Paris Daillencourt has found himself on a reality baking show. He has a passion for baking, but his anxiety runs his life. His roommate submitted his application for the show and Paris is so far out of his comfort zone. He has a degree and advantages in life from his famous and wealthy parents, but it’s been a year since his parents have responded to any messages from him. Paris has tried relationships before, but once people past his pretty face and get to know him, most find he’s too much to handle and Paris agrees.
While Paris thinks he is doing absolutely terrible in the competition, he wins the first week and also catches the eye of fellow contestant, Tariq. Tariq has the kind of confidence Paris figures he will never have, but still the men find themselves on a first date—until Paris’s mouth gets the best of him. Then, the show’s online fans come after Paris in the way he used to be bullied in school and any confidence he was trying to build is rapidly swept away. But with support from places Paris didn’t expect, he slowly looks at his issues and begins to realize he may just deserve a sweet ending to his own story.
Paris’ book follows Rosaline Palmer Takes the Cake in the Winner Bakes All series. The book is appropriately named with the title Paris Daillencourt is About to Crumble and Paris is constantly on the edge. The book is told from Paris’ point of view and his head space is an intense place to be. Whether you like Paris or not, or ultimately want to spend time in his head or not, is a personal choice, but Hall does provide the feeling of exactly what it is like to walk around as Paris.
At first, Paris is funny and self-deprecating, but with longer time spent with him, his full personality emerges. Paris is filled with anxiety—the soul sucking, life altering kind of anxiety—and, after a while, it was a lot to be in Paris’ head. I then had mixed emotions when I wasn’t always empathetic to Paris’ profile. While Paris has material comforts, his life hasn’t been the easiest, at least by his own standards. His parents are famous, with his mother a super model and his father a designer, and they have left him to live in an extravagant flat. Yet, it’s been a year since Paris has heard from them and they will not respond to his texts and Paris spirals every time a text goes unanswered. He also had the best schooling, but it was filled with bullies, and the men Paris has dated only see his beauty on the outside and can’t deal with his emotional inside. But Paris is so wrapped up in himself and so deep in his issues that it becomes his only personality trait. He can’t be happy for someone else because all he sees are his inadequacies and for me it began to make him less empathetic, not more.
The competition follows the same format as the previous book with one challenge a week and most of the staff on the show are still awful. The baking should be the fun part, but again, I was underwhelmed. One week’s theme was Jewish desserts and another was American desserts and the contestants did not rise to the challenges in the spirit to celebrate these cultures, but rather seemed to mock, loathe, or disdain them and that was unacceptable reading to me.
Mixed in here was Paris’ relationship with fellow contestant, Tariq. Tariq is Muslim and gay and proud to be both. He is at first attracted to Paris’ outside and quickly gets offended by what’s on the inside. Tariq is the first person, however, to suggest to Paris that he may have a mental health issue, much to Paris’s shock and dismay at this revelation. This book is not specifically a romance, but the story of Paris with romantic elements added in.
If you liked Rosaline’s book, the structure of the competition is the same here. Hall was able to convey what it was like to be Paris, but there were also other factors that affected my enjoyment of this book overall.