Secrets and Scones

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 09 Nov 2018

Member Reviews

A perfectly fun kids fiction read about family, friendship and doing what you love. I really enjoyed stepping into the of a j-fiction story like this one.
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The originality of this story was intriguing: Scarlett’s mom is a “mommy blogger” who makes a living writing stories (particularly embarrassing) about her daughter’s life. Scarlett meanwhile starts having a secret baking club in her neighbor’s house. The cover is compelling and the story starts strong, it will be interesting to see if kids will connect to Scarlett’s unique plight.
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Scarlett’s mother is a mommy blogger like no other, constantly writing about every moment in her daughter’s life for the world to read. So, she hatches a plan to become totally boring, depriving her mom of new material. However, when her elderly neighbor is rushed to the hospital after a fall, leaving her cat wailing for food, Scarlett discovers the glorious next-door kitchen practically begging her to bake. But can she really keep her cooking (and a new friend) a secret?

Author Laurel Remington has taken the idea of technology and youth and flipped it on its head. Rather than a lamentable screed against screen time and teens, she focuses on its impact on parents. It works and it’s completely relatable. Whether a parent posts about their children on a major blog or just to their private social media, it’s incredibly easy and popular to overshare in a way that can be mortifying for young adults. This is such a refreshing and relevant take on the issue.

It also helps that Scarlett is such a great character. Since her plan has caused her to go introverted, outwardly she could appear rather boring. However, Remington takes advantage of telling the story from her perspective. Her inner thoughts are funny, insightful, and completely developed. Whether Scarlett was learning how to bake scones or going through the awkwardness of trusting her new friend, Violet, I was invested. She sounds like a teen.

While food carries the story (and sounds delicious), to unpack here about relationships. Scarlett struggles with her mother, and this drips into other parts of her life. She mistrusts the people around her, for fear they’ve read the dreaded blog. As she becomes close to her neighbor, Mrs. Simpson, part of what pushes the relationship is her focus on food rather than on Scarlett. It’s a delicate situation, and Remington handles it masterfully, allowing each of the characters to evolve naturally.

Not to suggest that it isn’t difficult along the way. Part of the charm of this book is that Remington does not shy away from the difficult, particularly over the last half of the book. But a little love and some great baked goods can always help the mending process.

The problems are real, the scones are delicious, and this book is divine.
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First of all, I sped through this book! With school and my activities, it's been taking me forever to read a book, but this one felt like it took no time at all to finish!

When I first requested this book from Netgalley, I was expecting a cute little baking contemporary about a character with some minor problems that get fixed and everyone's happy. What I got was so much more.

It's probably because I read a lot of fantasy, but I haven't seen a book this realistic and relatable in a long time. All of the characters had their own talents and major flaws, just like people in real life, which isn't something you see in most novels, even contemporaries. I feel like most characters are made to be either majorly flawed with few good aspects or they're made out to be perfect. But these characters were amazing! Even the ones made out to be the antagonists turn out to be not as terrible as they're first seen, either because of a misunderstanding or because they're trying to do the right thing.

This book also got so much deeper than I was expecting it to... There was so much about relationships within families and between friends and it was great seeing a book get in depth about things like that!

Not to mention, the last couple of chapters of this book almost made me cry... I honestly wasn't expecting the turn the plot decided to take towards the end, but it definitely made the time leading up to it even more important.

This review may not be very long, but I hope it will encourage you to give this book a try! It's so cute but it's also filled with meaning that needs to be prominent in more books! I highly recommend it!
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Interest Level: 3-6; Reading Level: 4.6

Imagine that your mom is a famous blogger and everyone reads her posts, including all the kids at your school. Now imagine that every small, embarrassing detail about your life gets splashed across that blog. This is the life that Scarlett lives. So how does she combat this humiliating torture? She does nothing. She quits all of her clubs, sports, after-school activities, even her friends. She does absolutely nothing to be noticed. The problem is that her mom is so absorbed in her new blog fame that she doesn't see her children right under her nose. One day her elderly neighbor falls and gets rushed to the hospital. That night Scarlett hears a noise from her house and thinks she has come home and needs help. She sneaks out to find a key under the mat, a very hungry cat in the house, and one of the most incredible kitchens she has ever seen. It is like magic when she discovers an old, handmade, incredible cookbook, a kitchen stocked with so many ingredients, and a desire to teach herself how to cook. After days of sneaking over to the neighbors house to cook she is caught by the new girl at school who just happens to show up with her real estate aunt. Together these girls create a cooking club and a friendship, but they have to keep it a secret from her blogging mom. When their secret gets leaked out to others, including Scarlett's arch-nemesis, will this jeopardize the club? What happens with the owner of the house comes back and finds them in her kitchen? Also, what about the elderly woman's nephew who wants to put her in a retirement home and sell the house? There are so many things going against the cooking club. Will it survive? What about the friendship Scarlett has made? Read this incredibly sweet story of family, friendship, and how first impressions may not always be what they seem.
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Secrets and Scones is about a girl, Scarlett, who discovers her neighbor's incredible kitchen after Mrs. Simpson is injured in a fall. Scarlett is also dealing with the notoriety caused by her mother's highly successful blog that often features her in unflattering ways. She starts cooking secretly in the kitchen using recipes from an old hand-written book and she leaves the good in her cafeteria with  a note from The Secret Cooking Society. Mrs. Simpson returns home and agrees to mentor her cooking and a new girl befriends her and begins to help and then two old ex-friends and a cute boy join in too. The small group starts its own blog and promotes a fundraiser to help Mrs. Simpson and other elderly people who need a little extra help. It's a surprisingly appealing story about cooking and difficulties with friends.
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Also posting to Goodreads: 
This was such a sweet and heartwarming read! Scarlett's mother is a famous blogger... too bad the fame is at Scarlett's expense! Scarlett becomes much less outgoing and has few friends due to the constant, weekly mortification at the hands of her mother, until new girl Violet comes to town - maybe this will be a fresh start? When Scarlett's elderly neighbor winds up in the hospital, the two girls make a discovery in her kitchen. Through this, the Secret Cooking Club is born! 

This is a great tween and teen read, with a wonderful and slightly bittersweet turnout. I recommend!
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Posted to Goodreads: Scarlett's mom is a successful blogger who's favorite subject is her daughter.  Scarlett hates the attention her mother's blog gives her and works to be as invisible as possible.  However, when Scarlett learns that her elderly neighbor has recently been hospitalized she begins using the woman's kitchen to launch the Secret Cooking Club.  

This book feels very much like a basic tween story about learning to care about other people and appreciate your family.  The characters, their interactions, and the plot of the book all happen just as expected without any surprises.  It's a cute book but also a familiar story.
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This beautifully written love story to cooking is perfect for both tweens and YA.  It is heartwarming and full of the twists and turns of school life, while also inspirational and fun.  If you like the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and Chopped, you'll love this book!
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Nice enough story! It has a nice contemporary touch with the mom's blog. Pity her blog keeps embarrassing her daughter; the woman is just sooo clueless!  Anyway, while I can't condone using someone else's kitchen secretly, for any reason, I was happy that Scarlett a nice outlet for her talents in cooking! The story does have a few tears at the end, but  mostly its happy endings for all! I think 5th grade up will relate and enjoy the story. It would make a nice addition to a library.
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Everything in this book happens just as you would expect it to occur. The ending is happy, but there is a pinch of sadness before everybody is paired off and partnered up. No surprises, and not enough recipes for a book set on cooking and baking. The blogging element was a nice touch and that helped to establish a setting in a digital age. Really, without that, this story could have taken place in any time period if Scarlett's single mom was a writer.
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Thanks for the early review copy!

I recommend this book to fans of young adult/children novels. I picked it based on the cover and the plot surrounding baking. It was a great read.
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I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  
From the publisher --- 

Can Scarlett discover the secret ingredient to happiness?
Scarlett is sick of being the star—and victim—of her mom’s famous blog. Her solution? Become completely boring and deprive her mom of embarrassing material. The only problem is, being boring is, well, boring. So when Scarlett finds a gorgeous kitchen in the house next door, left empty by an elderly neighbour during a hospital stay, it’s too tempting to resist. 
Before she really knows what she’s doing, Scarlett is whipping up a batch of scones…and making an unexpected friend. But can they keep their baking a secret? And can Scarlett find the secret ingredients—to cake, family, and friendship?

This is such a cute book!  We all have mommy issues (even if we deny it) so this book will ring true to so many people. It was warm and cozy and made me so hungry: food baked goods AND another book by the author.
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