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The Secret Ingredient

(Teashop Girls #2)

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  384 ratings  ·  58 reviews
It’s nearing the end of summer before ninth grade and Annie has been busy working as a barista at her grandmother's teashop, Th Steeping Leaf.  In between serving up chai lattes and matcha frappes, Annie has gotten involved in a scone bakeoff with one of Louisa's tea suppliers. The winner gets an all-expenses paid trip to London for a tea vacation! Annie The competition is ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by Simon Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
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Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  384 ratings  ·  58 reviews

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Jun 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was a very cute book. There were a lot of interesting things in it. and it is certainly age appropriate. Annie wants to win a contest to bake the best scone and win a trip to London. Not only does she have to make a winning scone recipe, but she also has to get ready for her first year of high school. And deal with boys. And be a good friend. And get people to follow her food blog so she can make it to Chicago to bake her scones and win. That's a lot for one summer!

There was some very inter
It was ok I loved it more before but when I keep thinking about it it was alright good for the moment entertaining I loved all the characters and all the scones looked yummy and it was a very refreshing read
May 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
**It is also posted in It's All About Books **

When I was child, I loved recipe books which had lots of picture in it. Not because I like cooking. There were not any ingredients that I read. I just stared at the pictures and pretended that I was munching them all. It was such a ritual before I took a nap. I do not do that silly thing anymore. I rarely open any recipe book. But I still love book that talk about food and The Secret Ingredient is one of my favorite.

This book introduced me to Anni
Aug 20, 2013 rated it liked it
I read the first one so long ago that I don't remember why I loved it so much. This one wasn't unlikable, but I think as an adult I'm becoming increasingly cynical about tweens and teens who are competing to be special. like, Gryffindor wins everything every single year. competition is healthy, but it's super annoying to me when characters who are so young are trying so hard to be adults. Genna's obsession with James and being skinny, and Zoe's campaign to put better food in school lunches, are ...more
Karen Arendt
Annie and her friends Zoe and Genna are finishing up the summer before high school. Annie enters a contest to create a scone recipe using a blog to write about the recipes she tries. Annie works her community garden and wants to improve the school lunches with the vegetables grown. Genna returns from acting camp and struggles with body issues that celebrities should have. Each friend has the support of the other two with occasional conflicts. I like that the story incorporates a blog into the st ...more
Sep 15, 2011 rated it liked it
The Teashop Girls are back, and the summer is heating up in Madison. Each TG has her own little story:

Genna's just gotten back from drama camp and is now obsessed with a guy she met there;

Zoe's become a food activist of sorts with her communal garden plot; and

Annie's all about scones. She's entered a blogging and baking contest.

All three TGs help each other with their challenges and share in their successes.

Cute and sweet.
Mya Maliyevsky
Oct 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this book was great. I enjoyed how The Teashop Girls had another adventure. This time Annie was competing in a scone competion, while Gen was trying to lose weiight so she can impress her boy-friend from New York.
I would reccomend this book to anyone who like realistic fiction.
Feb 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-s-books
This is such a cute series, I really enjoy them as an adult and I think that's because I know how much I would've liked them when I was younger. I would have read them over and over. The writing is really good and the characters are relatable to middle grade girls. Hope she writes more!
Mar 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book was so funny and made me smile. The characters were awesome to get to know and their friendships were very real. Plus, the main character Annie's grandmother, Louisa, was really awesome and gave really good advice. Overall great book
May 03, 2011 rated it liked it
I reviewed this for Booklist. It's fun, light summer fare - perfect for middle school girls looking for a clean romance. Bonus points if they're into the local food movement.
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I finished this book in about 6 hours. :D
Oct 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
So happy the author wrote book 2 of this story about tea and loving tea. I hope for more from this lovley tea drinking writer!!
Oreo22 Cream
Feb 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I like this one better than the first!
Sandra Porter
Sep 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Picked this book up at a 25 cent sale. As I started reading it, I realized that the setting is Madison, Wi, of which I am very familiar. Also, this book was written in 2011, so some of the references are dated especially about phones. That said, I think this book is aimed for 6-8th grade girls. The main character, Annie, works for her Grandmother in her tea shop, The Steeping Leaf. Annie has entered a contest to come up with an inspired scone recipe. The winning prize is a trip to London. Along ...more
Victoria Kimble
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I think the best books make you want to go and do something. They make you want to try something new, or try something you haven't tried in awhile, or try something you've forgotten about. I dare anyone to read this book and not have an intense desire to have a cup of tea and a scone. Especially a scone.

I loved the friendship between the girls, I loved the tenacity of the main character, and I loved the real-life application of the recipes and tea facts.

And I am finally ready to try matcha.
Aug 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
It was really good
Oct 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury: The Secret Ingredient by Laura Schaefer is a really good teenage book that is very good for people who like to cook and like a little bit suspense mixed in with it. The book is narrarated by Annie who is the main Protagonist. It has some recipes in here for some very delicious scones and also some eye opening suspense at the end when they are choosing the winner for the bake-off.

The setting in this book is great. I don't think it would need any changing. It tell
Jenn O'Brien
Mar 01, 2012 rated it liked it
I cannot figure out if I liked this story better than the first, equal to the first, or less than the first.

At first, I thought I liked it better, but as I let it digest over the afternoon and think about it, I’m not so sure. The reason I say this is that I don’t know if I like how the contest ended. I think it could have been a better story if “the villain” had a different ending. I cannot put my finger on it, but it seemed too convenient to not like an anonymous person through the book and whe
Alyssa hoffmaster
May 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
The secret Ingredient was one hundred times better than the first one. I was glad that I enjoyed this one as much as I would. It was fast paced and enjoyable.

Anna and the teashop girls along with all her friends and family have saved the tea leaf, her grandmother’s tea café. Ever since they saved it the business has been booming, there was customers always there and Anna had a blast working there.

I loved the way Anna and Zach (the most annoying boy on the planet, according to her) had a love/h
Jun 24, 2013 rated it liked it
This book was a quick, adorable, heart-felt read. It didn't really build the story, and there wasn't absolute drama and adventure, but it was still a book I will remember. It's about a teenage girl named Annie and her two friends Genna and Zoe. They are enjoying their summer break before 9th grade and each dealing with individual situations, along with their shared worry of starting high school. Briefly, here are their struggles:
Annie: Annie is entering a scone competition. She's trying to come
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it
The Secret Ingredient is about a girl named Annie who is a barista at her grandmother's tea shop, The Steeping Leaf. One day she finds out about a scone bake-off and the winner gets to go to London. All she has to do is make a food blog. When her food blog begins to start getting mean comments ,she has to find out who it is. The genre is food/friendship fiction. The book's weakness are when Anne was in the Steeping leaf restocking tea packages with Zach . The strengths are when Annie won and go ...more
Bridget R. Wilson
Now that her grandmother's tea shop (The Steeping Leaf) is safe, Annie turns her mind to other important matters. She's entering a scone baking contest and she's determined to win. This is also the summer The Teashop Girls face the hardship pf growing apart. They each have individual interests. Annie's is baking. Zoe's is campaigning for an improvement in school food. Genna's is body image (to the point of self harm). Does being individuals mean they can't be friends?

What I thought: I continue t
Feb 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this sequel a lot! I was super excited to read it so I flew through it! I liked the storyline and didn't find it boring. Once again Annie kind of annoyed me with her choices. She jumps to conclusions too fast and is very judgmental to one of my fav characters-Zach. I guess I can see where she's coming from since in the first book he was mean to her, but she needs to learn to take a joke and get thicker skin! I personally didn't like the way things ended with her and Zach, I wish the au ...more
Aug 14, 2012 rated it liked it
I foresee that I'm going to have to add a shelf labelled "juvenile chick lit." There seems to be a fair amount of it building up for the middle grade reader, & this sequel definitely has that feel. Protagonist Annie Green is back, & this time she's pretty much focused: if she gets into the top five of the scone-making competition, she's headed to a bake-off in Chicago. If that's not excitement enough, the grand prize is an all-expenses-paid trip to London for some serious high tea - so A ...more
CoffeeTimeRomance andMore
I picked up this book because I read book two in this series already, and I liked the author’s style. The Secret Ingredient delivered exactly what I was looking for: a fun, easy romance with likeable characters and just enough conflict to keep me reading. I was a little disappointed there was no real resolution on Nate’s overzealous best female friend who wants him for herself, nor on June’s disruptive brother (especially since the book suggests Simon may suffer from clinical depression). Overal ...more
Kiirsi Hellewell
Nov 15, 2012 rated it liked it
This was a cute book! I had no idea it was a sequel, and I was a bit lost at the starting, but I really enjoyed it, overall.

I did feel like the main character acted a lot of the time more like an 11-year-old than someone about to enter high school, but this was a cute, clean book that I wouldn't be afraid to recommend to my daughter.

The blog entries and recipes were added fun, and the descriptions of tea and food (even though I don't drink tea) were often so mouth-watering that it made me hungr
Nov 30, 2015 rated it liked it
Set in Madison, WI this is an easygoing book about three friends named Annie, Zoe, and Genna. Annie works for her grandmother, Louisa, in a tea shop and she has entered a scone contest. In the book she tries out different scone recipes which are also listed for the reader to try. How the three girls share their talents and work together, before they enter high school, is fun to read about. There is a book prior to this, The Teashop Girls. You might want to start with that one first, but you don' ...more
Stephanie A.
Dec 23, 2015 rated it really liked it
Another darling installment of tea celebration, now with equally heavy focus on scones, from savory to dessert (which may leave your waistline a bit worse for the wear), though recipes for these have replaced the majority of the old tea advertisements and tips for using tea from the previous book. With the shop saved, now it's more of a victory lap, with some interesting bits about Zoe's involvement in a community garden and interest in locally sourced, healthy food. It's great for summer, or fo ...more
Jan 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book was so awesome - I liked it even more than the first one. This book is very charming, with its endearing characters and comforting ambiance. I love the messages packed in it too - about growing up, about being a good person, being your own person, and about food, especially our relationship to our food, on the individual level and as a society. Reading it made me want to run out and grab some tea and a scone. Wonderful!
Nov 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: young-adult
The teashop girls are back and each has her own challenges: Annie is trying to win a scone-baking contest for a trip to the London, Genna has a long-distance crush and (minor) struggles with an eating disorder, and the pressure to succeed from her parents sends S. to Annie's Grandmother for meditation practice. The blog entries and IMs are sure to appeal to the YA audience and Annie's lists resonnate with me as usual.
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Laura Schaefer is the author of LITTLER WOMEN: A Modern Retelling (Paula Wiseman Books, Sept. 5, 2017), The Secret Ingredient (2011), and The Teashop Girls (2008).

Visit Laura online at and follow her on Twitter (@teashopgirl).

Other books in the series

Teashop Girls (2 books)
  • The Teashop Girls (Teashop Girls, #1)