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Warning: Once you open The Doughnut King, you’ll be stuck in the story for eternity. Start reading it, and you’ll never stop. Well, that is, until author Jessie Janowitz decides to free you by officially changing the story. The Doughnut King is filled with the perfect amount of action and sweetness, enough to create a robust portal that transports you into the story.

Meet Tristan Levin, known as Tris. Tris has been cooking and baking before he learned how to say “food.” Tris moves to a small town in New York called Petersville. Petersville is slowly disappearing, but not the way you think it is. Every year, only a couple of families move to Petersville. A couple, as in two or three. More people move away than people who move to Petersville, and the mayor of Petersville, Jim, thinks this needs to be stopped. There are only one stoplight and a couple of shops. Tris has a doughnut shop he runs in Petersville with his friend Josh, called The Doughnut Stop. The Doughnut Shop’s doughnuts are impressive, according to everyone. Jim thinks food will keep Petersville from disappearing and makes that a goal. Tris needs to make more doughnuts, but he and Josh are already trying their best. Many people come to get doughnuts but have to wait four hours, only to see the words: SOLD OUT. If only there would be a way to make more donuts, he could maybe save Petersville.

Even more excitement awaits in the book. Tris finds a solution to the doughnut problem: A Doughnut Robot. This robot makes ninety dozens donuts an hour, which is perfect for their business. Actually, even better than perfect. There’s a big problem, though, which is that the Doughnut Robot costs $50,000. Now Tris’s whole family knows about the Doughnut Robot and its cost. Before he knows it, his nine-year-old sister Jeanine has secretly sent an audition video to a famous cooking contest, "Can You Cut It?" and they accept the video.

Tris is mad, but the rest of the family thinks it is a fantastic idea, and mostly because if he wins, he gets $100,000, enough to buy a Doughnut Robot. Tris is still unsure if he has enough courage and talent to win the prize, though.

The book is fantastic, with many surprising and unexpected features. But some elements in the book confuse me, especially in the first few chapters. In chapter three, Tris sees a comment that tells how bad the Doughnut Stop is, and he tries to delete it but can’t, and then Josh walks in. Tris asks him how to delete them, and Josh tells him he forgot and didn’t finish, and then it says: “But Josh didn’t need to finish. The truth was floating right over his head in caps.” What truth? It doesn’t clarify what truth it talks about in the book. Then Tris says Josh lied. Lied about what? Why did he lie? The dialogue is very unclear in those pages, which often confuses people.

Nevertheless, The Doughnut King’s story is embedded in unexpected but fascinating characters, settings, and plots. Predict what will happen, and you will probably be surprised; unpredictable always, always, happens in The Doughnut King. The Doughnut King is highly recommended to any reader, especially those who love baking and cooking. Anyone can enjoy such an incredible book.

The Doughnut King
by Jessie Janowitz. Sourcebooks Young Readers, 2020. Buy the book here and support Stone Soup in the process!

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