Book Review: Evertaster by Adam Sidwell

This is a fun, quirky middle-grade book (the first book in the Evertaster series) following Guster, an eleven-year-old picky eater. Guster is always hungry; his nickname is “capital P” because that’s what he looks like—a stick with a head on it. He simply won’t eat sub-par food. The descriptions of ordinary food from Guster’s point of view reflects Sidwell’s talents. The book is humorous and fun.

While trying to find gourmet food, Guster finds himself involved in a five-hundred-year-old quest to find The One Recipe, a recipe so good and pure it will supposedly solve all of humanity’s problems. Along the way, he and his family meet devil chefs—chefs dressed in red uniforms that seem bent on causing the family harm. Guster realizes he must find The One Recipe. The only clue he has is an egg beater that seems to be a combination lock of some sort that is slowly revealing clues. Guster’s sister easily agrees to help him on his quest, and eventually his mother and a pilot agree as well. Before long, the family is traveling the globe in search of ingredients for the recipe.

Guster is called the “evertaster” because he can taste each individual ingredient in a recipe, and he can tell where each ingredient came from, how it was harvested and prepared, etc.

The book is over-the-top in a fun, humorous way so that kids and adults will enjoy the read. For instance, while in Peru, the kids encounter giant, man-eating birds guarding a tree that grows eggs (the largest of these eggs just happens to be the first ingredient in the one recipe).

The author took care in the writing, and I feel like when I read, my time is respected. The book is full of food metaphors, reinforcing the theme and allowing us to see the world through the culinarily-obsessed Guster. I enjoyed the over-the-top comparison between the light-hearted search for a recipe and more serious adventures—The One Recipe, of course, is reminiscent of The One Ring from Lord of the Rings, and the egg beater is similar to a coded puzzle that might be found in The DaVinci Code. A great read—one of the better books I’ve read recently.

I look forward to reviewing the second book next week.

What follows is an excerpt provided by the author and a chance to win a giveaway. I reviewed this book as part of a book tour and was provided a free copy, but the opinions expressed are my own.

Eleven-year-old Guster Johnsonville was about to hold the fate of humanity on the end of his spoon. It never would have happened  that way if he hadn’t been such a picky eater, nor would he have left the farmhouse in Louisiana and set out across the world if it weren’t for that wretched Ham Chowder Casserole.

            No one likes to eat this stuff, thought Guster, even though his two brothers and sister didn’t seem to mind. But if Mom ever made that mishmash of pig, peas, and potato again, he would be doomed.

            To think! They called him picky. “You’re a remarkable child,” was all Mom would say to him when he told her that the potatoes in her Chowder were grown so far north, they tasted like gravel. Never mind that he was on the verge of starvation.

             “Not picky! Just careful,” Guster always said. How often he went hungry! How badly he needed something to eat! The way food burned or ached as it passed across his tongue — it was like eating day-old road kill. Hot dogs were like the sweaty vinyl back seat of a station wagon with its windows rolled up in the sun. Frozen burritos were like buttery squirrels infected with the flu.

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