Title: Secrets and Scones
Author: Laurel Remington
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Publication Date: 11/06/2018
Classification: Middle Grade
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.
Note: I received a free ARC of this book through NetGalley.