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.
The $150,000 Rugelach follows Jillian and Jack, two kids with opposing personalities and a shared love of food and cooking. JIllian’s mom died a year ago and her dad is working two jobs to keep them afloat after her mother’s restaurant closed. They’ve also had to move in with Jillian’s grandma, Rita. So when Jillian finds about a cooking competition hosted by major corporation CEO Phineas Farnsworth II, she thinks it’s a good opportunity to make money to help out the family. Jack is also hugely interested in the contest as Farnsworth is his role model. When the two kids are assigned as teammates, Jack’s loud attitude clashes with Jillian’s quieter personality, but even worse, the kids realize that Farnsworth has a more sinister plan for the contest than they could have imagined.