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Booktalking "The Secret Ingredient" by Laura Schaefer

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Teenager Annie Green is fascinated by all things baking and tea. She gets hooked with using social networking to promote The Steeping Leaf restaurant and her scone creations. Her blogs on steepingleafscone.com feature recipes and commentary on her quest to win a trip to London to compete on a bake-off! Most of the commentary is positive, but SweetCakes seems to have it in for her as well as the other competition. Annie vows to show SweetCakes who reigns supreme, and she strives to keep her secret scone ingredient out of the hands of spies.

The Teashop Girls comprise Annie and her friends Zoe and Genna. Zoe is into tennis as well as tea and baking. She is working towards getting schools to include healthier foods on their menus from local farmer's markets. Genna prefers theatre, and she seems to be eating very little and exercising excessively in an attempt to adhere to an idealized body image. Annie and Zoe do their best to ensure that Genna is well-nourished and taken care of.

Louisa's grandmother works at The Steeping Leaf, and she guides Annie in some of her baking adventures. Luckily, Annie also gets a chance to work with Tom Hines from the Batch Bakehouse. He teaches her about the importance of quality ingredients and baking from the heart.

The Secret Ingredient by Laura Schaefer, 2011

I like the fact that the prose is interspersed with blogs and IM exchanges.

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