The Secret Ingredient review by thudson36
The Secret Ingredient
Age Range - 12 and up
Genre - Fiction
Five Star Award

LitPick Review

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Age at time of review - 14
Reviewer's Location - Tipp City, Ohio, United States
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The Secret Ingredient by Stewart Lewis is the story of a 16-year-old girl, Olivia, who lives in Los Angeles with her two fathers, Bell and Enrique.  Olivia has a passion for cooking and is an expert at it; she even cooks the Saturday special at her father's restaurant, "FOOD."  The restaurant is her father's love, but is lately going down the drain, and the family can't gather enough money to keep it going.  Olivia and her brother Jeremy know how much the restaurant means to their father, so try to help any way they can. Olivia gets a job at a casting agency that will open many opportunities to her.  While walking a neighbor's dog, Olivia finds an old cookbook that contains Rose's story, a woman who experiences love and heartbreak.  It causes her to wonder about her own mother whom she's never known, since she was adopted.  The absence of her mother has never affected her before, but now she has an urge to discover more about who she came from.  Read The Secret Ingredient and follow along as Olivia experiences love, reunion and adventure.


I think The Secret Ingredient by Stewart Lewis is a great, contemporary book.  It has a unique storyline that kept me interested throughout the whole story. The main character, Olivia, is very well developed and I enjoyed learning about her personality and her many quirks. I appreciated how most of the characters were unique and relatable.  One of my favorite things about this book is how there is another ongoing story that Olivia is creating, after she finds the cookbook that belonged to a woman named Rose. Finally, I also liked how passionate Olivia was about cooking and found myself absorbed in what she was making, even though I'm not interested in cooking myself. Overall, I thought this was a great novel and would recommend it to anyone looking for a light, contemporary novel.

Content Rating:

Content rating - some mature content

Explain your content rating: 

There is no offensive dialog, but one inappropriate scene for young readers.

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