Monday, January 21, 2019

ELIZA BING IS (NOT) A STAR by Carmella Van Vleet

This story about a girl with ADHD and her struggles with friendship is a great read! I might be a little bit biased on this one since Carmella is one of my critique partners and I had the chance to read this book in draft form, long before it was published. But Eliza is such an engaging character I was so glad to get a chance to read more about her!

Description from the publisher...

How will Eliza make it through the sixth grade? Her ADHD tends to complicate things. . . .

Eliza Bing stuck with taekwondo and earned her yellow belt even though her family expected her to quit. She’s tough enough to break boards with her bare hands! Next up: middle school, and hopefully a best friend. The school play turns out to be the perfect opportunity to befriend confident, stage-obsessed Annie. But can their friendship survive the spotlight?

The joys and sorrows of middle school come to life in this funny and heartfelt sequel to Eliza Bing Is (NOT) a Big, Fat Quitter, recipient of the Christopher Award and four child-voted state award nominations.

Eliza Bing is (Not) a Star, written by Carmella Van Vleet, was published by Holiday House in 2018.

Why you want to read this book… 

It’s a story about determination and friendship. Eliza is a great character with lots of personality. I really liked how she worked so hard to achieve her goals in taekwondo and how she gradually came to enjoy performing. Eliza’s parents and brother are part of the story too (no dead or banished parents in this story) as well as the family dog.


Master Kim once said a good martial artist focuses his or her mind on the lesson at all times. But a million cupcakes says he’s never sat through Mr. Roddel’s lab safety lecture. Sorting socks would be more exciting.

If you’re a writer… 

This is a great novel to read if you’re studying voice or character. Eliza has a definite personality.

I didn’t understand how punching slowly in the air would help me break my board. All I knew was that my gold-belt test was in less than three weeks and I wasn’t sure if I had a fire in my belly or a swarm of butterflies.

If you’re an educator…

It’s so refreshing to read a story where a character with a medical condition is shown as they navigate their life, rather than a story that is focused on the condition. Eliza has a lot of issues with her friends and friendships, and I think many kids will be able to connect with this character as she tries to cope with changes in her friendship and learns about herself along the way. A great book for a middle grade book club!

Mom liked to say you should try a decision on for size like a coat. That way you can walk around in it for a bit and see how it feels.

If you’re looking for more to read, check out the list of fabulous middle grade books over at Marvelous Middle Grade Monday on Greg Pattridge's blog.


  1. I read Eliza Bing is (Not) a Big Fat Quitter and enjoyed it thoroughly. Thanks for the heads up on the newest. I'll be looking forward to reading it this year.

  2. My kind of story. I like sharing positive stories like Eliza's. Showing Eliza's abilities as she navigates middle school is what readers want to hear about -- especially if they identify with the character. Both books sound excellent!

  3. My grandson has ADHD so I can relate to this character. You make the book sound very enticing. I will look for it. Thanks for the review.


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