Rubi Ramos’ Recipe for Success by Jessica Parra #BookReview #Contemporary #ComingofAge

Graduation is only a few months away, and Rubi Ramos’s “recipe for success” to get into the prestigious Alma University is already off track.

When Alma waitlists Rubi’s application, Rubi will need to be distraction-free to make the grade and keep her parents—who have wanted this for her for years—from finding out. This means falling for her cute surfer-slash-math tutor, Ryan, definitely won’t work. And neither will break her mother’s ban on baking—her parents didn’t leave Cuba so she could bake just like them.

But some recipes are begging to be tampered with.

When the First Annual Bake Off comes to town, Rubi’s passion for baking goes from a subtle simmer to a full boil. Add to the mix her crush on Ryan may be turning into a full-fledged relationship, and Rubi’s life is suddenly so different from what it was. She’s not sure if she has what it takes to win the Bake Off, or where her relationship with Ryan is going, but there’s only one way to find out—even if it means going against her parents’ priorities.

Now Rubi must differentiate between the responsibility of unfulfilled dreams she holds and finding the path she’s meant for.

A joyful novel of first romance, new possibilities, and the chance to define yourself, Rubi Ramos’s Recipe for Success will find its way into your heart.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and Wednesday Books for the free digital copy of this book to read and review!

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

Rubi Ramos’s Recipe for Success by Jessica Parra is a heartfelt love letter to Cuban culture and a fun romcom about a Cuban American teenager who is the daughter of bakers, personally loves to bake, and has a sure-fire plan/recipe to get into the college of her dreams.

My Reading Experience:

Wow! Just wow! When I picked up this book, I only expected it would be a fun story about a girl who experiences her first love, fights to get into the college of her dreams, and enters a baking contest. Sounds like the recipe for a light and fluffy fun read, doesn’t it?

Oh, but it delivers so much more, as the tears of joy I cried at the end will attest to (and I rarely cry happy tears). The story of a Cuban couple and their first-generation daughter fighting to live the American dream was so authentic that it touched my heart in all the right places. And the love shown to the Cuban culture, particularly the baked goods, was the perfect love letter to those who share that heritage and those who want to know it better.

I loved everything about this story. It is so fun and so entertaining on the surface that it’s easy to immerse yourself in and enjoy doing it. But underneath the fun lies the heart of the story – what it’s like for immigrants and their children in this country:

  • The subtle and not-so-subtle bias and discrimination.
  • The pressures on the kids to be more.
  • The need to feel connected to one’s roots.

It’s all in there and then some.

I loved the Bake-Off angle, also. I’m a big fan of cooking competitions, especially The Great British Bake-Off, and this local bake-off had all the fun comparisons to that show right down to the judges and hosts. It added that relatable component I could grab onto and expand from.


Rubi Ramos is smart and determined, and I love that she must see things through to the end, always. She is not a flighty or angsty teen at all;

as a matter of fact, she is the opposite of those types. If you don’t fall in love with Rubi by the end of the book, I would be surprised. She is a character I found easy to get behind and root for.

The romance is cute and innocent, and I always love a more innocent romance in a YA story. The chemistry between Ryan and Rubi is fun, lively, and supportive. As our Rubi’s friendships. It’s a cast full of characters to love for their unique qualities and their passion for their dreams.

Narration & Pacing:

The book is told in first-person narration, and I don’t believe it could be told effectively any other way. This narration style made the story flow and kept a fast pace that I enjoyed. It is such a deceptively easy read with so much in it to enjoy.


The setting is my ideal setting. The Ramos family lives in Pelican Point, California, a coastal town where you can see Catalina Island in the distance. The location is critical to the story, but you don’t realize the importance until further into the tale. I think a setting should be chosen for a reason, and this one was.

Read if you like:

  • Fun heartwarming romcoms
  • Romcoms with meat
  • Relevant and important stories that will expand your cultural awareness

Overall Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Writing Quality10
Character Development9
‘Couldn’t Put It Down’-ness10
Use of Setting10
All scores, except the overall rating, are on a scale of 1-10. The overall rating is converted to the standard 5-point system.

17 Replies to “Rubi Ramos’ Recipe for Success by Jessica Parra #BookReview #Contemporary #ComingofAge”

  1. Glad you enjoyed this one! The pressure on kids can be a lot. I am glad it is being explored in books now a days.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It warms my heart how you embrace this genre. I don’t read much YA but you managed to make me want to read this story. You make a compelling point about choice of setting should matter and now I’m curious about this one. Outstanding review, Tessa💜

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This sounds wonderful! I was on the fence about downloading this one (it was the baked goods that lured me in), but I’m still trying to get caught up. Nice five star review, Tessa!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Excellent review, Tessa. I thought this was a YA type story, but it sounds like so much more. I just requested the audiobook and I think it is one I would really enjoy.

    Liked by 1 person

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