Have you ever watched a reality TV show or competition and wondered what was going on behind the scenes? I have always been curious about the contestants in some of these competitions. Are they being told what to do? Are the relationships real? There is so much drama in these programs that its hard to tell what is real and what is planned.
"I loved how the author made sure that I didn't guess the culprit. I was in the dark until the very end."
In TASTE TEST, Nora, the main character, is selected to compete in a teen cooking competition for a reality TV show. Nora is a 12th grade girl who helps out at her dad's barbecue restaurant. She originally didn't want to apply for the competition, but her best friend Billy convinced her. She flies to Connecticut where she attends college classes and films the competition.
The competition, Taste Test, takes place over many weeks where contestants are asked to cook something using inspiration given to them by the judges. At least one contestant is eliminated each week until one wins $10,000 and full scholarship to a cooking school in Paris.
Just as Nora is becoming quite close with two of the other contestants, her friend Angela is injured in the kitchen. One of the sinks blew up and due to her injury Angela is disqualified from competition. Nora and her other friend Gigi begin to have suspicions about who may have blown up the sink. Although the girls are upset that Angela has left, they continue to work hard in Taste Test.
Soon, there are more mishaps in the kitchen. Knives are missing, the electricity goes out and it seems like one girl is being favored over everyone else. Everyone is worried about getting hurt during competition.
In addition to trying to find the culprit, Nora is distracted by Christian, another competitor who seems to always want to bug her. Christian is constantly talking to Nora. At first, he seems like he really hates her, but soon, he is helping Nora out. Christian finds an abandoned kitchen in the basement of the dorm building, and he invites Nora to come practice there. The two contestants are often tied with Taste Test wins, and they are always trying to outdo each other. Behind the scenes, they can't seem to decide if they love or hate each other.
The book comes to the ultimate climax when one of the contestants is extremely injured in the final three competition. I won't tell you what happens, but it is definitely exciting!
I was extremely surprised when I found out who was trying to sabotage the show. I loved how the author made sure that I didn't guess the culprit. I was in the dark until the very end. I also really enjoyed following Nora and Christian's relationship. They both have very strong personalities, so when they clash it gets crazy!
There was so much drama in this book, but there was just enough in the storyline to make the whole book very interesting.
Reviewed by Aliza M. on August 22, 2013