Cover Image: The Takeout

The Takeout

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Member Reviews

A charming read with very likeable characters. I enjoyed reading about Filipino-Indian food fusion, with a touch of albularyo magic. This is a light read about loyalty, family, and friendship. Middle-grade kids and adults would enjoy this.
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Absolutely wonderful book by Tracy again and this one didn't disappoint. Absolutely phenomenal writing here!
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Thank you to HarperCollins Children's Books, Clarion Books, and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book.

The Takeout by Tracy Badua is the story of Mila, her family's food truck, and the fight she undertakes to keep a pair of celebrity chefs from stealing her family's recipes and livelihood.

I know a lot of people will probably love this book, but I couldn't connect with it. For me, the entire book was filled with so many different plotlines that ALL introduced additional stress and unhappiness into the main character's life, it was an uncomfortable, tense read. I realize that life is not always puppies and flowers, but I was missing a little bit of joy in the book - instead it all seemed to be frustration and sadness until the end of the book.

The actual writing is cohesive and effective, but unfortunately, due to the plot points and storyline, it was not an enjoyable read for me.

********SPOILER ALERT*********
There was sooooooo much unhappiness and tension. It seemed liked overkill that 1) Mila was unhappy within her family - she misses her mother while she is out of the country, and she currently lives in a tense household with her grandmother who is disapproving of her father's life choices and voices those opinions often, 2) Mila is uncomfortable in her community while not feeling like she fits in or has true friends, 3) Mila is afraid of the potential of the loss of her family's food truck and how the loss of that income and her Dad's dream will affect them all, 4) Mila is disappointed in her inability to create potions like her mother and sister and as a result feels inadequate.

Another tension I personally experience that other people may find amusing was the presence of Ajay's pet rat. I realize that this is just a book, but the fact that he carries the rat around in his pocket and occasionally leaves it in a box IN THE FOOD TRUCK while he is working there was extremely gross to me.

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I really loved this middle grade book!! It was so much fun! 

All the food talk was great. Made my mouth water. The Darlington’s made me so angry, especially with how they treated Mila and her family. The mystery and sleuthing was so much fun. I enjoyed Mila working with Ajay. Although, I didn’t like how Ajay kept making comments on Mila’s look and wanting to change it. 

My favorite quote: “I never want to be a boring old corn dog.” LOL!!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an early advanced ebook copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
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A charming lead fights to save her family business in a tale about food, magic and finding your own identity.

Mila feels out of place in Coral Beach, a small city where being Filipino makes her stand out. The only place where she can be herself is the Banana Leaf, her father's Filipino-Indian fusion food truck. Unfortunately, a new celebrity chef restaurant might put the truck out of business, especially after she discovers they've stolen her family recipes. But what can one person even do about it?

Growing up in the diaspora has some unique challenges, and I've read a lot of MG books lately that address this. This one in particular though really manages to hit it from multiple angles. It's difficult to try to shave off pieces of yourself to fit in, but it's also difficult when other people challenge your choices and make you feel "not enough." That being said, I think Mila's growth in learning to accept herself will resonate with any reader, and her own revelations really hit home. Ajay was also a great secondary character, with growing up and fitting in problems of his own, and their friendship over the course of the book was my favorite part. My second favorite part was, of course, all the descriptions of food. Filipino and Indian food are both excellent, and if there were a Banana Leaf food truck in my area, you can bet I'd be a regular customer. The ending is fun and hopeful, with all the loose ends tying up very neatly.
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"People say that home is where the heart is, but that's a lie. Home is where the stomach is."

Thank you Harper Collins and Netgalley for providing me with an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

The Takeout follows Mila as she navigates fitting in after moving to a new town while trying to save her family's food truck. Not only is Mila going against the celebrity chefs stealing from The Banana Leaf, but going against them means going against the city, its residents, and the chamber of commerce. Mila turns to the magic that her mom and sister practice, even though she has been unable to use it by herself. Mila's story talks a lot about wanting to fit in while also wanting to be more connected to her culture. Her sister criticizes her for not reconnecting and trying so hard to fit in, judging her on things like getting a friendship bracelet to going to tea with her grandmother and her new friends. Her grandmother, on the other hand, wants the family to try even harder to fit in, criticizing Mila’s father’s dream of successfully running The Banana Leaf. With her mother caring for her grandfather in the Philippines and her sister away at college, there’s a lot on Mila’s plate.

Starting over is hard for most people. Mila’s story is great for people who are starting over, trying to make new friends, trying to belong, and trying to connect. Her struggle with working with the magic without her sister and mother there to make it themselves is connected to her struggle with herself, stumbling over a mixture of Latin, Tagalog, and other languages that seemingly come naturally to them. Her journey through the book is accepting herself as much as it is saving The Banana Leaf, and its message that you are enough as you are is great for everyone to hear.

THE TAKEOUT comes out on May 9th, and I hope y’all pick up a copy! The descriptions made me super hungry, so 10/10 recommend having some lumpias near by! Happy Reading!
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4.5 stars 
Takeout is an amazing and energetic middle grade focused on fighting the dishonesty of those who abuse fame, high power, or status, like being an influencer or large brand, to succeed by stealing from the original creators and many times minorities. In this case, Mila has to prove that the restaurant that just opened nearby stole her family's recipes. Such injustice can't be unpunished and Mila has allies. 

Mila's voice will not be silenced, not by the famous or older generation (grandmother's view of her American Dream) that sees the world differently, with a different kind of caution. I am glad that we are seeing more characters that don't stand down, although they are young, their voices are coming forward for the sake of the community or family. 

I love that the story infuses some infusion of Filipino folk magic, referring to natural products, herbs, and infusions to heal instead of chemicals. I appreciate when fiction inserts a bit of "magic" in the resolution of conflict when the themes are so close to our daily lives that humor makes the story lighter. 

It's quite energetic and uplifting in this quest for justice on an infuriating journey to seeking truth. 

Thank you Netgalley and Publisher for the chance to give my honest opinion.
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I've read "Freddie vs. the Family Curse" so I was excited to see (and receive) the ARC for her next book for this age-group, "The Takeout".

At the first sentence, it was like coming home. Badua is right in saying that "home is where the stomach is" as the fondest memories we have of back home is not the food per se, but the memories associated with it: Simbang Gabi (Midnight Mass) noche buena (midnight meal), birthdays, graduations, and all sorts of family gatherings.

But for Mila in "The Takeout," it is much more than that. It means their livelihood; it means not having to live under the thumb of her domineering grandmother; it means not seeing her dad stressed out in paying bills; and for her, it means possibly having her own test kitchen to work out her own Indian-Filipino fusion.

When cooking stars, Fab Foodie Brothers, threatened their food truck by having a brick-and-mortar establishment serving the same food in the same vicinity, Mila knew she had to step up her "albularyo" game in order to save her family business.

As much as there are Filipino folk magic and Latin-inspired spells involved, Mila knows she needs to have more confidence in herself in order for things to work out. I liked the injection of some more of the Filipino elements in the story, but I do think the use of incantations may be a little too witch-y for me. Granted, albularyos do DO that, the notion of it included in a book geared towards children is a little unsettling. Let's just say, I don't think I would want my children thinking that drinking potions and concoctions (albeit natural ingredients) is the way to solve problems or get out of situations. It would be good if the emphasis is more on her inner strength than the magic potions.

That being said, even without that, I think the story actually has a very good plot, though there would be a different way to solve the mystery. I liked that Mila was spunky and determined and did not let those who are "bigger" than her (in every way) get in her way of uncovering the fraud that the Foodie brothers are spinning everyone around in.

A good message here is that what you see on the screen is not always what you get. It should help children and teens see that we can't always believe what we see on TV, and our "idols" in media may not be the same in real life. At the end of the day, with the myth shattered, then Mila can actually see who she is and what she is capable of, shattering everyone's image of her and finally letting her true self come out.
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"When a celebrity chef's new restaurant threatens Mila's family's food truck, she plans to expose them for the recipe thieves they are.." - Goodreads 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (5/5)
•Family run Filipino & Indian Food Truck
•Cultural identity
•Big company vs small company
•Fitting in
•Magical potions 

This is another middle grade book I wish was around while growing up! I love that this book features a little bit of the business side, Filipino and Indian dishes, dilemmas in fitting in with peers and your own culture, and a little touch of magic ✨️ 

Thank you Netgalley for the advance copy!!
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This was such a cute story that won’t work your brain too much. Great lessons here about embracing your culture and celebrating it, the struggle to fit in that we have all felt at times, being proud of your roots and carrying on family traditions. 
Loved the magical aspect of it & loved the food descriptions- they made me very hungry, & now I want to try some of the foods mentioned in this novel that I haven’t tried before. I think young kids will enjoy this one a lot, & it will help reiterate that you don’t need to erase where you come from just to fit in in a new community, even if it’s pretty lacking in diversity. 

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and author for a free ebook in exchange for a honest review!
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I read this novel to review for NetGalley but this review is my own.

I really enjoyed The Takeout by Tracy Badua. This novel is a middle school drama about a preteen Mila whose family and family friend owns a food truck. This connects perfectly with current times because food trucks are all the craze but also being foodies and explore new foods is also huge with American society currently. Mila is always under pressure to fit in with peers. She tries her hardest to tame down her true identity to not seem so out there and different from a clique of girls. I loved this aspect of the book while also trying to save the food truck. She learns more about herself and that she has to believe in her true identity, everything she loves, to succeed. The author does a very good job in the character development of Mila and her preteen dramas while being from a different culture than her peers. 

I definitely recommend this book to use in middle school as a way to signify embracing each other’s cultures and letting differences shine.
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Tracy Badua is such a wonderful voice in middle grade and I adored this foodie mystery with a touch of folk magic. I loved Mila as a character and a narrator - I really related to her desire to help her family as well as her conflict between staying true to herself and trying to impress her friends. I adore books with messy family dynamics, a focus on community, and a focus on food, and this book had them all.

I loved the representation of Mila navigating her Filipino-American identity through conversations with her older sister, her mom (who is in the Philippines taking care of her parents), her grandma who is more in favor of assimilation with the mostly white community, and her dad, who sacrificed everything to run a food truck. I also really loved the banter and evolving friendship between Mila and her new friend Ajay. But the real show stealer was Whirligig the rat. I adore quirky animal companions in middle grade.

I really enjoyed the mystery/conflict where Mila is taking down the twin foodie TV stars who have stolen her family's recipes and are opening a new restaurant in town. I felt Mila's anger at not being take seriously and cheered for her to hone in on her own magic skills. Overall, this is a fun and engaging book for kids and adults to read, but know that you will want lumpia by page 5!
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Moving mid-year to the little town of Coral Beach, California from Los Angeles was about as uncomfortable as twelve-year-old Mila expected, but it is made worse by the fact that her mother and sister did not make the transition with her. So, Mila tries her best to fit in with the classy, uniform girls in town while helping her dad at his Indian/Filipino fusion food truck, the Banana Leaf. Excitement arrives in the form of twin celebrity foodies Chip and Chaz Darlington, whose mysterious new restaurant promises to bring much-needed tourism to Coral Beach. But when it becomes obvious that the Darlingtons’ recipes mimic those found at the Banana Leaf, Mila pours her heart into proving their wrongdoing in order to protect her father’s cherished business.

This contemporary middle grade novel expertly places readers squarely in Mila’s world, complete with her discomfort with the Filipino culture from which she hails and her innate passion for food. Concise chapters give the story a solid forward momentum, and with each realization, readers become eager to discover exactly how Mila goes about achieving her goal. Throughout the story, a variety of colorful and unique characters are introduced, and Mila’s friend Ajay is a particularly memorable inclusion. His specific passions and personality are exactly what Mila needs to progress in her mission, and their friendship blossoms in an endearing and charming way.

Middle grade readers will appreciate the enjoyable blend of pop culture and social dynamics incorporated into this novel, especially as Mila navigates her way through it all. Discussions of Filipino culture and cuisine present Mila’s background in an accessible way, even if readers are not familiar with those details themselves. Particularly intriguing is the fact that Mila’s sister practices her albularyo skills and makes potions and tinctures that improve people’s lives. This addition creates a feeling of magic realism while embracing Filipino culture in a positive and uplifting way. Celebrating the tenacity of one girl who chooses to bravely stand up in the face of adversity, this book is an excellent and inspiring addition to library collections for middle grade readers.
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Contemporary and magical. Tight writing. Fast-paced with a good storyline that kept me engaged throughout. There was also great character development and diverse characters. 

This book celebrates self-identity and cultural identity and champions small businesses, singing praises to the little man. 

A very good book about self-discovery, family, friendship, and the power of perseverance.
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Fantastic Middle Grade Novel!
Very relatable characters
Loved the mystery and magic aspect
Delicious Food
Self Acceptance
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I have read a lot of books lately with middle grade friendship like this. There is so much to learn from middle grade friendship. Whether it's someone who moved or just different changes happening. 
I liked the family food truck and the bits of magic. 
I liked that Mila worked really hard to make sure her family and they're recipes were protected. 
I liked that the friend group accepted her for who she is. 

Thanks NetGalley for this ARC!
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I loved this book! A fast-paced, exciting story with relatable and lovable characters. Young readers will root for Mila as she solves a mystery and tries to save her family’s food truck. You’ll definitely be hungry after reading this book! Highly recommend.
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Mila and her father have moved to a very well off, white area of Southern California, to run their food truck. The food sold is a fusion of East Indian and Filipino food. They are doing ok, until some celebrity chef decide to take their menu and offer it as their own.
Mila has to prove that they didn’t just come up with their concept on their own, but how. And what will it mean to her “friends” that she has been trying to make. They love the chefs. 
It is a very clever way of talking about race and culture, as a way of being true to yourself. Mila wants to fit in, so hides those bits of her that would be the other and would be different. It is a common thing to do. Fitting in seems like the only option, sometimes, though it kills a little bit of your soul.

The story flows well. Authentic voice. Fun solution to how to get the chefs out of their hair, and keep their food truck going, by introducing folk potions that can while not be truth serums, but be other things..

<em>Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.</em>
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I really enjoyed reading this book, it was what I was hoping for with this type of book. I was invested in the characters and what was going on with the story. The plot of the book is a well done children's story that works not just for children, it's a book everyone will enjoy. I was glad I got a chance to read this, especially that I enjoyed the way Tracy Badua wrote this.

"I said I can’t!” My hands clench. Memories of every time I tried again—and again and again—bombard me. Catalina and Mom seem so sure that I can do it, that all I have to do is believe. But they don’t have the pressure of the entire family business on their shoulders."
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What happens when a celebrity chef’s new restaurant steals your family’s business recipes and threaten to destroy your family’s business? Mila’s dad and his best friend run a fusion Filipino-Indian food truck called The Banana Leaf. Mila lives, breathes, and works at the Banana Leaf. She loves it with her entire being. When celebrity chef twins, the Fab Foodie brothers open a new restaurant nearby Mila is excited, she loves their show.... but when she goes to the soft opening and tries some of their food... its the exact same food as the Banana Leaf’s! Mila is shocked and when she tries to call them out or get someone to notice her dad shuts her down immediately and the brothers deny even knowing her family’s food truck... but she knows there is something fishy going on here and she’ll do anything to prove it because her family’s business is on the line... even if it means resorting to a little bit of magic and mischief. This was a really cute read and I loved how brave and smart Mila is. She is afraid of ostracizing herself from her new friends and her community and when even her own father and grandmother won’t help her or do anything to save the business she is willing to step up herself to get it done. This was a fun read and definitely had me craving some fusion food! (Seriously drop the recipes Mila, I’m dying to try your recipe).

*Thanks Netgalley and HarperCollins Children's Books, Clarion Books for sending me an arc in exchange for an honest review*
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