Farah Heron on Pi, Pie and her new YA romance, How to Win a Breakup
"It’s a perfect way to illustrate that their two loves, math and baking, can come together in the sweetest of ways."
This post was written by Farah Heron, author of How to Win a Breakup.
This year on Pi Day (March 14th, or 3-14) I baked a pie. I don’t bake pies often— usually only for my son’s birthday and for pi day, because they’re tricky, finicky, and use more butter than I normally like my household to consume. As someone who is quite firmly in the #TeamCake category, I don’t think the huge amount of work a pie takes is normally worth it.
But this year I did bake a pie, and I had a good reason to do it. My math loving girl meets baking obsessed boy How to Win A Breakup, will be out on March 21st, exactly one week after Pi Day. In the book, math loving Samaya, who is of course, obsessed with pi (the number, not the food) meets her perfect match in a hockey-playing baker who is #TeamPie.
In the book, Samaya and Daniel work together organizing a charity bake sale for a local family shelter. Daniel is a hockey player who spent his formative years in his aunt’s bakery, making not only apple, cherry, and lemon pies, but also pies from his Filipino culture like ube and coconut. His goal is to be a pastry chef one day, and he spends a great deal of time contemplating the difference between pies, cakes, bars, and squares.
Samaya is Daniel’s opposite. She’s a math genius, and while she loves eating baked goods, she’s never been much of a baker. She’d much rather slay hordes of orcs in her favorite online role-playing video game than spend time in the kitchen. She also has firm goals for the future, and even if most people don’t know what computational mathematics is, she’s confident that a career in math and numbers is the perfect fit for her.
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On the surface, Samaya and Daniel seem so different. Different hobbies, interests, and goals. They also come from different social classes and have different family structures. How could they possibly be perfect together? But Samaya and Daniel aren’t really that different deep down. Both come from supportive immigrant families, and both want to make their parents proud of their achievements. Both are loyal to their true friends. Both love to play video games (albeit very different games). But the way they are the most similar is how open-minded and non-judgmental they are to each other. Or rather, how non-judgmental they become over the course of the story.
Samaya has a lot of preconceived notions about who Daniel is as a baking hockey player. And it takes her a bit of time to realize her assumptions aren’t always true. But she’s always willing to try new things to change her outlook. And she respects him the whole time. She tutors him in calculus in a supportive encouraging way, and she puts all her energy into learning to bake so they can help the shelter. She listens to Daniel talk about baked goods, in awe of his passion. And Daniel learns everything he can about Samaya’s favorite video game, finding ways to relate the battles to his favorite sport. He never stops being impressed with Samaya’s academic abilities.
I have my own teenagers around Samaya and Daniel’s age, and I used to teach high schoolers when I was a youth counsellor. I’ve met many kids like these two. Teens who are open to trying new things and who respect the unique abilities of people who are very different from them. Kids that jump headfirst into new friendships, relationships, and experiences. Kids that see that it’s worth getting to know people even if they seem different from themselves.
I love writing opposites attract relationships in my books. It’s not only a fun challenge to find the common thread between people who are different on the surface, but I feel it always makes the happily ever after even sweeter when the couple has to overcome a lot to get there. Samaya and Daniel deal with class and economic differences in addition to their opposing interests and academic abilities. But at the end they gain so much more than just a healthy relationship— they learn that being open to new people and experiences can bring life-changing rewards.
So back to my pie. It’s a strawberry-apple pie with a double crust, and the digits of pi are cut out of pastry and pasted around the edge. In one of my favorite scenes of the book, Daniel bakes Samaya a pie just like this one— with the numbers of pi on the edge. It’s a perfect way to illustrate that their two loves, math and baking, can come together in the sweetest of ways.
Get your copy of How to Win a Breakup by Farah Heron here.