Published by Penguin on May 5th 2015
Genres: Cooking & Food, Humorous Stories, Middle Grade, Realistic
“A scrumptious gem of a story!”—Jennifer A. Nielsen, New York Times bestselling author of The False Prince for All Four Stars. In this charming sequel to All Four Stars, eleven-year-old foodie Gladys Gatsby now has her first published review under her belt and is looking forward to a quiet summer of cooking and reviewing. But her plans quickly go awry when her friend Charissa Bentley delivers Gladys’s birthday gift: a free summer at Camp Bentley. As Gladys feared, camp life is not easy: she struggles to pass her swim test and can’t keep the other campers happy while planning lunches. The worst part is she can’t seem to get away from the annoying new “celebrity” camper and sneak away for her latest assignment—finding the best hot dog in New York City. But when it turns out her hot dog assignment was a dirty trick by a jealous reviewer, Gladys’s reviewing career may be over forever.
I’m honored and excited to kick off the Official Blog Tour for the sequel to Tara Dairman’s All Four Stars: The Stars of Summer! After falling in love with Tara’s debut last year, I was jumping for joy when I received the ARC of its sequel, and I think you are going to adore this book!
In fact, you can enter a Rafflecopter Giveaway at the bottom of this post to win a SIGNED COPY of both All Four Stars and The Stars of Summer by Tara Dairman!
Prepare to be entertained by Gladys and her family and friends yet again in this May 5th release from Putnam.
A sequel to the utterly delightful All Four Stars, Tara Dairman’s The Stars of Summer opens with Gladys’s birthday dinner in NYC at a Tapas restaurant where Gladys is faced with the task of reviewing the meal with her family and friends and jotting down her notes in secret. While in the restaurant restroom, Gladys discovers that there’s a $1000 dollar reward for cracking the identity of restaurant reviewer “G. Gatsby”!
Gladys’s mishap in the previous book—the crème brulee incident is thankfully behind her and she is able to use the kitchen once again. Readers open the story expecting Gladys will be able to cook and create her culinary delights once again.
But, there’s more in store for Gladys this summer than just typical time in the kitchen. And let me give you another hint: there’s a BOY involved! Just what Gladys needs…
When Charissa gifts Gladys with a free summer at Camp Bentley, Gladys’ summer plans quickly take on a nightmarish quality. No way does Gladys want to spend her days in the sun swimming or running relay races! Her newest assignment for the newspaper is also a bit strange—she will have to find the best hot dog in New York City!
It is no surprise that adventures for Gladys ensue in this equally charming sequel to Tara Dairman’s 2014 debut.
What I Loved
The Food: From the beginning of the book, your mouth will water. Whether you’re reading about items from the Tapas Menu at Gladys’s birthday restaurant such as Ham-Wrapped Roasted Asparagus and Griddled Polenta Cakes or her three-tired Strawberry Lime Birthday cake, you might not want to read this book while hungry.
Having a healthy obsession for cookbooks, I absolutely adore the fact that Tara’s books feature a healthy number of food references! Gladys isn’t afraid to take on a culinary challenge and I love that.
Though Gladys normally wouldn’t consider scouring the city for the “best hot dog,” her summer experiences lead her in this direction. I found this to be a fabulous aspect of the sequel, especially as it’s releasing in late spring and the summer is fast approaching.
The Laugh Aloud Moments: I don’t think you can read this book with a straight face.
Gladys’s antics (especially when you add her parents as well as her friends and a new kid named Hamilton Herbertson) infuse the narrative with the perfect ingredient of humor.
I appreciate when a story, especially a middle grade novel makes me laugh, and The Stars of Summer is no exception. My hope is that you find Chapter 14: A (Hot) Dog Day of a Summer as funny as I did.
The Curriculum Connections: Both All Four Stars and The Stars of Summer are excellent choices for titles in the upper elementary classroom. Whether chosen for individual reading by students or featured as a whole class read-a-long, Tara’s books feature colorful characters, engaging plots, and humorous antics that I think would especially engage this age group.
Its culinary aspects made me think—what about including the book as part of a Home Economics/Language Arts hybrid lesson plan?
It would depend on the school’s curriculum, but I love the idea of giving students the chance to read the book and then to learn to cook some of the recipes referenced in either All Four Stars or The Stars of Summer.
The New Twists and Challenges for Gladys: Whether it was learning to swim, navigating a summer camp kitchen with the bossy Mrs. Spinelli, dealing with a boy who “might” like her, or combing the streets of New York City for every hot dog stand in sight, Gladys has her share of new adventures and lessons to learn. Gladys is as endearing a character in the sequel as she was in All Four Stars. The addition of new characters supplies welcome challenges and tension to a narrative that, to be honest, I couldn’t put down.
Reasons to Read The Stars of Summer
-You read All Four Stars and have fallen in love with Gladys and her culinary adventures.
-You need a story to get you in the mood for summer.
-You’re fascinated by the idea of the search for the perfect hot dog in New York City.
-You’re hungry for a delightful contemporary Middle Grade read about an ambitious twelve year old whose adventures and interactions will entertain you and keep you chuckling.View Spoiler »The Introduction of….Gladys Gatsby’s Signature Sandwich! « Hide Spoiler
Now, this tour stop wouldn’t be complete without at least a few gourmet hot dog recipes. I hope that Gladys would approve of these, and I have selected a few I found through my online search for some more “creative” hot dogs. Here’s one interesting tidbit—I started searching for hot dog recipes before I had finished my reading of the book. I inadvertently highlighted a hot dog recipe I wanted to include that actually shows up in the book—the Sonoran Hot Dog!
If you have recipes to share, please do so in the comments below!
(Mozzarella, Basil, & Tomato!)
(Beans, Tomatoes, Onions, Cilantro, Avocado!)
(Lentils, Red Onion, Yogurt, Mint, Serrano Chile!)
If you missed my first interview with Tara, you can explore it here. Also, if you aren’t familiar with All Four Stars, you can read about it here.
**Thank you to Kristin Rae for a beautiful blog tour button!
BIO: Tara Dairman is the author of ALL FOUR STARS, which was named an Amazon Best Book of the Month and a Mighty Girl Top Book of 2014 for Teens and Tweens. She is also a playwright and recovering world traveler. She grew up in New York and received a B.A. in Creative Writing from Dartmouth College. After surviving the world’s longest honeymoon (two years, seventy-four countries!), she now lives in Colorado with her husband and their trusty waffle iron.
Book buying links:
Social media links: