Hi all and welcome to my stop on the ONE SMART COOKIE blog tour hosted by AToMR Book Promotions. For other stops on the tour click here. Today’s book is a YA romance from newly published author, Kym Brunner.
In the interest of “keeping it real,” Kym and I met in a writer’s critique group years ago and have been friends ever since. I recently reviewed her debut novel WANTED: DEAD OR IN LOVE, where the spirits of Bonnie and Clyde come back. In THIS book, Kym went back ‘to her roots’ and wrote a contemporary romance about a first-generation Polish immigrant girl finding love and making peace in her family. I’m so excited to share this with all of you!
About the book:
Sixteen year old Sophie Dumbrowski, is an adorably inept teen living above her family-owned Polish bakery with her man-hungry mother and her spirit-conjuring grandmother, who together, are determined to find Sophie the perfect boyfriend.
But when Sophie meets two hot guys on the same day, she wonders if this a blessing or a curse. And is Sophie’s inability to choose part of the reason the bakery business is failing miserably? The three generations of women need to use their heads, along with their hearts, to figure things out…before it’s too late.
Sophie Dumbrowski is a typical teenage girl. She wants to have a fun summer, meet a cool guy, and avoid working in her family bakery as much as possible. Her grandma, Busia, offers to help Sophie find a good boy–with a small “spell”. Not really, more of a bargain with Dola, a Polish spirit. Sophie thinks it’s just Busia’s usual eccentricity–her grams is always praying for something, and agrees to the charm, against her mother’s orders. See, Sophie’s mom things her mother’s Polish charms are a whole lot of hoo-ha.
Of course, in order to ask Dola to help Sophie, Sophie must agree to not fight with her mom. Which, if you are a teenaged girl, is next to impossible. Besides, her mom is total slave-driver! Almost immediately after the charm is cast, Sophie and her mom argue, to Busia’s (and Dola’s?) dismay. In fact, Sophie gets FIRED! How does a girl get fired from her own bakery?! Her mom doesn’t budge and Sophie’s on her way out to cool down/find a new job when she meets not one, but TWO! attractive boys. Giovanni is a landscaper working on a newly opened business down the block from her home, and Nick is a sales boy at the pet shop where Sophie gets hired.
What Would Dola Do? you may ask? Well, whatever Dola thinks, Sophie decides to try both guys on–to see which is the best fit for her. See, she’s only ever had three dates, and the prospect of two suitors is pretty enticing. Not that she wants to ruin a good thing, either. It’s kinda too soon to decide which guy would be better. One is kind, steadfast and fun, and the other is flashy and exciting–but not in a legal way.
One the other hand, Sophie’s new job is not working out, and her mom is spending money they don’t have to get new customers into the shop. A new International supermarket is stealing away their business, and Eliza, the girl she hired to replace Sophie, thinks transforming their Polish bakery into an organic eatery will bring in a whole new clientele. Still, the bakery is failing and, with all that drama and juggling two boys, it seems Sophie’s in big trouble.
Busia is sure Dola is to blame. Sophie breaking her word and arguing with her mother has caused a rift they need to repair–and having two boyfriends is also bad luck, according to Busia. It takes some hard work, and some serious apologizing, but Sophie manages to repair her relationships–and build better stronger ones moving forward.
I adored this book! The Polish immigrant backdrop is so lovely, and works beautifully with the Chicago environment. The war between American assimilation and cultural identity is so lovingly detailed. Sophie is a funny narrator–she has a potty mouth at times, but she sounds like “Anygirl,” to me. The mess she gets entangled with–between Gio and Nick–is realistic and well-considered. There are instances of teen experimentation–including alcohol and drug use–that also ring true, as well as frank discussions about sex, and sexual activity. I really liked how Sophie got her priorities together and made the best choices. In the end, I was so rooting for her, the bakery, and of course, Busia. Who doesn’t love a mystic-charming granny who bakes all day long?
So fun! Plenty of humorous moments–Sophie is a classic klutz with the bruises to prove it, and the brunt of more than a few cracks on her last name. I could so imagine her, out there in the north side of Chicago hawking kolatchkies, I almost lamented not getting a recipe. 😉
About the Author
As the saying goes, I’m pretty much an open book. What do you want to know?
HOMELAND: I was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois (Woo-hoo! Best city in the world!), but currently live in a northwest suburb that’s still close enough to get to the city in 40 minutes. Almost all of my stories take place in and around Chicago since it’s the only region where I’ve lived. I wish I could write a story that takes place in Greece, but I’d need to go there first. (Hint, hint, Husband)
SPARE TIME: I love to read and write obviously, but I also LOVE movies and reality TV. There, I said it. Point fingers all you want, laugh at me, but my brain wants what it wants and I’ve never been a good disciplinarian. Just ask my students or my lovely daughters, who laughed all the way out of the house after they did a few loads of laundry as “punishment.”
FAMILY: I’ve been blessed with three beautiful daughters, a very tall, intelligent, and debonair husband (who might read this so I have to be really nice so I can get that trip to Greece), and two adorable dogs. Life’s pretty damn good, for which I am super thankful.
WORK:Starting at the tender age of 14, I’ve been employed. First, as a hot dog wrangler (Sammie’s in the Portage Park area of Chicago), then an old-fashioned sign maker and cashier for PG Berland’s Paints, then in high school as an A-Accurate Answering Service operator (loved the job – hated the perverts who used to call and breathe heavy) and finally, for most of my life. . . a teacher. I’m teach 7th grade reading and writing all day long! And they pay me! What could be better than that?
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