I’m thrilled to announce that my sophomore novel (with the longest title I’ll ever write) A CUBAN GIRL’S GUIDE TO TEA AND TOMORROW will be published fall of 2020. For this book, and one coming in 2021, I am moving over to Atheneum Simon and Schuster, and working with editor, Alex Borbolla. Alex is Cuban-American like me and I was truly touched by her love and vision for my story. Here’s the announcement under it’s original title.
Teenage master of Cuban cuisine, Lila Reyes, is eager to inherit her family’s Miami bakery along with her sister, Pilar. But between spring and graduation, Lila’s abuela dies, her best friend abandons her, and her long-time boyfriend dumps her. Fearing Lila’s emotional health, her parents defy her wishes and entrust her summer to family and their Winchester, England inn. Even though she’s given a space to cook at the inn, she longs for Miami, the seat of her Cuban roots. Being a Miami Cuban baker is her glorified past and destined future, forged by years of training by her loving abuela.
Days into her stay, Orion Maxwell barges into Lila’s inn kitchen with a delivery from his family’s tea shop. A nuisance at first, opposite ingredients soon learn to blend. Orion befriends Lila, introducing her to his mates and devouring her food––comida Cubana.
Orion entertains her with his mental collection of superstitions and sweeps her onto his vintage motorbike. He wraps cold, underdressed Lila in his wool cardigan and becomes her personal tour guide. His mum’s early-onset (FTD) Dementia gives Orion a unique outlook––he never asks too much of the world, accepting what he can’t control. Lila soon discovers this British boy brings empathy to her loss because he’s living his own.
Before long, Lila can’t control the route of her own heart as she begins to fall for more than a new love. England has charmed her. And a special opportunity in London tempts her. As her return ticket looms, Lila feels impossibly caught between two flags. Hearts aren’t supposed to split like this––between a beautiful boy and a beautiful family. Between exploring an uncharted future in a rich new place, and honoring Abuela’s treasured legacy.
Meet Lila Reyes
This book is highly influenced by my childhood growing up in a large Cuban family. Most of my relatives live in Florida. In penning this story, I took the food, love, quirks, customs, and lifelong lessons about identity and culture I learned while my Cuban tías and tíos fed me in more ways than one.
Why set most of my story in England?
I am a huge Anglophile. After traveling in England, I fell in love with the landscape, people, charm, and dreamed of setting a story there. My friend lives in Winchester, the town where Lila stays, and becomes a fish out of water. Watching her adapt, and then share her own food and customs with those who become her new friends was so fun to write! Lila celebrates the richness of her culture while learning the ways of another. She also learns much about what it means––and what it doesn’t––to be Cuban American after broadening her scope a bit. Her world can be bigger than she believed.
The relationships in this book look like some of the ones in my family. Even my own.
My story, and the historical details, are not meant to represent the story of every Cuban family or every Cuban-American, or signify a universal experience. It is the story of one Cuban girl and her personal views on her identity, from another who lived and loved a lot like her.
If you’d love to read this book, please add it to your shelf on Goodreads.