All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

Tweens Read Thursdays

All Four Stars

Pages- 288 
Age Range- Ages 8-12 
Release Date- July 10, 2014

The Story 

"It is hard to keep the flame of your passion alive, when you're not allowed to light a burner at home." 

Eleven-year-old Gladys Gatsby has a passion for cooking. When her parents are at work, Gladys secretly cooks in her kitchen. One day she decides to try and make Creme Brulee. Armed with her father's blow torch, she accidentally sets her parents kitchen curtains on fire. Luckily, her parents walk in just in time to put out the fire and to give Gladys a punishment. She is no longer allowed to cook. 
While in her culinary exile,  Gladys focuses on another secret passion - food reviews. When her class enters in a writing contest for the world famous New York Standard newspaper, Gladys enters a letter explaining her love for writing food reviews. She is sure to win, but the publisher mistakes her entry as a cover letter and hires her as a restaurant critic. It is Gladys dream job! Now Gladys must try to cover her first New York Standard assignment without getting caught. 

My Review

This was a delicious read for even the "pickiest eater." It has a strong theme of following your passion despite setbacks. I really liked how many obstacles Gladys had to face to write the review. I also enjoyed that it had many feelings that I think my tweens could relate to. For instance at the beginning of the story, Gladys does not have any friends and she feels like an outsider. When she starts to share her passion, she is able to find friends who share the same interests. It is the classic finding yourself book, but this gave Gladys Gatsby a wonderful character development with sweet humor that I think middle grade readers will flock to. I can't wait to recommend it to my food loving tweens. I know they will enjoy it as much as I did. 

Also, look for the sequel that comes out May 5, 2015!


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