By: Lisa Siberry
Genre: YFB - General fiction (Children's / Teenage)
Published by: Hardie Grant Egmont
Published: 1 Aug 2019
ISBN: 9781760503659


A dash of Judy Blume, a spoonful of secrets and a whole lot of fun get mixed up in this big-hearted debut by Ampersand Prize-winning author Lisa Siberry. Twelve-year-old Lily Green’s life is falling apart. Her best friend, Violet, is more interested in the latest shade of lip gloss than hanging out. Her enemy, Zoe, is determined to beat Lily in the school science competition – and win Violet’s friendship, too. Worst of all, Lily's precious family beauty salon – the last connection she has to her dad – has hit hard times, and her mum has decided to sell it.

When Lily accidentally mixes up a string of wild and wonderful beauty products from the mysterious plants in her neighbour’s garden, she thinks she’s found the perfect way to save the salon – and get her best friend back. But are her inventions as beautiful as she thinks?  And when things start turning… ugly… can Lily find the real ‘secret ingredient’ that will save the salon, seal her friendships, and win the school science competition?

Beautifully written and full of warmth, this captivating middle-grade novel explores family, friendship and the true meaning of beauty.


When 12-year-old Lily’s world starts to crack, the voice of her Dad is there telling her to have a go. He was an inventor after all!

But her Dad has died and the family beauty salon is facing bankruptcy because of a lack of customers. Lily’s best friend has started hanging out with her enemy, whose Mum owns a string of successful salons.

Now the science competition is coming and Lily is paired with her new quiet neighbour Ivy, and the TV star Lab Girls are going to be the judges! What amazing thing to make the world better can they come up with?

Their ideas are beauty related and generally involve ingredients taken from the marvellously weird garden of Ivy’s grandmother, Rosa. But Lily doesn't tell anyone where she is getting these ingredients that do amazing things, and when they start turning bad, she must face reality.

With Lily facing much underhanded behaviour and plain meanness, the reader will just want everything to turn out right for her and her family!

A great debut novel with themes of family, friendship, honesty and the true meaning of beauty, this book will most appeal to readers in upper primary and lower secondary, especially girls.

Reviewed by Rob