Eliza Bing Is (Not) a Star

256p. Holiday House. Sept. 2018. Tr $15.99. ISBN 9780823440245.
Gr 3–6—Now that Eliza Bing has tae kwon do under her belt, she just might be ready to tackle middle school. Starting the school year without her best friend sets off Eliza's panic buttons and her ADHD, but she is determined to start off on the right foot. She's hopeful when she finds a new friend, Annie, with whom she is working on a "Rules to Surviving Sixth Grade" list (number four is "Don't get on Zoe Goldberg's bad side."). When a biology safety presentation goes horribly wrong, Eliza earns a new embarrassing nickname and is the laughing stock of her grade. She's worried her social faux pas will endanger her friendship with Annie, so she puts "Operation BFF" into play. Step one involves participating in the things Annie values most, even if it means trying out for the school play. Being involved in theater brings more drama than Eliza planned for, and she has to contend with her jealousy over Annie's friendship with know-it-all Paige. Readers will root for Eliza as she navigates middle school, while facing recognizable family, friend, and school stressors.
VERDICT Most kids will recognize themselves in Eliza's insecurities and will applaud as she strives to control circumstances that aren't always within her power to control. Purchase where there are fans of the first book, Eliza Bing Is (Not) a Big Fat Quitter, and for libraries in need of light, accessible realism.

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