“I see myself through my sister’s eyes. I’d run so far. How much further and deeper would I go hurting myself trying to outsmart my own universe of loss?”
I haven’t had a book-related post in awhile…I’ve missed making them!
I had a hard time reading and enjoying books in 2020. There were a few reads I picked up, but I also had many reading-slump moments last year. Near the end of 2020, and entering 2021, I’m happy to say that I’m slowly getting in touch with my inner bookworm again!
The last book I read in 2020 was wonderful. It gave me all the warm, fuzzy feelings – which were fitting for the cold December weather.
A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow is a young-adult contemporary romance novel. It is set in both Miami and Winchester, and follows Lila Reyes, an aspiring chef and baker. Lila is a planner; from stepping into the role of head baker of their family’s panadería, to having a happily-ever-after with her boyfriend, to living with her best friend in college, Lila plans her life down to the smallest details. Then, unexpectedly, her plans fall apart.
Lila is distraught and her family – worried about her mental health – decide it is best for Lila to spend summer with her relatives in Winchester, much to Lila’s protests. Lila arrives in Winchester, cold and focused on eventual her return to Miami, but soon warms up to her new surroundings and to the new people she meets in England.
I really enjoyed this book, and find it comparable to many popular YA contemporaries, such as the Anna and the French Kiss companion series by Stephanie Perkins. In many ways I see A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow as a strong novel in its field. When Lila’s initial plans fall apart, she engages in unhealthy behaviour – she doesn’t take care of herself. Her stay in Winchester allows her to heal, to grow and to open her mind to the possibilities for her life outside of Miami. This novel is not only focused on Lila and her growing romance with Orion Maxwell, but on her relationships with her family members, as well as her relationship with herself. It is as much a story of self-love and growth as it is a romance with another person. Lila isn’t a perfect character – there were many moments where I was frustrated with her, but it was great seeing her learn and grow.
I loved the inclusion of family. I think that is often lacking in many YA novels. You get a glimpse of Lila’s relationships with her relatives, her parents, her sister and her late abuela. I also loved learning about Lila’s Cuban roots – from music to Cuban foods, this story had my mouth watering and wanting to try some pastelitos and cuban sandwiches too!
“Is there a superstition about things you let go of, only to be surprised later with a version of them that’s so much better? I have the better now.”