Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala

Published: 4 May 2021

Genres: Fiction, Young Adult Literature, Adult Literature, Mystery, Comedy, Romance

Available as: Paperback, Ebook, Audiobook

Discussion Questions


Arsenic and Adobo follows the story of Lila Macapagal’s return home to Shady Palms, Illinois. The Cozy Crew and neighbourhood matchmaking aunties will never let her live down the fact that she never visited, she returned unmarried after breaking up with her boyfriend, and left her degree unfinished. Her Tita Rosie is getting older and her restaurant is failing but Lila is here to save the day! Or so she might have thought until her ex-boyfriend, also a food critic, drops dead into the plates of food she just served. With Detective Park dedicated to pinning the crime on her and the landlord, Mr. Long, trying to make her family lose their restaurant, Lila has some relationships to rebuild and investigation to do.


I would recommend this text to young adults and adults interested in any of the above genres or texts with a female BIPOC protagonist. This text was an engaging introduction to the cozy* culinary subgenre of mystery and makes me excited for the sequel, Homicide and Halo-Halo. I appreciated the depth of Filipino culture portrayed throughout the text. In the beginning, Mia included sensitivity warnings, resources, and definitions. By having the definitions at the beginning, I felt more comfortable looking for words because I did not have to worry about spoiling the story for myself, which can sometimes happen when definitions are at the back, and it did not ruin immersion where I would have to stop and look up words somewhere else instead. At the end, she also included recipes that were mentioned in the text. I am very excited to try Lila’s Ube Crinkles recipe.

* Cozy: violence is not explicitly described, the detective is an amateur, and the crime takes place in a close knit community

Overall Rating: πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•

5 – Loved it

Ending: πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ• – 5/5

Plot: πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•- 5/5

World-building: πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•- 5/5

Characters: πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ•πŸŒ• – 5/5

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