“The Secret Ingredient” Stewart Lewis

ARC (Advance Reading Copy). Published June 11, 2013. Delacorte Press. 241 pp.

TheSecretIngredientFor the past 17 years, Olivia has enjoyed everything about her life. She loves her two dads Bell and Enrique, her older brother Jeremy, and her best friend Lola. She especially loves cooking and even has her own Saturday Special in her dad’s restaurant, whipping up new, delicious treats for his customers. Through her years of cooking, she’s learned that chefs should have their own secret ingredient to spice up their dishes and give them a mysterious flavor.

She knows she’s adopted and is really happy with Bell and Enrique but feels something is missing. One day she meets a psychic who tells her that her life is going to change. Soon after,  she reconnects with Theo, her long lost love, who makes her feel like nothing can go wrong. But she still misses having a mom of her own. Things start to happen, including finding an old cookbook from someone named Rose filled with notes about life in the mid 1960’s. As Olivia explores the book and cooks its recipes, she finds herself imagining Rose’s life and comparing it to her own. Suddenly Olivia is desperate to conquer the many fears in her life and find her own missing ingredient, beginning with locating her birth mother.

Budding chefs ages 14 and older will have the opportunity to try new recipes based on Olivia’s many food choices, while adopted kids and those from nontraditional homes will see themselves in Olivia.


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