Monday, March 20, 2017

What I Read in October 2016 Part II. . .

What I Read in October 2016 Part II. . .

Stars So Sweet (All Four Stars, #3)Stars So Sweet by Tara Dairman--Middle Grades Contemporary

Gladys is nervous about starting middle school. With Charissa and Parm there with her, Gladys feels she can handle anything - until school starts; the friends are separated, the school newspaper editor seems to have it out for Gladys and every club wants her help for a fundraising bake sale. This is on top of pressure from her parents to join a club, regular school work and her restaurant reviews. Then her editor, Fiona, has a major proposition for her and the stakes get a lot higher. With her friends by her side and help from her Aunt Lydia, Gladys comes up with a plan to solve that problem. If only navigating middle school was as easy. Finally, she has a big decision to make that could change her future.

This final volume in the series revolves around an atypical girl with very modern problems. Kids today are so crazy busy and Gladys has the extra responsibility of writing her anonymous restaurant reviews. I wasn't thrilled with the middle school plot- is middle school EVER fun for anyone? I really liked the bake sale creativity -finally Gladys makes something I eat and am into. The biggest complaint I have about the whole series is the clueless adults. Adults are not that stupid, despite what kids may think. Fiona has to be the most idiotic adult and her cluelessness is rather unrealistic.

Though I didn't like the middle school plot, I liked the character development. Gladys is not the only one to have gone through a long journey in the last 6 months. She's mature beyond her years but she's also mellowed and become a bit more tween-like now she has friends. Parm finally gets her day. She grows a little bit by the end of the book. She's my favorite character because I identify with her eating habits, however, what kid doesn't love ice cream and cookies?! What is WRONG with her?! Charissa has come the farthest since the first book. She's always been self-confident around other kids but now she's nicer about it. Her vibrant personality is an asset in winning true friends who can't help but love her for her enthusiasm. I wasn't surprised at the identity of the person she LIKES but felt what happened was more realistic than just about anything else she's done.

Gladys's friend Sandy has a subplot of his own. Since this involves eating gross foods it wasn't appealing to me but I think boys will like the book because of it. Boys are weird. He adds a lot of humor to the story. He's immature but he's a boy and acts like a a normal 11 year old boy.

Her parents remain clueless as usual. I liked what happened with them at the end though. They are weird but mean well.

The only new major character here is Aunt Lydia. Her constant infusion of French words and puns on Gladys's name got on my nerves. I also didn't like how Gladys took on the role of adult but I can see why this would appeal to middle schoolers.

I enjoyed this series and I can't wait to share it with my nieces and nephews when they're older. One niece is interested in cooking/baking, the other and her little brother are picky eaters so I know this book will appeal to the three older kids.

Looking for MeLooking for Me by Betsy Rosenthal--Middle Grades Historical Fiction

This is a cute novel in verse about a girl from a large family trying to find her own voice. The story is cute, funny and bittersweet in places. The story is set against the backdrop of the Depression and the Depression is present but not a huge deal. Edith also has to deal with a bit of anti-Semitism.

I liked Edith. She was smart, funny and fiercely loyal to her family but I didn't like how accepting she was of her role as the "little mother." Slowly she finds her own identity separate from her siblings. Her father really annoyed me with his sternness and attitude towards his children and of course, having all those children. My sympathies are with his wife.

My favorite part of the book was the family photos in the back and knowing what happened to them all after the story ends.

This is a nice read for 9-11 year olds or independent readers. It's a little lacking in depth for adult readers.

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