Summary: Lasagna Means I Love You
In Lasagna Means I Love You, 11-year-old Mo is facing a hard life moment. Her Nan (and sole guardian) has died, and her uncle (and only surviving relative) has decided to pass on caring for her in favor of enlisting in the military. So, Mo’s entering the foster care system. Her Nan’s last wish for Mo was that she find a hobby, but Mo isn’t sure about that — until she finds a book with family recipes. After one failed homing, she ends up in the home of a very well-to-do white couple who seem delighted to have her. There, Mo feels safe to try her hands out at recipes and even start a website to house all the family recipes she’s been collecting. But then, Mo’s world is turned upside down again. Will Mo ever find her own family?
I loved every second of this book; it was one of those stories you wanted to see the end of but also wanted to keep reading forever. Mo is sharp, kind, and curious about the world. Although she’s grieving, this isn’t a sad, sad story. We see the waves of grief throughout the story in a realistic way (like they would for an 11-year-old). This book is totally written as letters to Nan, which make for a greater appeal.
The author also acknowledges how different foster care is for white tween girls compared to the experience kids of color have. Mo ends up with a family of high social status who provides her with all her needs and even wants. Thankfully, they make it easy for Mo to pursue her new hobby, which ends up being the center of this book. I loved all the recipes, and as a huge foodie, I enjoy reading about food — especially when the recipes are accessible and can be recreated.
Finally, while Mo had several people reject her presence in their lives, I loved the people who did accept her so wholeheartedly. From Joe, the doorman and his wife, to her best friend Crystal, and even her therapist, Dr Barb. The backdrop of New York City was the icing on the cake!
Overall: Lasagna Means I Love You
Lasagna Means I Love You is an achingly tender portrait of a girl searching — through food and recipes — for a family to belong to. Readers are in for a treat with this one. Prepare to have your heart warmed and squeezed by Mo and her crew, experience New York City in all its vibrancy, and learn why and how lasagna can mean I love you.