be on top of your list. Though the author doesn't use big fancy words or deep literary devices, the plot twists are what make the story interesting. When I picked this book from the public library, the cover page caught my attention though by reading the title, I thought the storyline would be rather cliched. However as I read it, I personally considered the protagonist of the story and inspiration to younger kids. She maintains a healthy relationship with her parents (unlike most YA fiction books), and she is seen working hard to reach her goal. All in all, I would recommend this book if you just wanted to relax.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    Currently in chapter 2. So far... not so great. Character whines, author writes a sleepover that is completely cliche, more whining/drama-queen behaviour (while she makes an ass out of herself and then completely attempts to pass on the blame)... the only thing that's interesting so far if the character's interest in baking. And even that's kind of annoying, because she comes across as spoilt, entitled, and as an idiot (" 'The bottom line,' I continued in a low voice, 'is that I'm going to have Currently in chapter 2. So far... not so great. Character whines, author writes a sleepover that is completely cliche, more whining/drama-queen behaviour (while she makes an ass out of herself and then completely attempts to pass on the blame)... the only thing that's interesting so far if the character's interest in baking. And even that's kind of annoying, because she comes across as spoilt, entitled, and as an idiot (" 'The bottom line,' I continued in a low voice, 'is that I'm going to have to think through my product offering very carefully and then make sure I pace myself, because if I give in to the temptation to do too much too fast, I"m going to burn out yoou know? It's always been one of my biggest challenges in the kitchen. That, and the fact that I'm really hard on myself. If a batch of cookies isn't baked to absolute perfection I won't put them out. I'll throw them in the garbage, or feed them to Nana's idiot bird, Rory. She doesn't like when I do that - says it gives Rory an attitude of entitlement, and also cramps - but I thik she's missing the point. The point is that it's a symbolic gesture.") Yeah... Nana's to blame. Can't be that she doesn't want her bird getting sick. Not to mention what kind of idiot would you have to be to throw cookies or something out just because it's not totally perfect? I mean really. It can't be a good sign when you're two chapters in and just want the main character to shut up already. Abandoned at this point. I couldn't bring myself to start reading again.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Nicky

    The characters of the book weren't superb, they didn't have a WOW factor to them. I found Francie quite annoying at times. Francie seemed like a brat at moments, but she also had determination. Which helped balance out her baby ways. She would just cry or think about herself before considering other people's feelings, which irritated me. But when she had the dream of being a professional chef and Francie's determination to follow her dream, I found that aspect very important in the novel. Withou The characters of the book weren't superb, they didn't have a WOW factor to them. I found Francie quite annoying at times. Francie seemed like a brat at moments, but she also had determination. Which helped balance out her baby ways. She would just cry or think about herself before considering other people's feelings, which irritated me. But when she had the dream of being a professional chef and Francie's determination to follow her dream, I found that aspect very important in the novel. Without it, the novel would just be a no go for me. The character that I enjoyed the most was Harold. He brought humor into story and the novel needed it. Especially when the novel would get to tense, Harold would be there to loosen it up. Dislikes of this book is just the bratty-ness of Francie, I found that very annoying. There was a bit of confusion for me because one minute Francie would be mature during a situation, but then all of a sudden she turns into a cry baby. Also I wasn't head over heels for this book. I wouldn't read it again. But it was an enjoyable novel to read just once. Overall, I enjoyed how Fergus infused the difficulties of reality and also adding humor to ease the tension. Also what I liked about this novel is that there were moments when I thought it would be a typical happy-everyone-gets-what-they-want type of novel which I hate oh so much but I guessed wrong. Does this book end on good terms or bad? You need to read it to find out (:

  13. 4 out of 5

    Readgood

    Kiley GruenbI erg 12/30/13 Period 4 Recipe for Disaster by Maureen Fergus describes about a normal girl named Francie Freewater who practically has everything she needs. A best friend named Holly, a crush named Tate, and a passion for baking. One day, a new girl named Darlene arrives at her school and acts as if Holly were her friend. She even manages to take Tate. Francie struggles to fix everything, but its complicated. My favorite part of this book is when Francie meets one of Lorenzo LaRue’s he Kiley GruenbI erg 12/30/13 Period 4 Recipe for Disaster by Maureen Fergus describes about a normal girl named Francie Freewater who practically has everything she needs. A best friend named Holly, a crush named Tate, and a passion for baking. One day, a new girl named Darlene arrives at her school and acts as if Holly were her friend. She even manages to take Tate. Francie struggles to fix everything, but its complicated. My favorite part of this book is when Francie meets one of Lorenzo LaRue’s helper and figures out that he didn’t actually inspire people to cook with his speeches because he just read the quotes off the teleprompter. He didn’t even have perfect hair, he just wore a wig to cover up his bald head. Francie realized that she had been way too obsessed with him to realize that he wasn’t even a real inspiration for her. I think that this book is actually pretty good and I’ll recommend it to other students I guess who like to learn about friendship and trust between your peers. Recently I read It’s a Mall World After All and I loved that book. These books have some things in common. Friendship and trust. If you liked It’s a Mall World After All the you should try reading Recipe for disaster.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Aspen

    I'll be honest this book made me giggle. Between the quirky bird and Francie's swooning over Lorenzo LaRue. This book was cute and being a foodie and a hopeless romantic too, I saw a lot of myself in the character of Francie. Her insecurity in school was definitely made up for with her passion for baking. I also liked how the character was flawed and the people in the story weren't flat characters they had life to them. One of the most fun reads I've had in a while. I recommend it for a short, f I'll be honest this book made me giggle. Between the quirky bird and Francie's swooning over Lorenzo LaRue. This book was cute and being a foodie and a hopeless romantic too, I saw a lot of myself in the character of Francie. Her insecurity in school was definitely made up for with her passion for baking. I also liked how the character was flawed and the people in the story weren't flat characters they had life to them. One of the most fun reads I've had in a while. I recommend it for a short, funny, and unexpectedly sweet young adult novel.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Deborah

    Francie is such a good baker. It's her life's dream to have a televised cooking show. Problems arise when a new girl to the bakery finds Francie's baking skills a bit weird. This book is not the usual teenage romance. It has humor by way of the parrot and it also satisfies readers looking for cookery books. Throughout the story are recipes delicious enough to want to whip them up for a dinner party. It will appeal to many teenage girls. Francie is such a good baker. It's her life's dream to have a televised cooking show. Problems arise when a new girl to the bakery finds Francie's baking skills a bit weird. This book is not the usual teenage romance. It has humor by way of the parrot and it also satisfies readers looking for cookery books. Throughout the story are recipes delicious enough to want to whip them up for a dinner party. It will appeal to many teenage girls.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Marjanne

    I started out not really liking this book, though it grew on me and I liked the ending (in spite of being very predictable). Reading this book made me feel like I was back in Junior High, which was a little entertaining but mostly kind of juvenile. Once everyone started to grow up and show a little more maturity I started to enjoy the book more. The story is fun, though don't expect a lot. Though I found this in the Adult section of the library I think younger (teen-ish) would enjoy it more. I started out not really liking this book, though it grew on me and I liked the ending (in spite of being very predictable). Reading this book made me feel like I was back in Junior High, which was a little entertaining but mostly kind of juvenile. Once everyone started to grow up and show a little more maturity I started to enjoy the book more. The story is fun, though don't expect a lot. Though I found this in the Adult section of the library I think younger (teen-ish) would enjoy it more.

  17. 5 out of 5

    The Library Lady

    More like "Recipe for the Same Old YA Novel". Complete with wacky grandma, eccentric boy who turns out to be Mr Right, super loyal best friend and "mean girl". Add a lot of less than believable plot twists, and you've got the recipe. Lucky this was in paperback so I wasted less of my library's funds on it! More like "Recipe for the Same Old YA Novel". Complete with wacky grandma, eccentric boy who turns out to be Mr Right, super loyal best friend and "mean girl". Add a lot of less than believable plot twists, and you've got the recipe. Lucky this was in paperback so I wasted less of my library's funds on it!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Buell

    I did not care for this book very much. I felt like the MC was very immature yet talked about sex a lot. It really bothered me. I stuck it out and finished the book because I wanted to see what would happen with her "baking career." And...not much baking happened. That was disappointing. The MC was very focused on boys and not much on working on her issues. I did not care for this book very much. I felt like the MC was very immature yet talked about sex a lot. It really bothered me. I stuck it out and finished the book because I wanted to see what would happen with her "baking career." And...not much baking happened. That was disappointing. The MC was very focused on boys and not much on working on her issues.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Halle21

    Honestly, this book was not good... My grandmas friends grandaughter, wrote it so she gave it to me to read. It was very boring and not very well wrote. Same old plot- guy,girl,best friend, mean girl. 2.5/5.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    This book was cool in the sense that everything was based in Manitoba, which is where I am from, but it was very predictable and had all of the characters that you would expect in a teen novel. This doesn't meant that I didn't like reading it, because I did, even tough it was boring at times. This book was cool in the sense that everything was based in Manitoba, which is where I am from, but it was very predictable and had all of the characters that you would expect in a teen novel. This doesn't meant that I didn't like reading it, because I did, even tough it was boring at times.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Shanna Smith

    Cute, but not great.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Satchel

    At first I thought it sounded kind of stupid, because this girl is completely unrelatable, but as I got into it I thought it was pretty good.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Scott Williams

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  24. 5 out of 5

    Tracie

    This earned three stars because I laughed out loud a few times. Girls who like contemporary chic lit will enjoy this one too.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    Not a favorite. :/ Main character annoyed me the entire time.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sabrina

  27. 5 out of 5

    Chloe Son

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emma

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

  30. 4 out of 5

    Zoe

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