DiDi has been taking care of her younger sister, GiGi (Galileo Galilei), since their mother died in a house fire. All they have left of Mom is her book of recipes. Even though DiDi (Delta Dawn) won a million dollars in a cooking contest, she is still extremely frugal, saving every penny for GiGi’s education. DiDi cuts hair for a living, but she’s determined that her hardworking, academically-gifted little sister will have nothing but the best. It’s the beginning of a new school year, and GiGi is about to enter her first year at a very exclusive prep school.
Little does DiDi know that her sister has no intention of continuing down the solitary, studious path she’s been on all her life. New school, new girl—one with a New and Improved Recipe for Success. Now she wants to be called Leia, not GiGi, and she wants to sit with friends at lunchtime, not study in the library. Quickly enough, Leia makes friends, frenemies, and maybe more than friends at her new school. Though Leia had decided that DiDi was a boring nag, she starts to have qualms of jealousy when mean girl Mace begins spending all her time with her at the salon. Furthermore, Leia begins to realize that her new friends’ parents may not think she is good enough for their little darlings.
This book was much more than I expected, in many ways. First of all, the themes are much more mature than the title would suggest. Despite the regular appearance of tooth-rottingly sweet recipes, The Truth About Twinkie Pie might be most comfortable for a middle-schooler. Secondly, the book was much more profound than I would have anticipated. DiDi and GiGi, as well as most of the secondary characters, are flawed and vulnerable, and the reader comes to care for them deeply. In the course of the novel, GiGi will come to know the truth, and there is quite a series of discoveries that will shake her. Her choices after these revelations will determine her future character and happiness. Kudos to Kat Yeh for a well-written and engaging novel that will stay with the reader for a long time.
Recommended for sixth grade and up.
Disclaimer: I read an advance reader copy of this novel, obtained from the author at BEA. Opinions are solely my own and do not reflect those of my employer or anyone else.