Review of Chef’s Kiss, written by Jarrett Melendez, illustrated by Danica Brine

Chef’s Kiss

written by Jarrett Melendez
illustrated by Danica Brine
colored by Hank Jones
lettered by Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou

Oni Press, 2022. 160 pages.
Review written February 26, 2022, from a library book
Starred Review
2023 Alex Award Winner

The Alex Award is given each year to ten books published for adults that will be of interest to teens. The committee picked a fun one with this rom-com graphic novel.

The characters in this book are new adults. We meet four of them on the first panel, moving into a new apartment together after college. Two have jobs already, which they’re ready to begin. One is staying in school with a new major (theater), and the other, Ben, has job interviews lined up.

We follow Ben to the interviews, and in each one, the interviewer loses interest when Ben admits he doesn’t have professional experience. He decides to lower his sights, but even the trash collectors want professional experience!

It’s at that point that Ben sees a Help Wanted sign at a restaurant, with “No Experience Necessary” at the bottom. And the cook who talks with him is heart-throbbingly handsome. Ben does have some ideas about cooking and something of a knack for it. But it’s a three-week training process before he can be permanently hired, and he has to please the owner’s pig!

The training is full of ups and downs, as he gets to know his handsome coworker. But then on the last day, his parents learn that he didn’t get the writing job he’d told them about. They pressure him instead to take an internship with a literary magazine, with their support, rather than continuing with “this nonsense” of working in a restaurant.

The whole thing is super fun, with adorable characters trying to set out into adult life. Since it’s a graphic novel, it didn’t take me long to read, and left me smiling.

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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