Baking Me Crazy
I wanted to read Karla Sorensen’s Baking Me Crazy because I’m always looking for good representation, and the heroine of this book uses a wheelchair due to transverse myelitis. The story, a friends-to-lovers romance, takes a realistic look at disabled life, but I’d have preferred the conflict not to be so centered on the heroine’s disability.
The men in Levi Buchanan’s family are reputed to fall in love just once, and forever. Levi was sunk the first time he saw Jocelyn – Joss – Abernathy shoot threes at wheelchair basketball. However Joss, only recently moved to town and out of the hospital, didn’t feel ready to date. She told Levi she needed a friend, and for the last five years, he’s been that, and only that. But when Joss develops a crush on someone else, Levi decides to try again.
Levi calls Joss “Sonic”, because she’s prickly like a hedgehog – which pretty much summarizes her personality – and rolls around super fast. She bakes, although it seems more like something she does to make sure the book can be hooked into Penny Reid’s Winston Brothers universe (she works at Jennifer Donner’s bakery). The author has clearly done her research on transverse myelitis, and I was happy to see the information and realism about how Joss lives with her disability. One thing I really appreciated is the normalization of a character who both uses a wheelchair and is capable of short distance walking and standing. However, I did worry that there was too much emphasis on it. It seemed like almost everything about Joss came back to her wheelchair – her mother overprotecting her, her cute customer turning out to be her new physical therapist, her reasons for rejecting Levi. She tells Levi he can’t possibly love her, because he can’t want to take on, as she puts it, “this:”
And you’re going to turn me at night? Make sure I have blankets between my knees so I don’t get sores? Deal with the fact that I haven’t gotten a solid night’s sleep in seven years? You’re going to stand by when people look at me the way they do? Be rude when they meet me? Assume I’m helpless?… You know parts of it. And you know the parts that you’ve seen. But you’re not ready for this. This isn’t what you want.
Of course it’s reasonable for her to think about her disability and her future with Levi. But… a relationship needs to be between people and personalities as well.
As for Levi, he’s gorgeous, wonderful, supportive, and completely in love with Joss. I’m not big on ‘fated mates’ in non-paranormals, so that felt silly. But there is nuance here. Joss is concerned that Levi’s friendship was just a way of hanging around in the hopes of eventually sleeping with her, while Levi has to ask himself if he has been diminishing Joss’s ability to make decisions (although he stumbles at this at the end as well).
While I think the book could have been stronger, I did enjoy it. It’s a quick, lighthearted read, and worth picking up.
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I'm a history geek and educator, and I've lived in five different countries in North America, Asia, and Europe. In addition to the usual subgenres, I'm partial to YA, Sci-fi/Fantasy, and graphic novels. I love to cook.