The Secret In The Kitchen

Thursday, January 26, 2017
Just as she raised her hand to strike the door again, she remembered, Rick locks the walk-in as the last thing he does before he leaves. He never, ever does anything else first.
China leaned her head against the door, her heart pounding inside her chest.
I’m stuck. Trapped. There’s no way out.

Book: The Secret In The Kitchen by Lissa Halls Johnson, Focus On The Family Publishers, 1994
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Target Audience: Girls 13-18
Subjects: Identity, Friendship, Family Relationships, Revenge
Summary: There are a couple new workers in the kitchen this week. Magda is thrilled to have them here, they are young men she’s been close to for a long time. China isn’t quite sure how to feel about them. Rick seems kind of strange, and his appearance… well, he’s just not exactly the most attractive male on the planet. But he does seem to enjoy playing around with the girls and is kind to them. John on the other hand has no problems in the looks department but China doesn’t know what to make of him either. He’s nice sometimes, but other times he seems downright cruel, as if China has done something to offend him. She’d ask Magda for advice, but something has Magda sick and out of commission. She also knows she has to be careful – she’s breaking rules by sneaking a stray dog she and DeeDee found into the kitchen with her. When China is seriously threatened, she knows things have gone too far and somehow, she has to figure out who wants to hurt her.
Notes: The Secret In The Kitchen is the second in the seven book China Tate series about a tenth grade girl whose parents are missionaries in Guatemala. She has returned to the states to spend a summer with an aunt, hoping to find a place to fit in. She finds her place at Camp Crazy Bear and winds up staying and working in the kitchen for the summer. The series tells of the adventures she has in friendship and learning responsibility.
In this second book China is settling into a routine working in the kitchen with Magda and living with DeeDee and her family. But she has to adjust to some changes when the new summer kitchen workers arrive and one doesn’t seem to like her very much. She learns a lesson about appearances – what you see on the outside has no bearing on what is on the inside. She judges both of the boys who work in the kitchen by the outside and gets proved very wrong. The dog she and DeeDee find helps reinforce the lesson as the dog is deaf and appears on the outside to be “not okay”, but is of great comfort to both girls and quickly becomes very important to them. The other approach the book takes is to simply not be too hasty in making conclusions – there might be more going on than what you realize. When China hears the story of one of the boys’ pasts she understands a lot better why he does some of the things he does.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

1 Samuel 16:7 –  But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”


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