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4.5 out of 5 stars
The Baking Life of Amelie Day
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 12 October 2015
From the start, you know there is something different about Amelie. Her best friend and parents have concerns for her health, but she's only worried about baking - cakes, cookies, biscuits, sausage rolls. 'Flour power' is her motto, and it comes as a shock (if the reader doesn't know) that she actually has a debilitating condition - cystic fibrosis.

This turns the book into something slightly different, it's not just a story about a wannabe baker trying to get a place in a competition, it's the story of someone's struggle to lie a normal life and pursue their dreams while coping with health problems every day. I've not read a book concerned with the sufferer of CF before, it was illuminating - watching Amelie do (or forget to do) her exercises, take her SEVENTY-FIVE tablets each day, struggle to regain her breath after coughing fits.

Amelie is a character, determined to bake on despite everything, especially when she wins a place at the London heats of the Teen Baker of the Year competition. Will she get there, even with deteriorating health?

I really enjoyed the story, Amelie, her mum and best friend, though he seemed very young to exhibit such a mature attitude towards Amelie's health. Young fans of the Great British Bake Off may take a liking to this, it would be good for those between 10 and 14. There is nothing unsuitable for this age range.

I personally liked the open nature of the ending, there is room for a further story, but it ends realistically and with a lot to think about. I also liked the recipes that Amelie includes for items she bakes in the chapters - planning on trying some of them out!
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on 28 September 2014
The Baking Life of Amelie Day is yet another wonderful book from Vanessa Curtis, who I still think is one of YA's unsung heroes. Everything she writes resonates with me, whether it be Amelie Day or the beloved Zelah Green, and I only wish she had more recognition!

The Baking Life of Amelie Day may appear to be an easy, light read, but under the bright pink cover it's anything but. Teenager Amelie Day is a keen baker in her spare time, with hopes of taking her talent further. Unfortunately her dreams are hampered by Cystic Fibrosis - an illness she fights with every day of her life. Even though Amelie is really very poorly, she doesn't let it define her or hold her back from living like a normal teen. She has friends, she goes to school when possible and she maintains a positive outlook on life. Her bravery is her most inspiring attribute, and I loved her.

Although this book does deal with darker, harder-hitting subjects, it's also quite funny, thanks to Amelie's sense of humour. There are also real baking recipes interspersed throughout, which I'm sure will delight young bakers everywhere. If I had even an ounce of baking talent I would try them myself, but sadly that isn't my forte!

The Baking Life of Amelie Day is a fantastic book, brimming with emotion and heart. I hope Vanessa Curtis writes more about Amelie Day and her family and friends - I'd love to know how they're all getting on, and find out whether Amelie has made it to the Great British Bake Off studios. Fingers firmly crossed that she has!
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on 16 February 2015
'The Baking Life of Amelie Day' is a delectable read! Be prepared for this book to give you an insane craving for cupcakes and a desire to rush out to your kitchen and make lots of other scrumptious home-baked goodies.

This is a middle-grade book but it's one that I think just about everyone will adore, even older readers. Although the story is about a girl with cystic fibrosis, this isn't revealed until a few chapters in and even then Amelie informs the reader in a very matter of fact way. She doesn't let herself be defined by her illness and indeed I'd say that the book is much more about her love of all things baked rather than about the illness which she tries not to allow to control her life. When she is chosen to take part in the Teen Baker of the Year competition, she desperately wants the opportunity to go but she has a lot more hurdles than the other competitors to contend with first.

I thought that Amelie was a wonderful character and this was a truly fantastic read. I was hooked from the very beginning as Amelie struggles to lead a normal life and embrace her all-consuming passion for baking. She is never more happy than when she's in the kitchen dreaming up a new recipe and that is something that I can definitely identify with!

What I really loved about this book was the inclusion of some of Amelie's recipes which I will definitely be having a go at making. I especially want to try her orange polenta muffins and chocolate cupcakes which both sound delicious.

I have all my fingers and toes crossed that Vanessa Curtis is planning a follow-up book because I would absolutely love to read more about Amelie and find out what happens to her next. If this book was a cake it would be the best one you'd ever tasted!
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on 1 October 2014
Although I'm not generally a fan of young fiction, with it's brilliant eye-catching cover and intriguing blurb, I just had to give The Baking Life of Amelie Day by Vanessa Curtis a read. And it's such a sweet story!

Amelie lives to bake. It's all she thinks about; constantly trying to come up with new recipes and twists on old ones, and counts down the minutes until she can bake again. When she gets into the quarter finals of Britain's Best Teen Baker of the year, she is absolutely thrilled. If she wins the competition, it could help set her on her way towards the career in baking she wants! There's just one problem; Amelie has Cystic Fibrosis, and seems to be steadily getting worse. She has trouble breathing and is prone to lung infections. Her Mum is adamant she is far too ill to travel to London to take part in the competition. But this is Amelie's dream - she can't not go!

There is obviously a lot of baking in this book as baking is Amelie's whole life. However, the focus is a lot more on Amelie's Cystic Fibrosis. Her CF is what keeps her from baking and going to school sometimes. Her CF is what has her being late for classes because she can't rush or she'll end up out of breath and start a huge coughing fit. Her CF is why she is so small and slim, because it affects her digestive system - meaning Amelie can eat as much as she wants, because she needs to put on the weight. I didn't know too much about CF before reading Amelie Day, and I was shocked by some of the things I discovered about this genetic condition, like sufferers are lucky if they make it to 40, because there's no cure. Despite how terrible the condition is, Curtis doesn't bog the book down with medical terms or make it too depressing, but it is honest about what CF sufferers go through. It talks about how Amelie will eventually need a lung transplant, and that she has to have a feeding tube put in to help her gain weight. It's educational without being scary.

When it comes to baking, Amelie really knows her stuff. There are a lot of various cakes, biscuits and pastries baked in this book, and she talks through each one, explaining techniques like creaming, and discussing various ingredients and which are better to use. It even includes Amelie's own recipes, which are just awesome! They're not just bog-standard recipes, they've been written by Amelie herself, in her own voice, so they're entertaining to read as well as the story, and easy enough to follow for 8-12-year olds to follow. I used to bake a bit when I was younger, and reading Amelie Day brought all the memories back, and got me excited to start baking again!

As well as CF and baking, there are some moral themes to Amelie Day; doing what you want against doing what you're told. About being responsible, and how your actions can affect others. Its a short novel at 171 pages, but there's quite a lot to take from it.

If there was a negative side to Amelie Day, it would be that it's just a little too young for me, but that's just my personal taste, and I'm not technically the target audience. For those 8-12 year olds, The Baking Life of Amelie Day is a really awesome story!
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on 17 November 2014
The Baking Life of Amelie Day is quite a short book, I managed to read in a few hours. However neither the story or characters feel incomplete. I was impressed by how alive Amelie was just a few pages into the book.

I really liked Amelie’s voice, she engages with the reader, is funny, determined and sincere. You know about Amelie’s cystic fibrosis from the book blurb but Amelie doesn’t go into details until a few chapters in. It’s part of the story but not the story, I thought Vanessa Curtis balanced this really well.

Charming, sweet and honest I recommend The Baking Life of Amelie Day, ideally with cupcakes and tea. (I couldn’t resist…)
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on 18 September 2014
I absolutely loved this book. Amelie was so relatable as a character and some of the things she said I could see my disabled sister saying. She was so independent and inspiring. Go Flour Power! I love the fact that the book is set out as if it’s a true story and that the recipes go on throughout the book, as it reminds you of the fact that baking is her escape. I would definitely recommend this book to my friends and I think that reading it would change people’s views on disability, as the book subtlety encourages you to see Amelie as a teenage girl not as someone who is disabled. This book made me cry and laugh and I can’t wait to try out some of the recipes with my sisters.
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