Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 12 to 18
- Grade: 8 to 12
- Reading age: 12 to 18
In the gay community, a young, husky man is known as a "cub" Seventeen-year-old Theo fits the definition perfectly, but he is very self-conscious about his body. So when his best friend signs him up for a cooking competition at Heat, the city's newest trendy restaurant, Theo is nervous. He's confident in his baking ability, and dreams of opening his own bakery one day, but he's not a chef, and he hates being in the spotlight.
As Theo survives round after round, he gains the admiration of both the audience and the restaurant owner, a sexy celebrity chef known as KCC. When the owner makes it clear he is more interested in what Theo might do outside the kitchen, Theo has to decide how far he is willing to go to launch his career.
About the author
Paul Coccia is the author of The Player and the bestselling Orca Soundings title Cub, which was a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection. He has an MFA in creative writing from UBC and lives in Toronto with his family.
- Commended, CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens
- Commended, JLG Gold Standard Selection
"Short paragraphs and straightforward dialogue make this ideal for reluctant readers. A gay protagonist and a drag queen will resonate with an LGBTQ+ audience…The tough truth of marginalized communities attacking their own is difficult to face but accurate in its exposure of toxic behavior; Theo's shaky navigation is inspiring."
"Fiction for teens that deals with the LGBT experience is in short supply, and this one tackles the important concepts of consent and age appropriateness."
“Sure to delight young and reluctant readers…especially LGBTQ audiences.”
Must Read Literature: K thru 12
"Cub allows Theo to fully develop as a young gay man…An encouraging and necessary story, Cub is a book that will start important conversations among younger readers, librarians, and educators."
CM: Canadian Review of Materials