Monday, July 11, 2016

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: STARS SO SWEET by Tara Dairman

STARS SO SWEET by Tara Dairman (Putnam, July 2016)

I'm so happy to introduce the third book in Tara Dairman's All Four Stars series. Tara was snapped up by agent Ammi-Joan Paquette after the Baker's Dozen auction in 2011, and I loved both previous books in this series, which I reviewed HERE and HERE.
I'm delighted to have been able to enjoy another Gladys Gatsby adventure and to take part in this blog tour.

What It's About (via Goodreads): 
As the summer winds down and Gladys Gatsby prepares to start middle school, she is nervous about juggling schoolwork and looming deadlines from her secret job as the New York Standard’s youngest restaurant critic. When her editor pushes for a face-to-face meeting to discuss more opportunities with the paper, Gladys knows she must finally come clean to her parents. But her perfectly planned reveal is put on hold when her parents arrive home with a surprise:  her Aunt Lydia, one of the only adults who knows her secret, fresh off the plane from Paris. Gladys and Aunt Lydia try one last ruse to fool her editor at the Standard, but even with her aunt’s help, Gladys just can’t manage the drama of middle school and a secret life. It’s time for Gladys to be true to herself and honest with her friends and family, regardless of what those around her think.

Opening Lines:
"Gladys Gatsby felt like a live fish was flopping around in her stomach."

Why I Loved It:

  1. The characters: Gladys is an endearing character. True to the middle grade experience, she worries about whether she fits in, about friendships, and about the journey to middle school. Yet she is loyal, level-headed, and creative. Tara Dairman does a good job with all her characters. Charissa, for example, could easily have been written as a stereotypical "mean girl," but instead we are shown a more rounded side to her. I also liked the fact that characters from the earlier novels were developed--Gladys' Aunt Lydia being a case in point.
  2. The humor. Tara Dairman, for my money, is one of the funniest middle grade writers around. Her humor isn't the obvious, gross sort. Often times, it is situational. I'll never forget the "Gladys-under-the restaurant table" scene in All Four Stars, or the disastrous swim test in The Stars of Summer. In Stars So Sweet, there are deliciously comic moments when Gladys tries to wiggle out of meeting her editor in person. Chuckles abound!
  3. The covers. All three books have had wonderful, memorable colors--by artist Kelly Murphy. Very eye-catching.
In conclusion, Stars So Sweet is a delightful addition to the Gladys canon. Hooray for Tara!

About The Author:

Tara Dairman is the author of the middle-grade ALL FOUR STARS series, the newest addition being Stars So Sweet. She is also a playwright and world-traveler. 

Tara holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College and is represented by Ammi-Joan Paquette of the Erin Murphy Literary Agency. You can find her online in the following places:


  1. Awesome cover for this. It's just so cute! Glad you enjoyed this so much.

  2. Can't wait to read this! I love her writing. So much fun.

  3. I've had this series on my TBR list for way too long. Glad to hear the newest holds up well. Thanks for the great review as always.

  4. I really want to read this one! I love this series. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  5. I haven't seen this series and it does sound like very entertaining reading. Thanks for the recommendation. I like to learn about a new author.

  6. I read the first one and didn't realize number 3 was already out! Well, I'll have to read this one just as soon as I finish number 2. I agree about Dairman being one of the funniest middle grade authors!

  7. How fun! I too love her books and am looking forward to this one. I hope I can get to it very soon. Thanks for the review.

  8. I've been meaning to pick up this series. Thanks for the reminder!


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