Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Over Easy (Beth Ellyn)

Overall: 3.3
  • Plot: 2.5/5
  • Originality: 4/5
  • Language: 3.5/5
  • Believability: 3/5
Over Easy by Beth Ellyn, illustrated by Scott Finkelstein

Adam Spiegel is exactly what the Culinary Channel needs: a chef without a clue how to cook. The hilarious instructional show becomes an overnight sensation, but it’s Adam’s son, fifteen-year-old Doug, who emerges as the real star of Over Easy. It doesn’t take viewers long to see who has the talent in the family, and Doug’s sheepish boy-next-door persona and good looks throw him head-first into a media (and fan) frenzy he never asked for. Can Doug's long-time friendship with Dana London (intern for The Good Evening Show) survive? Will Dana's new intern friends be enough for her?
Genre: Children's Literature
Purchase Links:
Kindle US | UK
Other Links:
author website

All it took was a tape mix-up at a large event, and kitchen disaster Adam Spiegel found himself with a show on the Culinary Channel. His partner? His teenage son, whose true talent with food quickly overshadows his father's ineptitude. As the summer wears on, friendships are formed and tested, and Doug has to decide if celebrity is all that it's cracked up to be.

Over Easy is designed as a series of blog entries by different characters, with accompanying Buzzr updates (think Facebook). Though initially confusing, eventually it was easy to remember who was speaking. As a book targeted towards preteens/young teens, both in language and in subject matter, the format is perfectly suited for youths whose attention spans last about the length of your average status update. As an older reader, I enjoyed the lighthearted storyline, but I feel as if the plot never truly goes anywhere. The major plot twist was anticlimactic, and in terms of emotional manipulation, the novel just seems rather flat.

In terms of language and accessibility, the author's tone of voice is perfectly suited for the intended audience. I found several issues with homophones, as well as the injudicious withholding of various commas, but it's doubtful that the latter would deter young readers focused more on the story and the whimsical illustrations. This is a book that I would feel comfortable handing to a young family member without worrying about the inappropriateness of the content or struggles with insurmountable language. The ties to real-life entities (Conan O'Brien, Facebook, Food Network) are a bonus.

In short, Over Easy is a fun, simple read designed perfectly for today's youths. Those with a longer attention span may require something a bit more meaty.

(Review copy provided by the author)


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