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The Chicken Sisters
Cover of The Chicken Sisters
The Chicken Sisters
Borrow Borrow
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK
"A charming, hilarious, feel-good story about the kind of bonds & rivalries only sisters can share. Also, a great present for your sister for the holidays!!"—Reese Witherspoon
Three generations. Two chicken shacks. One recipe for disaster.

In tiny Merinac, Kansas, Chicken Mimi's and Chicken Frannie's have spent a century vying to serve up the best fried chicken in the state—and the legendary feud between their respective owners, the Moores and the Pogociellos, has lasted just as long. No one feels the impact more than thirty-five-year-old widow Amanda Moore, who grew up working for her mom at Mimi's before scandalously marrying Frank Pogociello and changing sides to work at Frannie's. Tired of being caught in the middle, Amanda sends an SOS to Food Wars, the reality TV restaurant competition that promises $100,000 to the winner. But in doing so, she launches both families out of the frying pan and directly into the fire. . .
The last thing Brooklyn-based organizational guru Mae Moore, Amanda's sister, wants is to go home to Kansas. But when her career implodes, helping the fading Mimi's look good on Food Wars becomes Mae's best chance to reclaim the limelight—even if doing so pits her against Amanda and Frannie's. Yet when family secrets become public knowledge, the sisters must choose: Will they fight with each other, or for their heritage?
INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A REESE'S BOOK CLUB PICK
"A charming, hilarious, feel-good story about the kind of bonds & rivalries only sisters can share. Also, a great present for your sister for the holidays!!"—Reese Witherspoon
Three generations. Two chicken shacks. One recipe for disaster.

In tiny Merinac, Kansas, Chicken Mimi's and Chicken Frannie's have spent a century vying to serve up the best fried chicken in the state—and the legendary feud between their respective owners, the Moores and the Pogociellos, has lasted just as long. No one feels the impact more than thirty-five-year-old widow Amanda Moore, who grew up working for her mom at Mimi's before scandalously marrying Frank Pogociello and changing sides to work at Frannie's. Tired of being caught in the middle, Amanda sends an SOS to Food Wars, the reality TV restaurant competition that promises $100,000 to the winner. But in doing so, she launches both families out of the frying pan and directly into the fire. . .
The last thing Brooklyn-based organizational guru Mae Moore, Amanda's sister, wants is to go home to Kansas. But when her career implodes, helping the fading Mimi's look good on Food Wars becomes Mae's best chance to reclaim the limelight—even if doing so pits her against Amanda and Frannie's. Yet when family secrets become public knowledge, the sisters must choose: Will they fight with each other, or for their heritage?
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  • From the book

    Amanda

    It was one thing to put a message in a bottle and another thing entirely when that bottle came back to you from across the sea with a genie stuffed in next to the reply. She had to rub the bottle now, right? She’d cast the spell, wished the wish, and asked in prayer, and she had received. It would be different if she didn’t believe. It wouldn’t have worked if she didn’t believe. But of course, she did believe. She believed with all her heart and soul that Food Wars had the power to change everything, and she was right.

    Later, she wished she’d been a little more specific.

    It had been fun, sending the e‑­mail. And honestly, she figured the result would be a few weeks of dreaming, of imagining how Food Wars could make everything better, followed by a letdown when they said no or just never replied. It was a lottery ticket, minus the dollar she couldn’t afford to spend.

    Now she was sitting in her car outside Walmart, idly scrolling, a new habit born of an unreasonable expectation that somewhere in her phone was something that would change her mood, when the ­reply appeared, a response beyond her wildest dreams that sent an ­actual, literal chill through her body. She turned her car back on, abandoning her planned shopping trip, and backed out of the parking spot she’d just pulled into, narrowly missing a beat‑­up Camry. Her foot shook on the gas pedal. Her whole leg was quivering. This is it, she thought. From now on, everything will be different. Different, and better.

    Better. She kept repeating that to herself, and that conviction, really this is going to make things better, helped her squash down any doubts about her mother or about Frannie’s or about what the hell Merinac was going to make of Food Wars and vice versa. It carried her past the two miles of corn and soybean fields between Walmart and Nancy’s house and right through her mother‑­in‑­law’s back door, bellowing her name. She stopped short when she saw Nancy, already in the kitchen and looking worried at Amanda’s wild entrance.

    “No, no, it’s good, it’s something good. Food Wars, you know, the show with the restaurants that ­compete—​­they want to come here! To do us, us and Mimi’s. Food Wars!” She waited for Nancy’s response, biting her lip, fists clutched, a euphoric and probably goofy smile on her face. Because, Food Wars. Here!

    Nancy smiled back, but it was a confused smile, a little dubious. She did not look thrilled. Why did she not look thrilled? Amanda did not need doubts right now; she needed enthusiasm. She grabbed the older woman’s hands and squeezed them tightly. “They’re going to come here. And film us, and we will win a hundred thousand dollars, and everyone will know who we are and want to eat here, and Frannie’s will be famous.” She let go of Nancy’s hands and let her feet do the little dance they wanted so much to do, waving her arms in the air and shaking her hips. “Here, they’re coming here, they’re really coming here! And we will be huge.” She grinned. “Huge!”

    Once, long ago, that had been the plan for Frannie’s. Back then, the town had been bigger and the world felt smaller, and Daddy ­Frank—​­great-​­grandson of the original Frannie, and father to Amanda’s husband, ­Frank—​­was a leading figure in Merinac’s business scene, a restaurant owner and real estate magnate with big ideas. A Banquet chicken dinner in someone’s freezer or...

Reviews-
  • Kirkus

    April 15, 2020
    Rival restaurants (and sisters) compete on a reality TV show, but things don't go quite as planned. Merinac, Kansas, may be a small town, but it's been supporting two fried chicken restaurants for years. Chicken Mimi's and Chicken Frannie's were started generations ago by sisters, but now they're run by competing families, the Moores and the Pogociellos. Amanda Moore grew up working for her mother, Barbara, at the more casual chicken shack, Mimi's, but then she married Frank Pogociello and switched over to the fancier Chicken Frannie's team, which boasts table service and fried mozzarella sticks. Now Amanda isn't even allowed inside Mimi's, and her relationship with her mother is strained--and that's not even to mention her relationship with her sister, Mae, who fled Merinac the second she could and started a career as a Marie Kondo-eqsue professional organizer with a decluttering book and a television show called Sparkling. When Amanda hears about the reality show Food Wars, she thinks it could bring big business to Merinac--so she applies, and soon the TV crew has descended upon the town to figure out once and for all which restaurant has the best chicken (and which family will win $100,000). Mae even returns home to support their mother, help out at Mimi's, and possibly rehabilitate her own career. Dell'Antonia writes convincingly and sympathetically about complicated family relationships, giving Mae and Amanda each relatable flaws. The Food Wars scenes are a fun peek behind the curtain of the reality TV world, and the small-town warmth of Merinac is comfortingly quirky. A charming and satisfying story about family bonds that will make meat eaters everywhere crave fried chicken.

    COPYRIGHT(2020) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    June 1, 2020

    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 first novel is plucky, heartwarming, and a welcome distraction from the news of the day.--Emily Hamstra, Seattle

    Copyright 2020 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    Starred review from June 1, 2020
    Rival fried chicken restaurants Mimi's and Frannie's have been staples of a small Kansas town since 1886. Initially run by sisters, the restaurants become even more intertwined when Amanda, daughter of the owner of Mimi's, marries the son of Frannie's owner. Forbidden to ever enter Mimi's again after the marriage, Amanda instead works for Frannie's. Though she was widowed young, Amanda is happy if restless. This uneasiness causes her to apply for Food Wars, a reality TV show that pits rival restaurants against each other. When Food Wars picks them, Amanda is ecstatic. She is less than happy with the reappearance of her sister Mae. Mae was just fired from her own reality show, Sparkling. Mae is hoping that an appearance on Food Wars will be her ticket back to TV, and she throws herself into helping Mimi win. As the sisters battle, old wounds resurface, and secrets they hoped to hide from the cameras are revealed. Chicken Sisters is a charming first novel about family, regrets, and second chances. Dell'Antonia deftly deals with issues of mental illness, marriage troubles, and dreams deferred, all the while telling a funny satire of reality TV. An utter delight from start to finish.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2020, American Library Association.)

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The Chicken Sisters
The Chicken Sisters
KJ Dell'Antonia
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