The Brilliant Ideas of Lily Green

Lisa Siberry

The Brilliant Ideas of Lily Green
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The Brilliant Ideas of Lily Green

Lisa Siberry

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.


Lily Green is a messy, unfussy kind of a girl, bursting with creative exuberance and a vibrant mind. Her mum’s beauty salon is the family’s sole source of income since Lily’s dad passed away some years before. Faye, Lily’s older sister, bemoans Lily’s messy looks and is forever trying to give Lily a beauty makeover. But Lily’s only interest in beauty is to make things to sell in her mum’s salon. She makes products like peanut butter and apple-cider-vinegar hairspray that mostly look dreadful, smell even worse and boast doubtful beauty benefits. That is, until Lily comes across strange and magical ingredients sourced from the garden of her elderly botanist neighbour.

Suddenly, Lily’s fortunes seem to have turned, but will this discovery help her save the salon, win the invention competition and entice back the best friend she fears has strayed? A refreshing, inventive story full of mischief and dollops of gloop for readers aged 9+.

Natalie Platten is the assistant manager and children’s book buyer at Readings Doncaster.

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