kidlit :: The Brilliant Ideas of Lily Green :: Lisa Siberry

August 12, 2019

Ok, so I know that I'm not supposed to judge a book by its cover and all that, but I'm not ashamed to admit that I decided to read Lisa Siberry's The Brilliant Ideas of Lily Green 100% purely based on that gorgeous cover. I just can't go past a cover with a clever redhead on it - I'm not sure if it's love by association with Anne of Green Gables, or if I'm subconsciously curating a collection for when my own reddish-haired daughter is old enough to read them, but as soon as I saw this I had to have it.

While  an impulse cover buy is nothing new for me, what is a bit more unusual is that I started reading this the very next day after bringing it home - inspired by my friend Star, who also read it the same weekend.

So, on to what's inside that lovely cover! The Brilliant Ideas of Lily Green was the 2017 winner of Hardie Grant Egmont's Ampersand Prize, for debut novels by writers of young adult and middle-grade fiction.

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?

This one sits at the middle-grade end of the mg/YA spectrum, with a 12 year old protagonist and the main themes being about friendship, family, and fitting in, but there is plenty to love for older readers too. Whilst the story has a contemporary setting, there is also a lovely twist of the fantastic to it.
I think my favourite thing about this one was the family relationship between Lily, her mum and her older sister - I feel like it really nailed that delicate balance of driving each other mad but also being furiously proud and protective of each other at the same time.   

Between the sweet characters and the fun plot I thought this was an absolute delight to read. It was funny and had a great 'romp' feel to it, which made me not want to put it down - I read it across two sittings in a single day. It is a wonderful debut, and I'm excited to see what Lisa writes next.

The Brilliant Ideas of Lily Green by Lisa Siberry
Out now from Hardie Grant Egmont.

Source: I bought this one
Category: Contemporary middlegrade romp with a twist of the fantastic
Themes: Family, friendship, fitting in, honesty
Recommended for readers who loved Gabrielle Tozer's Melody Trumpet.

Find Lisa Siberry online here

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  1. This book was so sweet, and I am so glad you liked it, too!
    I adored the fantastical element to it, too. It just made me love it more.
    And yesssssssssss, get all of those red haired girls on the covers of books for A when she's older! She'll love it!

  2. Thanks! And thank you for encouraging/inspiring me to read it! xo