13 Delectable YA Romances Based Around Food

For tweens and teens who enjoy reading stories based around food, here are 13 romances to satisfy their cravings.

Not only is July National Blueberry Month, it's also National Ice Cream Month, National Hot Dog Month, and the month of National Chicken Wing Day (July 29thnot to be confused with National Chicken Month in September). For tweens and teens who enjoy reading stories based around food, here are 13 romances to satisfy their cravings.


Batter Royale by Leisl Adams. illus. by author. Abrams/Amulet. ISBN 9781419750755. 
Gr 6 Up–When 17-year-old Rose unexpectedly impresses a famous restaurant critic with her dessert skills, she receives an invitation to a baking show in Britain; the winner will receive $500,000 and a book deal. With some effort, she convinces her best friend, Fred, who’s the son of the owners of the restaurant where she waits tables, to join her team, and her parents to let her compete. VERDICT This fun, engaging graphic novel will have readers eager to discover the winner of the contest. Budding pastry chefs will be inspired to follow suit and prepare delicious desserts of their own.

The Secret Recipe for Moving On by Karen Bischer. Feiwel & Friends/Swoon Reads. ISBN 9781250242303. 
Gr 8 Up–High school senior Ellie has had to adjust to a new school and hasn’t made friends yet. When her boyfriend, Hunter, breaks up with her, it’s the worst thing that ever happened to her...until she ends up in the same home ec class as Hunter and his new girlfriend. Ellie and a group of misfits—AJ, Isaiah, and Luke—form an unlikely bond to get revenge. VERDICT This humorous romance is recommended for teen collections.

Salt and Sugar by Rebecca Carvalho. Inkyard. ISBN 9781335454331.
Gr 9 Up–In this debut YA romance, locally owned businesses in Olinda, Brazil confront the big, bad, evil corporation that sabotages them, ultimately pitting small businesses against one another. Such is the case for Salt, a bakery that sits across the street from Sugar, the rival bakery. Lari, from Salt, and Pedro, from Sugar, take this feud into the kitchen, and the slow sizzle delightfully becomes romance. VERDICT A fun read that will have readers cheering for the courage and love of the two protagonists.

[Read: 3 Regency-Inspired YA Romances]

Salty, Bitter, Sweet by Mayra Cuevas. Blink. ISBN 9780310769774.
Gr 8 Up–Isabella is spending the summer in France with her father and new stepmother and participating in a highly selective cooking class for young people at the restaurant of the world-famous Chef Grattard. Diego, her stepmother’s stepson from another marriage, is suddenly crashing with her new family. He's handsome but complicated, and throwing another curveball into Isabella’s already complex new life. VERDICT A heartwarming testament to the power of female friendships, the drive for success on one’s own terms, and accepting one’s family, even if they turn out differently than originally thought.  

Love from Scratch by Kaitlyn Hill­. Delacorte. ISBN 9780593379165. 
Gr 9 Up–Recent high school grad Reese relocates from Kentucky to Seattle for an internship at cooking network Friends of Flavor. When the cast is booked for another event, Reese and the other intern, Benny, are paired up to fill airtime with an amateur take on Piece of Cake, one of the network’s highest rated shows. VERDICT This delicious romance is great for summer and a highly recommended purchase.

What I Like About You by Marisa Kanter. S. & S. ISBN 9781534445772. 
Gr 8 Up–High school senior Halle Levitt's cupcake and book blog, One True Pastry, affords her a certain level of notoriety. She has had to create an internet alter ego, the brave and sassy Kels. Halle's and Kels’s worlds collide when Halle comes face-to-face with her internet crush and fellow blogger, Nash. VERDICT Cupcake cute and Belle-brainy. Fans of Miranda Kenneally and Jenny Han will like Kanter’s smart (and a little bit awkward) main character whose romance is based on more than the physical…but also the physical.


Tweet Cute by Emma Lord. Wednesday Bks. ISBN 9781250237323. 
Gr 7 Up–High schoolers and potential heirs to their family deli and burger franchises, Jack and Pepper are not exactly friends. Instead of installing a social media team to keep their businesses on the up-and-up, both sets of parents insist that the teens handle it all. It’s not long before a Twitter war between the two companies starts and, unknowingly to Jack and Pepper, they are each on the other side of the keyboard. VERDICT Readers will fall in love with the main characters, rooting for them to have their meet-cute.

It’s Kind of a Cheesy Love Story by Lauren Morrill. Farrar. ISBN 9780374306212. 
Gr 8 Up–Beck Brix has been known as the Pizza Princess or the Hot & Crusty Bathroom Baby ever since she was unceremoniously born in the bathroom of the local pizza parlor. How will being the Pizza Princess, or her obsession with a vintage sci-fi show, help her catch the eye of her baseball star crush? VERDICT Readers who appreciate the wholesome romances of Emma Lord, Kasie West, and Morrill’s other books will find simple comfort food here.

A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey. S. & S./­Atheneum. ISBN 9781534471245. 
Gr 7 Up–Lila has led her life following every instruction, much like she does with her beloved family recipes. But even recipes that are tried and true can sometimes fall apart. In an attempt to feel something, she goes for a run that lasts hours without telling anyone. Worried, her family makes the decision to send Lila to England to stay with family. The teen’s sweet love story and desire to find herself while trying to stay connected to her Cuban heritage is a relatable message. VERDICT Readers who have often wondered about stepping outside their comfort zone can find courage in Lila’s story.

[Read: 7 Contemporary & Swoon-Worthy YA Romance Novels]

RedReviewStar Bloom by Kevin Panetta. illus. by Savanna Ganucheau. First Second. ISBN 9781250196910.
Gr 8 Up—Aristotle Kyrkos has graduated from high school and desperately wants to move to Baltimore with his friends to make it in the music industry. His father, owner of their family-run bakery, is less than understanding of Ari's "anywhere but here" mentality, so, with the summer tourist season coming up, Ari hires a replacement. Enter Hector Galea. VERDICT A fresh take on the coming-of-age story that spotlights the triumphs and travails of young people. A must-read for teens craving a realistic love story.

Rubi Ramos’s Recipe for Success by Jessica Parra. Wednesday Bks. ISBN 9781250862525. 
Gr 8 Up–Afro-Cuban American Rubi Ramos lives for baking. Good thing her family runs two bakeries—except she’s been forbidden by her mom to follow in their footsteps. But when the debate team captain hears about a baking contest, she can’t resist, and decides to sign up anyway. She also can’t resist her adorable math tutor Ryan (who cues as white), whose tutelage will hopefully help her get off the college’s wait list. VERDICT A scrumptious debut that fans of Nina Moreno’s books will want to savor.

Donuts and Other Proclamations of Love by Jared Reck. Knopf. ISBN 9781524716110. 
Gr 9 Up–High school senior Oscar Olsson loves working with his Swedish grandfather, Farfar, in their food truck that features Swedish delicacies. When a teacher suggests that he spend half the day working in the school’s culinary lab as an assistant, Oscar seizes the opportunity. Everything is great until Lou Messinger shows up with a project that involves Oscar cooking foods made from untouched apples from the cafeteria. VERDICT A lovely story that many will enjoy. 

Crumbs by Danie Stirling. illus. by author. HarperCollins/Clarion/Etch. ISBN 9780358467793. 
Gr 7 Up–Ray is a gifted seer who likes to begin every week at the enchanting Marigold’s Bakery with some freshly baked romance and a cozy cup of peace. It’s not just the spellbinding treats that keep her coming back for more but the charming barista Laurie, who has started to take particular notice whenever she comes in the store. VERDICT This adorable web comic turned full-length graphic novel would be a fantastic addition to middle and high school collections. It has the perfect combo of fantasy, realism, and romance.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing