Title: The Truth About Twinkie Pie
Author: Kat Yeh (link)
Pub Date: February 2015
Goodreads Synopsis: Take two sisters making it on their own: brainy twelve-year-old GiGi (short for Galileo Galilei, a name she never says out loud) and junior-high-dropout-turned-hairstylist DiDi (short for Delta Dawn). Add a million dollars in prize money from a national cooking contest and a move from the trailer parks of South Carolina to the Gold Coast of New York. Mix in a fancy new school, new friends and enemies, a first crush, and a generous sprinkling of family secrets. That's the recipe for The Truth About Twinkie Pie, a voice-driven middle grade debut about the true meaning of family and friendship.
First Line: Truth is, I knew the lady with the green scarf was not Mama. But I followed her anyway.
I was so excited to score a copy of this middle grade debut by Kat Yeh at BEA that, out of all the books I was lugging in my heavy backpack, I picked this one to devour on my subway ride home from the expo. And it did not disappoint!
First, can we talk about the cover? No wait -- first let's talk about the title. What's more fascinating than a dessert that has secrets, especially when you've never seen or heard of it before? From the cover, it looks as fun and kitschy and pink as I hoped. Food and the act of cooking with love and intention (and a lot of sugar) are woven throughout the narrative via recipes written in a most hilarious voice.
Family and identity are both at the heart of this story. GiGi has just moved from the South with her lottery-winning sister DiDi to a wealthy Yankee town. Instead of splurging on their winnings, DiDi enrolls GiGi in a private school and continues to work as a hairdresser. As GiGi navigates this new suburban life, one that is a far cry from their old trailer park, she stumbles upon her first real crush, tries to win over an instant enemy, and begins to unravel the mysteries of her family.
DiDi and GiGi have a Gilmore Girls dynamic that will make you want to jump inside the pages and join their peculiar little family. The story takes fresh twists and culminates in a tear-jerker ending that magically captures the power of sacrifice and unconditional love -- so grab some tissues and a sweet treat or two before you dive in.
If you want to hear more about the recipes and how this story came to life, check out this great podcast interview with Ms. Yeh on Publishers Weekly.
Why You'll Love Galileo / GiGi / Leia: You can tell a character is going through some major changes when she has that many names, and this gal does so with kindness, a level head, and spunk... until she doesn't. GiGi's deadpan observations and razor honesty perfectly serve up the characters at her fancy new school. And whether she's dealing with preteen politics or peering into her family's mysteries, her genuine worldview will simply charm you.
THE TRUTH ABOUT TWINKIE PIE Topics & Themes: family, identity, bullying, starting a new school, class, lgbtq issues, crushes, home cooking, friendship.
Want to read about more marvelous middle grade books? Check out my past picks, as well as these MMGM bloggers who feature recommendations every Monday!