"Yuh auntie...she love you bad bad." ~ pg. 265
Pumkin Patterson is a 13-year-old girl living in Kingston, Jamaica, with her grandmother, Aunt Sophie and mother Paulette. When Sophie is offered the chance to move to France for work, she moves and promises to send for her niece in one year.
But like it so often happens when plans are made, wrenches are thrown. The grandmother dies so Pumkin is left alone with her negative-minded mother. Determined to raise money for the French school entrance exam, Pumkin starts selling baked goods against school policy. Her future is at risk when the school and her mother find out.
"And it feels like someone scooped out the last bit of ice cream from the tub, the last bit of hope being scraped out of my gut." ~ pg. 263
The best part of Sweetness in the Skin were the food references. It is as much of a foodie love story as it is a coming-of-age story. I found myself looking forward to the L'Ecole days to see what dish or dessert would be prepared. My mouth watered over the description of baked goods, especially coconut cake. I even tried preparing pork chops as described with salt, pepper, cinnamon and simmering on a low fire. They indeed fell off the bone!
I always worry about reading books set in the islands because of the language. It is usually hard for me to decipher but I was able to read Pumkin's story without interruption. The only parts I struggled through were when Pumkin's mom talked but I didn't like her much anyway. She was the character I loved to hate.
For a debut novel, Ishi Robinson nailed it! Sweetness in the Skin is funny and heartwarming about a young girl baking her way to the opportunity of a lifetime. Highly recommend adding to your wish list of books to read next year.
Happy Early Pub Day, Ishi Robinson! Sweetness in the Skin will be available Tuesday, April 23, 2024.
Disclaimer: An advance copy was received directly from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Opinions are my own and would be the same if I spent my hard-earned coins. ~LiteraryMarie
Title: Sweetness in the Skin
Author: Ishi Robinson
Published: April 2024
Genre: Multicultural Fiction
Rating: 🖤 🖤 🖤