Summary: Honestly Elliot
Honestly Elliot was a highly anticipated 2022 read for me — so much so that I read it in December 2021. Elliot has ADHD and loves to cook. He lives with his mom and spends time with his dad and step-mom regularly. His step-mom is pregnant and Elliot feels a bit threatened since his dad already seems disappointed in his seemingly scatter-brained behavior and the fact that he’s not an A+ student. He also wants to go to cooking camp and his dad refuses to pay for it, insisting that Elliot can go if he himself pays for it.
When Elliot gets the chance to execute a food-related pop-up as part of a school-wide entrepreneurial project, he sees it as a chance for redemption. Unfortunately, he’s paired with popular girl Maribel who can’t eat gluten and wants them to make yummy pies without gluten. Can Elliot and Maribel pull this off without butting heads? The two quickly find that they have a lot more in common than they thought.
This was a great read. The storytelling is warm and immersive and Elliot is such a relatable, lovable character. He’s sensitive, shows his emotions, and really loves to cook. I loved his relationship with his mother and eventually with his stepmother. Elliot has been diagnosed with ADHD and sees a therapist to help him manage his emotions. I’m here for more stories that help us empathize with kids whose brains work differently. I felt a lot of compassion for him because he was really trying even though his dad didn’t seem to recognize that.
Elliot and Maribel made for a lovely unlikely friendship that blossomed beautifully. The two learn to work together even though Maribel is way more organized than Elliot. I loved that they harnessed both their strengths and creativity. With Maribel, we learn a lot about food allergies and intolerances and how we can be more accommodating of people’s circumstances. Finally, between Elliot’s guinea pigs and Elliot’s struggle to make and keep good friends, this story has plenty of cute, heartwarming moments!
Overall: Honestly Elliot
Honestly Elliot is a sweet, heartwarming coming-of-age story featuring a protagonist with ADHD who just loves to cook! Readers will root for Elliot and his new friend Maribel as they learn to see their challenges as strengths. This book also features divorced parents and a boy finding his place as he anticipates a new step-sibling. Like many of Dunn’s books, this one is a hug of a book and will keep you hooked from start to finish.