Bake Believe


Young Adult - Fantasy - Urban
282 Pages
Reviewed on 03/29/2021
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite

Bake Believe by Cori Cooper is magical, warmhearted, and will have you craving baked goods by the end. Cat Anderson's excited to get back to her friends and to her classes. Only by some mistake, she ends up in a culinary class. She has no idea what she's discovering when she bakes her first batch of cookies and soon learns a family secret. She finds a newfound path and part of herself as she learns more about her family's special gift with cooking. Just maybe she can learn that to use her newfound gift to make the world a better place.

Bake Believe is an upbeat and lighthearted tale of baking, magic, and the power to change the world told from a teenage perspective. The story is similar to baking in how it gives you the same warmth and bubbly feeling that comes from making or being given delicious baked goods. Cori Cooper captures the essence that baked goods can provide in their warmth and sweetness through the humorous and lighthearted tone of the story. The primary theme of the book is happiness, self-discovery, and the power of baking via a unique gift that allows Cat to create food that reflects her emotions. Her family has a special gift to affect people through food, such as when Cat makes cookies when she was sad and in doing so filled a boy she likes with this sadness. By unlocking these abilities, she's able to find a part of herself that enjoys cooking and allows her to see the joy that sharing food with others can bring.

Cori Cooper delivers a story that will give you a bubbly feeling and will make the whole family want to get into the kitchen. The writing has an upbeat style that is driven through humor and cooking references which work well with the fun personality of Cat. The writing has fun phrases such as 'you don't want to have a bland tortilla life' and 'to bake the world into a better place' with food references that are clever, witty, and will make you hungry. The book focuses on the art of cooking and shows food as a catalyst to bring people together which has a magical spin woven into it through Cat's unique abilities. Each chapter comes with a variety of yummy baking recipes including snickerdoodles, banana bread, and pancakes. Bake Believe is clever, charming, funny, and will have you wanting to bake cookies by the end.

Susan Sewell

Extraordinary things happen to an eighth-grade student when she prepares food for her classmates in the entertaining young adult fantasy novel, Bake Believe by Cori Cooper. Cat Anderson's mother never, ever cooks. Her family's meals consist of microwave foods and takeout. On the other hand, her Aunt Marissa bakes all the time and is a marvelous cook. On the first day of eighth grade, Cat's Broadcasting course is canceled, and she needs to find another elective to replace it. The school computer is down, and the list of electives is unavailable, so Cat goes to Culinary in the meantime. By the end of class, Cat discovers she loves the subject, likes her teacher, and enjoys the camaraderie of her classmates. Because the hour was so enjoyable, she decides to take Culinary in place of Broadcasting. But, even though she seems to have inherited her Aunt Marissa's gift for baking, her cousin and friends act strangely after eating something she's baked. After a couple of classes and some very bizarre incidents, Cat wonders if she should continue with the course. Is there a good reason her mother is opposed to her taking Culinary? Are the crazy things occurring the result of her cooking?

Bake Believe by Cori Cooper is a fantastic urban fantasy where the magic begins in the kitchen. The story is an original tale with a humorous plot and an engaging teenage protagonist. The scrapes Cat gets into while baking kept me laughing. Told in the first person, the storyline smoothly flows from the captivating beginning until the fascinating ending. Although the story concludes on a bit of a cliffhanger, it is the perfect segue to prepare the reader for a sequel. I appreciated how Ms. Cooper includes a kid-friendly recipe at the end of each chapter, encouraging children to cook. These are excellent recipes for beginners and include chocolate chip cookies, churros, and pancakes, among many other delicious treats. Written for young adults, the story promises to entertain everyone who enjoys stories and food sprinkled with magic.

Lexie Fox

Bake Believe is a work of fiction in the fantasy genre, and also a work of non-fiction in the cooking genre. It is aimed at young adults and was penned by Cori Cooper. The book tells the coming of age story of Cat Anderson, a teenager who accidentally enrolls in a cooking course only to discover that the magic of baking is something that runs through her family, and could change her life. The chapters are punctuated by a variety of baking recipes written from Cat’s POV, and whilst I initially assumed these were fiction, I tried making the sugar cookies and it turns out they’re actual recipes!

Bake Believe is a wonderfully gripping young adult story, and the inclusion of actual baking recipes written by the character is a playful and effective way of exploring the character’s relationship with baking, and for anyone curious enough to try making them a delicious treat awaits. The book has a lovely message to share with readers and the author Cori Cooper is very skilled at sharing a positive story without being too overbearing with the message. The idea of establishing the rules of magic within the story to be synonymous with cookery was a brilliant and original concept. The commitment to the world building was excellent and resulted in a book that is able to be wild with its ideas and characters but consistent enough to leave the reader with a satisfying experience. I would recommend this book to young adults who are interested in original and well-realized ideas in the fantasy genre.

K.C. Finn

Bake Believe is a work of fiction in the urban fantasy genre. It is aimed at young adults and up, and was penned by author Cori Cooper. The book follows Cat Anderson, a young woman who seems content with the high school life she’s built for herself. Some friends to share the good times with and some male eye candy to distract her from time to time are all she needs to be happy. But when she finds herself accidentally enrolled in a culinary arts class, she stumbles upon a family secret involving magical powers and delicious baked goods.

One of my favorite things about Bake Believe was how the author included recipes to complement certain scenes and add (quite literally) flavor and depth to the story. I enjoyed the overall message that this book intended for its audience and thought the ideas were put across in a whimsical way and woven well into the fun and hijinks of the storyline. I really loved that Cat’s magic was related to baking which makes this book feel original and imaginative and completely sets it apart from others within the genre. Author Cori Cooper thoroughly understands the audience this novel is aimed at, and it shows in everything - from the colorful and interesting cast of characters to the magic system used, all of which help make this book feel realistic and well thought out. I would not hesitate to recommend this book to younger and older fans of fantasy books, and those with an interest in creative and gripping new magic systems.