Book Review: From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks

January 9th, 2022 by

If you know even the slightest thing about me, then you know I love food. You might recall that from my review of Measuring Up or perhaps my review of Pie or my review of All Four Stars or Granny Torrelli Makes Soup… You get it — I heart food! Well, now it’s time to add another fantastic food book to the list: From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks.

Zoe is determined to compete on Food Network’s Kids Bake Challenge — and what better way to get experience than by interning at her favorite local bakery? Zoe is super excited to learn a lot and prove herself as a star baker. But unfortunately, some adults at the bakery doubt her skills, since Zoe is only 12 years old. Can Zoe show everyone that she’s got what it takes?

Also, can Zoe force herself to focus on cupcakes when she’s got some other big things going on in her life? First, Zoe is in a major fight with her best friend and neighbor, Trevor. Secondly, Zoe is dealing with a major shock: a letter from her dad, whom she has never met! All Zoe knows is that her dad has been in prison for a terrible crime. She doesn’t know the details, she’s never spoken to him, and she’s never even gotten a phone call or a note from him — until now. Zoe knows her mom will disapprove, so she hides her dad’s letter and writes back in secret. She knows it’s sneaky, but she can’t help it. After all this time, she wants to know more about her father. And after he tells her that he’s innocent, Zoe won’t stop until she discovers the truth.

As you can tell, this book covers some pretty serious stuff. So if you’re looking for a 100% light-hearted story about baking, then this is not the book for you. However, the book never feels overly sad or heavy. The action moves quickly, and there’s a good balance between the sweet and bitter aspects of the story. I highly recommend From the Desk of Zoe Washington, especially if you’re a fan of books that mix family stories with larger social issues, like A Good Kind of Trouble and the Front Desk books.

If you’ve read this book already, please leave a comment below with your thoughts! Or just tell me your favorite cupcake flavor!

— Karen

Karen has devoured many cupcakes in her life, so it’s hard to pick just one favorite flavor. But she is particularly proud of cupcakes that she made a while ago for a friend’s birthday: chocolate cake with a ganache filling, topped with a minty cookies & cream frosting. Yum yum!

More about Karen »

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