by Cori Cooper
Genre: Middle Grade Contemporary Fantasy
Can it be real? Or is it bake believe?
All Cat Anderson wants out of life is a circle of friends to giggle with and a few cute boys to flirt with. Her first day of eighth grade is looking perfect—until a scheduling mishap places her in a culinary arts class.
Food, it turns out, is a very big deal. In her family there is a secret, too big to stay hidden any longer. A secret too fantastic to be real. Something happens when Cat bakes. Something impossible.
“Ohhhh! What’s that?” Robyn waits at my locker, her eyes getting bigger as I walk closer. I have a towering stack of Snickerdoodles on the plate in my hands. She darts around my elbow to reach for the topmost cookie.
I say towering stack and I mean it. When Robyn removes one, she sets off the delicate balance, making my tower sway. I drop my backpack and throw my free arm around the plate, so the cookies don’t all hit the floor.
“Snickerdoodles.” I blow a strand of hair out of my face. “From Culinary.”
Robyn’s eyebrows lower. “Where did you get them?”
I roll my eyes. Seriously, she asks like I went all black clad and ninja cat burglared the nearest bakery. “From Culinary.” I say again, louder, and more distinct so she can’t misunderstand.
“You aren’t taking Culinary.”
“I am now.” I adjust my backpack by shrugging one shoulder.
“So…” Robyn examines the cookie she snitched. “You actually made these?”
“Well, yeah, with my group.”
Her face lights up like the sunrise over the Boise Foothills. “Oh, my gosh, this is the best day ever! I LOVE Snickerdoodles.” And she proceeds to shove the whole cookie in her mouth so both hands are free to grab some more.
I make a smooth turn to move the plate out of her reach. “Wait, didn’t you have Snickerdoodles already? In first hour?”
“Well, we made Snickerdoodles,” Robyn sighs, “But my whole group is boys and they ate everything. EVERYTHING. I barely escaped with my fingers. Please can I have more, pretty, pretty please, Cat, the smell is making me crazy and that is a TON of cookies.”
With all the snickering going on in our kitchen, Brigg, Paisley, Tobey, and I accidentally doubled the recipe. We divided the cookies onto five plates, one for everyone in our group and a plate for Mrs. Cake, but there are still about a zillion cookies for each of us to take home.
So, basically, I have more than enough to share with Robyn, and a small army if there happens to be one marching by on our walk home. I graciously lift the plate to the level of her nose.
Robyn takes a normal bite this time and closes her eyes. “These are SO good!”
I am SO happy she thinks so, but nothing looks good half-chewed. I stare at my fascinating shoes until she swallows.
“Wait a second! I need to know how you ended up in Culinary! This morning you didn’t even know what ‘culinary’ meant. Why are you taking Culinary now? Tell me more about this Culinary.”
I brush a few stray crumbs off my arm. Props to her for using the word culinary so many times in one sentence.
Cori Cooper lives in the magical Arizona Mountains, which she’s pretty convinced is the setting for all the fairy tales.
Besides writing stories, she adores hanging out with her family, playing board games, hiking and baking, baking, baking. Like Cat’s family, she’s positive Cinnamon Rolls fix everything.
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