Thank you so much to Xpresso Book Tours, as well as the author and publisher for giving me a copy of ‘The Secret Recipe for Moving On’ in exchange for an unbiased, and honest review!! This is my stop for the tour, and you can click the banner below to view the full schedule, and explore other posts!!
Title: The Secret Recipe for Moving On
Author: Karen Bischer
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary Fiction
Publication Date: March 23, 2021
Final Rating: 4.5 stars
Synopsis (via Macmillan Website):
When Ellie is dumped by her boyfriend, she’s forced to make new friends (while watching her ex swoon over his new girlfriend) in The Secret Recipe for Moving On, a smart and funny YA debut from Karen Bischer.
Ellie Agresti’s not sure anything could be worse than being dumped by her boyfriend, Hunter, the first day of senior year.
But sharing a “life skills” class with him and his new girlfriend, Brynn? AND getting partnered with a “family” of misfits (A.J., the loudmouth; Isaiah, the horse-racing obsessive; and Luke, the tattooed stunt-biker)?
It’s a recipe for certain disaster… until an in-class competition allows Ellie to channel her angst into beating Hunter and Brynn’s team, and she unexpectedly bonds with her own group–especially Luke–in the process.
But as Ellie soon discovers, it will take more than classroom triumphs to heal her broken heart–and find herself again.
What I liked
The ‘squad of misfits’ trope. Something I always love is seeing a group of people who couldn’t have personalities that contrasted anymore, put aside their differences and work together. That’s why I adored seeing everyone in the same group as Ellie, find out that even though on surface level they couldn’t be more different, inside maybe, they’re more similar then they think. I loved seeing all their friendships and relationships with each other develop over time, and change over the course of their interactions, and just seeing the progress, was so amazing. Being able to see them grow from the awkward silence, to practically family by the end of the book was just so heartwarming and wholesome!!
The found family. As I mentioned in one of my posts, found family is one of my favourite tropes! There’s just ALWAYS something special about the main character finding hope, and warmth in the one place they least expect it. Just the experience of seeing the progress between this friend group grow so much, and then, at the end, being the one group of friends/people the main character can trust with anything is so wholesome, and gives me ALL the feels. 🥺🤧
The competitive air. So I love being a part of competitions, but apparently I love reading about them as well because I was HOOKED while reading about the competition aspect of everything in this novel! Yes, and it get’s better ~ this “squad of misfits” is put together in a group, and becomes found family, while competing with everyone else there! All the banter was so wholesome, and I adored every single interaction between the team.
The supportive friendships. It’s no secret that I STAN supportive friendships, and I definitely think we need more of those in YA! So something I loved seeing was an authentic, genuine friendship between the main character and her best friend. Being honest, I think I loved it so much because I saw a little bit of my best friend and I in their connection too. I loved their relationship, because they weren’t afraid to complain about anything, and weren’t hesitant about saying anything to one another, and though they had fights, their bond was so strong, they found their way through it, which is something I adored.
The fact that the book shows us that it’s okay not to be okay. I think that statement pretty much speaks for itself. In a lot of YA, and just books in general, everyone is trying so hard to move on with life, and just get things done, but The Secret Recipe for Moving On shows us that it’s OKAY to cry and break done once in a while. It’s okay to not always feel your best, but you’re you… and that’s what’s so wonderful.
What wasn’t my cup of tea
The clichéd high school stereotypes. As you can see from my endless gushing above, I loved this novel, and well the positives clearly outweigh this one, but I just couldn’t get past all the stereotypical vocabulary used to describe the different “cliques” of high school! This was such a letdown, because aside from the clichéd high school stereotypes (set behavior for nerds, jocks, etc.), this book was practically perfect!
The Secret Recipe for Moving On is definitely one of my favourite books of 2021 now. With all of it’s relatable teenage characters and high school problems, it’s something that resonated with me, and probably will with you too. Full of my favourite tropes, and growing friendships, this novel is one that will tug at your heartstrings, and leave you crying happy tears by the time you’re done.
About the Author
Karen Bischer has written short stories for Girls’ World and Animal Tales magazines and currently works as a copyeditor. She lives in her native New Jersey, where she has never encountered Bruce Springsteen in the wild, but does have a cat named after a member of the E Street Band.
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