Shine! by J.J. and Chris Grabenstein is a juvenile fiction novel for 4-6th graders.
Piper Milly has a talent for blending in. She can’t sing or dance, she doesn’t excel at sports or hangs with the popular crowd. She’s smart, she likes astronomy and she’s happy with her small group of friends. So when her dad get’s a new job at a prestigious prep school, Piper is bummed that she has to transfer.
Chumley Prep is definitely a school for the rich and Piper definitely doesn’t fit in. Shortly after she joins the school, she finds out that a mysterious award will be awarded to the “best” student of winter break. Piper shrugs off the contest because she would never win that sort of thing, or would she?
I love Grabenstein’s books. The children are always so relateable and the books themselves are fun and easy to read. Shine! was no different. This was an inspirational read with the theme of kindness, doing good and being good.
I love when we get a group of misfit friends that band together, each with their own unique character traits. I also thought it was really smart to have Piper’s “who I want to be” diary, throughout the novel. This gave a bit of introspection to Piper’s character.
The only negative thing I can say about this book, was that you knew where it was going from the very beginning. The “tests” were obvious from the readers perspective, even if they weren’t from the characters perspective. That and the book ended so abruptly. I would have liked to have a Piper/Ainsley moment, or at least some type of epilogue.
Other than that, this was a great read and I am going to use it for my 4-6th grade STEM Book Club. While it isn’t overtly STEM, there are a lot of STEM elements and I have two good ideas for activities to go with the story. This one gets 4.5 stars from me.
That’s all for now!