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September 01, 2013

Review: The Secret Ingredient by Stewart Lewis

Title: The Secret Ingredient
Author: Stewart Lewis
 Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication date: June 11, 2013
Genre(s): Young Adult (Contemporary)
Source: Publisher (Random House CA)
Format: ARC
Pages: 256
Olivia doesn’t believe in psychics. But the summer before her senior year of high school, she meets one in an elevator.
   This summer will be pivotal, the psychic warns. Please remember—all your choices are connected.
   Olivia loves her life in Silverlake, Los Angeles, but lately, something’s been missing. And after getting this strange advice, her world begins to change. A new job leads Olivia to a gorgeous, mysterious boy named Theo. And as Olivia cooks the recipes from a vintage cookbook she stumbles upon, she begins to wonder if the mother she’s never known might be the secret ingredient she’s been lacking.
   But sometimes the things we search for are the things we’ve had all along.
Olivia, a 16 year old teenage girl's world is about to change. Those are such cheesy lines, but this book wasn't that cheesy. The Secret Ingredient is a short and fast contemporary read. Olivia doesn't know her birth mother, but it's this summer that she's interested in finding out who she is. When she meets a psychic in the elevator who gives her a warning, Olivia starts connecting the dots about how her choices are connected. It's summer, so there's no school. Olivia starts working at a place thanks to her dad, and one day she meets mysterious boy Theo. Theo isn't much of a "mysterious" boy, but more of a boy who suddenly vanished on Olivia one day. 
Olivia works at her dad's restaurant, where she cooks a special meal every saturday. Olivia loves to cook, hence title, and you do not how many times the descriptions in the book has made me hungry! I was literally drooling when Olivia would cook breakfast for her parents. One day, Olivia finds a vintage cook book that she decides to buy. In it, she finds recipes that she decides to cook, alongside letters from a women a long time ago. As she started reading those letters, Olivia figured out what she has been missing, her mother. Olivia goes on the "journey" searching for her mother. It was interesting to see what she would find, and Olivia was a great character as well! Stewart Lewis did a good job in never making me feel bored while reading this book. 
Overall, The Secret Ingredient was a great contemporary read. Nothing was wrong with this book, other than maybe it  lacking a bit of excitement. The characters were great, and the plot was interesting as well! I really want to read Stewart Lewis's other book, You Have Seven Messages, because it's a MYSTERY!! The author did a good job in contemporaries, so let me see how well he does in mysteries too! If you're looking for a chill and fast read, then I recommend this for you!


  1. I have this book, too, Farah, and I'm glad to see it was enjoyable. It does seem like a quick beach read where you don't have to concentrate too hard. Wonderful review! :)

  2. I've never heard of this book before, so yay for a new find! I love that it's short and quick and really enjoyable, those are the books I'm going for these last few weeks. Thanks for sharing this, Farah! Great review :)

  3. This book seems like such a fun read! And I'm definitely interest because it's about FOOD. Yes please! Olivia seems like a character I would really like, too. I'm excited to pick this up, thanks for the brilliant review, Farah!

  4. Think it sounds a bit boring, hih (A) but I'm glad you still enjoyed it for the most part :D Glad you liked the characters :) Thank you for sharing. <3
    Thank you for commenting on my blog last week. <3
    Love, Carina @ Carina's Books

  5. Sounds kinda like a fun read, I think I will see if I can get it. Great review.

  6. This isn't my type of book, but it seems interesting enough and it's a great review. <3 I might give this a try :)

  7. This sounds pretty good for a fast read. Even though it wasn't particularly exciting, I'm glad that you enjoyed it overall. Fantastic review, Farah! :)