Book Review: A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher

Admittedly, I got into the sourdough craze during the pandemic. So of course when I see a book titled A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking, I had to read it. Imagine my delight to find out that there is a carnivorous sourdough starter named Bob who can be very grumpy indeed.

This book was written for a younger audience, however, it was still an enjoyable read. The main character, Mona, is a 14-year-old girl who works in her Aunt’s bakery. It turns out that she has a magical gift for working dough. It’s her magic (along with a lot of emotions) that led to the creation of her familiar, Bob.

…the bucket had moved across the basement, and there were the remains of a couple of rats scattered around. He hadn’t eaten the bones. That was how we figured out that Bob could feed himself.

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher

Unfortunately for Mona, her straightforward world is turned upside down when she discovers a dead body in the bakery early in the morning. She becomes quickly caught up in a world that has far more complicated problems than making the fluffiest biscuits or getting bread to rise. Again, since this is a book written for a younger audience and features a younger main character, the way Mona navigates the world is through the eyes of someone not quite comfortable with who they are and who still needs adults around to guide her.

Unfortunately, as many of us have also figured out, Mona realizes that these adults for the most part are just as lost as the rest of us. It is a story about a young girl realizing that sometimes, you are the only one who can fix a mess that wasn’t yours to begin with. That can be horribly unfair. And it can be really hard. Especially when the only thing you want to worry about is whether or not a customer will enjoy a fresh-baked blueberry muffin.

The very best thing about being a baker is watching somebody bite into a blueberry muffin or fresh slice of sourdough dripping with butter and seeing them close their eyes and savor the taste.

A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher

I honestly thoroughly enjoyed this book and I can see why it won the 2021 Lodestar Award for Best Young Adult Book. Am I glad that I don’t have Bob the sourdough starter lurking in my basement? Yes. Do I also want to see more of him? Also yes. 😆

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