Philomel, 2013. 978-0399255175
Synopsis: Cady is an orphan with a Talent for baking the perfect cake. Miss Mallory is a woman with a talent for matching orphans with the perfect family. V woke up in the middle of the freeway with no recollection of who she is and how she got to where she is. Zane Asher is trying to prove to his family that he isn’t as worthless as he feels. Will Asher is looking for an adventure. Marigold Asher is trying to discover her Talent. Mrs. Asher is hiding a surprising secret. Toby is looking to start over. The Owner of the Lost Luggage Emporium is trying to find something very valuable that he lost over fifty years ago. A mysterious man in a grey suit with a Talent for knot tying is going to help all of them find what they are looking for, since he seems to know more than he lets on.
Why I picked it up: I picked up an Advance Reader’s Copy at a conference in January and promptly forgot I had it until I was re-organizing my personal library.
Why I finished it: I have to admit that the book started out a little slow, but the more I read, the more I was intrigued by the mystery of how all of these people were tied together. Graff’s speed and pacing as the narrative alternates between each of the nine characters is well-executed and creates sense of urgency in the reader to keep reading to find out what happens. The characters are engaging and likeable, particularly Cady and Marigold. Cady is a people-pleaser, and she wants to be able to use her Talent to make people happy by connecting them with their perfect cake. Marigold is hard-pressed to find something she is good at and has even brought a bracelet that will help her find her Talent. Graff’s addition of the recipes for Cady’s cakes is a great extra that adds another dimension to the book and can be fun to try on one’s own. The mystery and its heart-warming conclusion make this book a great addition to any library and keeps the reader engrossed until the final page.
Other related materials: Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff; The Thing About Georgie by Lisa Graff; Double Dog Dare by Lisa Graff; Bliss by Kathryn Littlewoood; A Dash of Magic: A Bliss Novel by Kathryn Littlewood; Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl; The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders; Destiny, Rewritten by Kathryn Fitzmaurice; Zebra Forest by Adina Rishe Gewirtz; Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris G rabenstein; Hold Fast by Blue Balliett; Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle; Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis; Pi in the Sky by Wendy Mass; The Great Unexpected by Sharon Creech