You know those middle grades that just reach right into your chest and scoop your heart out? That was my experience reading All You Knead is Love. A charming and emotional story about family, identity, and passion. Keep reading this book review to find out the reasons I loved All You Knead is Love.
Twelve-year-old Alba doesn’t want to live with her estranged grandmother in Barcelona.
But her mother needs her to be far, far away from their home in New York City. Because this is the year that her mother is going to leave Alba’s abusive father. Hopefully. If she’s strong enough to finally, finally do it.
Alba is surprised to find that she loves Barcelona, forming a close relationship with her grandmother, meeting a supportive father figure, and making new friends. Most of all, she discovers a passion and talent for bread baking. When her beloved bakery is threatened with closure, Alba is determined to find a way to save it—and at the same time, she may just come up with a plan to make their family whole again.
(Disclaimer: I received this book from Netgalley. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)
TW: domestic abuse
All You Knead is Love warmed my heart. You know that joy of biting into a warm pastry and feeling the warmth in your hands? Of being transported by food to a memory? All You Knead is Love contains all of that. It’s an emotional middle grade story about feeling unwanted. About trying to figure out our passions. Alba was such a relatable character, especially as she navigates her relationship with her mother.
As adults, we can observe the ways that Alba is loved and wanted, but that feeling is so relatable. I think it’s universal to have felt being unwanted. To have just wanted to be seen and loved for a moment. How, sometimes, we cannot see the entire picture, the love behind gestures especially as the line between parent and child begins blurring. Alba, obsessed with magic, struggles to find a place that feels like home. To find people, a community, and friends.
We can sometimes pin our homes on something, a place, a person. When we lose that, it feels like a piece of ourselves is crumbling. We can turn places or people into spaces of escape and refuge. All You Knead is Love is about finding our spaces, our community, and our passions. It is entirely charming and such a precious story especially if you’re looking for family vibes!