by Maisy Dee
Craig has pined for Emily since the fourth grade. Imagine his surprise when, when at the start of his junior year, he discovers that she has finally noticed him. When Emily returns to school the fall of her junior year, she finds that her old friend Craig has transformed from a gangly, brace-faced adolescent into a blue-eyed babe who is making her insides tingle.
Craig and Emily stir up a sweet and sexy adventure, exploring new recipes both in and out of the kitchen. But when things heat up on New Year’s Eve, Craig is not sure he can stand it. Is he man enough for Emily? And what recipes have his closest friends Ryan and John been cooking up without telling him?
In alternating points of view, Emily and Craig search for the secret ingredients of friendship, love and intimacy. This isn’t really a book about cooking. Recipes, however, are included.
Craig came back to school that September looking different. Or maybe it just seemed like it. He didn’t get much taller, or at least not like he did a couple of years ago when he came back after a summer growth spurt that made you wonder about those growth hormones in milk. This time was different. OK, it’s true he had finally gotten his braces off. The last one of our friends. But it was more than that—he was kind of, uh, hot. And well, when he walked into Trig, sat down next to me, smiled, and said, “Hi, Emily,” I was caught off-guard, to say the least. I inhaled sharply, and then felt heat in my cheeks. Shit, I thought.
“Hey, stranger,” I said a little too loudly, trying to recover my equilibrium. Class began, saving my ass, but I found it hard to concentrate. What on earth was my problem? This was Craig, the kid who used to chase me around the play- ground during recess at Green Acres Elementary. I remember him throwing up all over the place in Mr. Thompson’s class in 4th grade. We shared the same group of friends through the embarrassments of puberty, early romances, and health class (sex, drugs, and ewww—the birth video). We hung out in a group all the time, but had never really talked much one on one. Craig was Craig. Nice enough, but I really never thought about him much.
This was the guy who was suddenly making it hard for me to breathe?
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
It was Back to School Night, and my parents were headed to the High School. I looked up from my book long enough to describe all my teachers. For example: “My science teacher will be wearing black chinos pulled waaay too high and a short-sleeved button-down with pens in the pocket. He has Mr. McGoo glasses and a three-strand comb-over. He’s totally weird.”
My parents returned to tell me a) I was grounded until I brought my grades up, and b) I had an uncanny ability to describe people. The teenage me, stressed out from deciding who I was and what I was supposed to do, snapped, “Yeah? Well, what job does that get me?!”
My mother gazed at me calmly. “You could be a writer. But for now, you’re grounded.”
I have never forgotten that moment. I took creative writing classes in college and continued to read a lot, but it wasn’t until I had children of my own that the idea for “The Recipe” came to me. My girls are avid readers, and I spent a lot of time hanging out in the youth room at the public library. I read a ton of current YA novels, and reread books from my teenage years. I began to look for contemporary stories about early sexual experiences that were as honest and non-judgmental as Judy Blume’s Forever. I didn’t find any, but I did find a dangerous mixed message.
On the one hand, overwhelming, irresistible (even paranormal) passion is presented as the ideal romantic experience. That unrealistic expectation, along with all the other unrealistic sexual images they find in books, movies, cable tv, and the internet, is bound to result disappointment in the real thing.
On the other hand, sexually active teen characters in books are invariably punished with pregnancy, violence, humiliation, heartbreak, or a sexually transmitted disease so virulent that it will not even let you die. Yes. If our teens give in to their normal, healthy impulses, they will surely become vampires.
So I decided to write a book about first love and “the first time” that would offer my daughters one story that is a little closer to the truth–things are bound to be less than perfect, and that’s not the end of the world (or the beginning of life after death, no matter what the French call it.) The process was difficult, rewarding, and a lot of fun, and there’s a good chance my daughters will never read it, because who wants to read a book about sex that your mother wrote. Gross.
I’m currently working on my second novel, and yeah, there will be more teens having sex in that one too.
Read me review here.
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