The Chicken Sisters

Putnam. Jun. 2020. 352p. ISBN 9780593085141. pap. $16. F
DEBUT NOVEL Merinac, KS, has two fried chicken joints, Chicken Mimi’s and Chicken Frannie’s. Originally started by sisters, the restaurants have a deep history and rivalry. Owned by the Moore family, Mimi’s has kept true to its original old-fashioned menu, while Frannie’s, run by the Pogociello family, has expanded to include a more modern menu and bar. Amanda Moore switched allegiances when she married Frank Pogociello. Her mother owns Mimi’s, but now Amanda works at Frannie’s. Amanda contacts the producers of the reality television show Food Wars and suggests that they host a fried chicken cook-off between the two restaurants. The producers accept, and with $100,000 at stake for the winner, Frannie’s and Mimi’s are both in it to win it. When Amanda’s estranged sister Mae, a reality television star, returns to Merinac to throw her support behind Mimi’s, the Food Wars episode quickly becomes about much more than fried chicken. With a little prodding from the show’s producer, long-held family secrets are revealed, pitting sister against sister.
VERDICT Mae and Amanda are spirited characters, and their foibles are told with care and humor. Recommended for Food Network and HGTV watchers, this debut novel is plucky and heartwarming. 

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