The Secret Ingredient

Stewart Lewis, Author
Stewart Lewis. Delacorte, $17.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-385-74331-0
Reviewed on: 05/06/2013
Release date: 06/11/2013
Lewis (You Have Seven Messages) offers a thoughtful story about food and family, set in the Los Angeles neighborhood of Silver Lake. Sixteen-year-old Olivia and her older brother, Jeremy, are doing everything in their power to help with their adoptive fathers’ finances, struggling restaurant, and faltering marriage. Olivia gets a job at a casting agency despite her disinterest in Hollywood (her dream is to attend Le Cordon Bleu in Paris), and Jeremy rents an ice cream truck, but their efforts only bring more turmoil. Olivia’s chance meeting with a psychic and discovery of a vintage cookbook spark both an imaginary dialogue with a housewife from the 1960s and a true one with herself. Olivia’s passions feel real throughout the book, from her crush on a boy that got away to her cooking (readers who share her culinary interests will come away with quite a few ideas) and her search for answers about the mother she never met. Teens seeking direction and control in their own lives will gladly accompany Olivia as she works to put hers in order. Ages 12–up. Agent: Mitchell Waters, Curtis Brown. (June)
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