Now a New York Times bestseller!
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 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, Food Wars becomes her chance to step back into the limelight. Mae is certain she can make the fading Mimi's look good-even if that pits her against Amanda and Frannie's. With a greedy producer stoking the flames, their friendly rivalry quickly turns into a game of chicken. When family secrets become public, the sisters must choose: will they fight with each other, or for their heritage?
Expect picture-perfect lives that fall apart away from the camera, an all-chicken recreation of Stephen King\'s Carrie and a manipulative host who really needs a donut-and expect to come away thinking about your own choices, too.
\"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.\"
\"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."
"Nobody knows the humor and pathos of complicated family relationships better than K.J. Dell\'Antonia, which is why this story about sisters and fried chicken and reality TV is such a satisfying read. It\'s like the comfort-food of novels: warm, memorable, and wholly original. I loved it."
-Laura Zigman, author of Separation Anxiety
“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!!”
KJ Dell’Antonia is a novelist and former journalist and editor at to the New York Times, where she covered the personal and policy aspects of family for many years. She grew up in Texas and Kansas and attended Kansas State University, then spent her twenties locked in a struggle to marry her upbringing with the mysterious ways of Manhattan and East Coast culture and reconcile career choices that included practicing law at Cravath, Swaine and Moore and the New York County District Attorney's office with her childhood desire to be Anne of Green Gables, only with more publishing success. During the first internet boom, she became the worst Vice President of Business Development ever at an otherwise successful start-up.
Her subsequent layoff proved the perfect excuse to finally pursue journalism, and a move to a small town in New Hampshire didn’t stop her from eventually taking over the New York Times’ Motherlode blog. Her first book, How to Be a Happier Parent, developed as a result of her work there, but her heart was always in fiction. Her memories of the two chicken restaurants in the Kansas towns where her parents grew up sparked the creation of Chicken Mimi’s and Chicken Frannie’s, the two restaurants at the center of The Chicken Sisters, and the story grew from there. Her second novel, In Her Boots, is about the gap between the adults we think we have become, the child our mother will always see and our horrible fear that our mother is right—a story that grew from the complex relationship that every author has with the successful self we portray on the outside and the doubting voices that will always hammer away inside of our heads.
KJ lives in New Hampshire with her husband, four children and assorted horses, chickens, dogs and cats. She is the co-host of the #AmWriting Podcast and is hard at work on her third novel.