Sunday, May 7, 2017

Book Review: North of Happy

A Delightful Read
2 cups foodie
1 3/4 cup young love
12 ounces grief
3 slices of identity crisis
1 pinch of alpha-male jealousy
1 lake of bioluminescent plankton
2 plane tickets
2 tsp. fate

From the prologue's "The Perfect Taco" recipe, each chapter begins with a recipe to get your palate ready (structure reminiscent of Sheffield's Love is a Mix Tape, flipping food for the music).

We meet Carlos, who is a well-off teenager living in Mexico City (dual citizen of Mexico & the United States), getting ready to head off to college in the states and then return to his father's business. His older brother, Felix, has been estranged from the family as he made his own path, traveling the world. Their quest to find the perfect taco takes Carlos through all kinds of place he hasn't ever gone in Mexico City. A day of such joy with his brother unfortunately ends in tragedy.

As Carlos tries to cope with his brother's death, he forges his own path separating from his family's expectations, following his brother's guiding voice (while also being petrified of the fact that he's hearing & talking to his dead brother). He finds himself immersed in his passion (food) and meeting a new passion (Emma). When his worlds collide, Emma steadies him. But will their love last? Will he be successful in his new endeavor? Will he be able to stop hearing his brother's voice? Will he return to Mexico or stay in the States? Will he befall the same tragedy his brother's life was ended by? Read to find out! Such a sweet, charged read with incredible characters.

Food Network Love
He drew three imperfect columns, labeling them Restaurant/Stand, Location, Reaction. "One taco each per spot. We don't stop until we find the perfect one."          
I could almost see the day ahead as if it were shot by the Food Network, some Anthony Bourdain-narrated exploration of the city. I tried to contain my glee. (9)
Raw Emotion
On a rooftop in the ritziest part of Mexico City, while my graduation party rages on - music and drinks and waiters delivering canap├ęs to the two hundred people in attendance - I am trying to act like I have my shit together. (15)
Identity Quest
I've never acted this impulsively in my life. Felix got all these genes. It feels like I'm borrowing his disobedience... (27)
In that one glance, I know I've never been here before. I've never been in a moment like this one, never wanted a night to stretch out the way I want tonight to stretch out. If this island is as magical as it feels, it'll stop the flow of hours into a trickle. (69)

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