This post is an article from the Summer 2017 issue of the OYAN Review and has been edited slightly for publication on the blog. It was written by teen reviewer Malika.
Book: One Hundred Spaghetti Strings by Jen Nails
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Recommended Age Range: 9-13 years
Rating: 4/5 stars
One Hundred Spaghetti Strings in a realistic fiction book by Jen Nails. Steffany “Steffy” Sandolini and her sister Nina Sandolini live with their Auntie Gina and her boyfriend, for Steffy’s father left her family at a young age, and her mother is hospitalized for brain trauma. When Steffy learns that her father will be coming back to live with her, she must get comfortable living with her father, resorting to the thing she knows how to do best: cook. Steffy loves to cook — from pies to pasta from scratch. But can Steffy turn these ingredients she is suddenly thrust with into something good?
I personally love to cook, so I could relate to this book a lot. I could relate to disappointment Steffy felt when she made something disastrous (my apple pie is one I prefer not to think about), and the elation when she made something good — even prize-winning. At one point, she enters a cooking competition, and that takes up most of Steffy’s time. The book narrates Steffy’s school life, home life, and other sneaky things she does. Steffy is in 5th grade in this book, but all her motives and thoughts were extremely relatable.
The plot of this book is one which is easy to follow and understand. The mystery and plot twists were well kept and made you wonder what the outcome of this book would be. Meaning, would Steffy win her cooking competition? Would her and her father’s relationship become better? All these questions were eventually answered, creating a sweet and cute book.
Jen Nails creates such intricate and well developed characters, clearly putting some thought into how she wants her characters to behave. Even though this story follows one perspective, the author makes the reader know each individual character, giving them their own voice. This definitely made the story more interesting and easier to read. The author makes the characters redeem themselves, and are not only realistic but also very likable. Steffy and Nina are two examples of strong girls who make the most out of any situation, for they have gotten extremely close to their Auntie Gina.
All in all, One Hundred Spaghetti Strings, by Jen Nails, is a book which readers who love to cook would love. This book follows shy Steffy on her quest to whip up the ingredients of her life into something worthwhile. I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars just because of the sentence fluency, for some sentences were kind of awkward to read. Otherwise, great book!
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