Monday, June 10, 2024

The Cookie Crumbles by Tracy Badua and Alechia Dow

The Cookie Crumbles by Tracy Badua and Alechia Dow
Publisher:  Quill Tree Books/Harper Collins
Format:  E-ARC
Number of pages:   320
Publishing:  June 11th, 2024
Source:  Books Forward 

Opening Line: "Generally speaking, cookies don't kill people." 

The Cookie Crumbles tagline is "The Great British Bake Off meets a tween-friendly Knives Out..."  Sounds intriguing, right?  Especially with that opening line.  

From the moment Laila shared a cupcake with Lucy on their second day of kindergarten, their friendship was cemented.  They've been inseparable ever since.  As their school's summer break approaches, they find out that they'll be going to different high schools.  Lucy has already been admitted at Sunderland Academy, a prestigious boarding school and Laila really wants to join her.   As it so happens Sunderland is hosting the Golden Cookie competition, with the grand prize being a full scholarship to the Academy, Laila thinks she has a good shot at winning.  She's been pretty successful in a few other competitions but without the scholarship it would be impossible for her to attend, money has been tight ever since her dad passed away from cancer.  Laila has always dreamed of becoming a cookie CEO, and she just has to win and go to Sunderland's elite culinary program.  Meanwhile, Lucy, Laila's best friend, aims to become a journalist.  She sees the cookie competition as an opportunity to write a stellar article to impress the scholarship committee at the Academy and earn money for school. 

Just as the competition gets underway, one of the celebrity judges collapses after tasting one of Laila's cookies, casting suspicion on her. Lucy, intent on clearing her friends name, starts to investigate by examining the dossiers she has on the contestants and interrogating the suspects.   Focused on finding the truth, she unintentionally hurts her best friend's feelings, leading Laila to feel targeted by Lucy's investigation and questioning.  Can the girls put their feelings aside and identify the true perpetrator before anyone else gets hurt?

The Cookie Crumbles is the collaborative work of Tracy Badua (author of Freddie vs. the Family Curse) and Alechia Dow (author of Just a Pinch of Magic).  It intertwines a whodunit mystery within a cookie baking contest during the height of a storm that shuts down all communication from the campus.   The plot thickens as numerous suspects are identified, including all the competitors, who have some prior connection to the Chef.  With speculations intensifying following the revelation that one of the judges could have possibly been involved, given that Chef Remi is notoriously rude and is thought to be disliked even by his fellow judges.

I quite enjoyed Laila and Lucy.  Sadly, there's a bit of friend drama, but they do end up making up. Both girls are goal oriented and driven to accomplish their goals.  Lucy is a meticulous note taker, chronicling all the events during the competition, including everyone's whereabouts.  And Laila is a very experienced baker with an exceptional palette.  She can identify the ingredients in a dish after only one bite.  This cookie competition is a new challenge for her as she's up against a group of competitors who've had more advantages than her.  They come from wealthy families, and they're not even as driven as she is to be a baker.  They don't appear to need the money, so why are they even competing?  It's interesting to learn their motivations and goals. 

Each chapter alternates between the two girls, written in the form of a journal recounting the events.  Providing details leading up to the attempted murder, the cooking challenges, and Lucy's observations and interactions as she works to solve the crime.    The only thing that seems to be missing is the recipes for the cookies that Laila baked, which would be a wonderful addition to the final book.   The Cookie Crumbles would captivate children who enjoy cooking and baking, and I would recommend it to fans of The Last Super Chef.  It would also be fun to pair it with my favorite foodie book, All Four Stars.  

**A huge thank you to Books Forward for the E-ARC**                     


  1. Yum! Sounds deliciously mysterious!

  2. This sounds like a book that LOTS of MG readers will enjoy. What a great concept. Carol Baldwin

  3. This sounds like a fun book. I liked Dow's other MG and have read and enjoyed her YA novels, so I have this one on my reading list, too. I love that it's told in journal entries. Thanks for sharing your review! Hope you have a great week. :)

  4. This sounds like a fun mystery, especially with the cookie competition. I'm going to try to read it this summer. Thanks.