The Secret Recipe for Moving On | Karen Bischer


The Secret Recipe for Moving On by Karen Bischer. 

Out Now from Swoon Reads; 288 pages

Content Warnings: bullying, sexual harassment, cheating, death of a parent, underage drinking.

About the Author: “Karen Bischer has been writing since she was six years old. She tried to be a journalist, working on the school paper at the University of Delaware, but soon realized she preferred writing fiction, which is way more fun. She has written short stories for Girls’ World and Animal Tales magazines, and a journalism background wasn’t a total loss, since it gave her the copyediting skills she uses in her day job. 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. When she’s not writing, you can find her cheering on the Yankees or geeking out over her favorite TV shows. The Secret Recipe for Moving On is her debut novel.” (Bio taken from author’s website)

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“I’m soaking wet, I can barely see out of my fogged-up glasses, and yet this is the most thrilling thing I’ve ever been a part of. Rashad was right. I should’ve done this a whole lot sooner.” 

When Ellie’s boyfriend Hunter dumps her for his childhood best friend on the first day of senior year, she not only loses him, but also their shared friend group. To make matters worse, she’s stuck taking the life skills class she signed up for with Hunter and his friends (including his new girlfriend) back when they were still together. Placed into a group of misfits for the class “family” competition, Ellie is determined to beat Hunter’s team by any means necessary. In the process, she might just break out of her comfort zone and make some new friends in unexpected places. 

Karen Bischer’s debut novel The Secret Recipe for Moving On is an uplifting YA contemporary read perfect for fans of Jenny Han and Elise Bryant. I loved watching Ellie slowly shake the fear of being judged and start going for what she wants after some difficult life changes. Seeing her relationship with her fellow life skills outcasts shift from awkward exchanges to genuine friendship was extremely endearing. Each group member had a distinctly lovable personality, which made their dynamic so fun. While there is some romance in the story, friendship plays an equally important role, which I found refreshing. I loved the theme that first impressions and appearances don’t always tell the whole story. From Ellie’s groupmates, to a dog with a vicious reputation who is actually a huge sweetheart, this message really resonated with me. As a side note, the life skills class taken by the characters sounded so fun and useful. I wish I could have taken a class like that in high school. I highly recommend this heartwarming and humorous novel to anyone in need of a hug in book form!

PRR Writer, Emily Pimental