Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Tara Dairman's THE STARS OF SUMMER blog tour by Michael Gettel-Gilmartin

Blog Tour button designed by Kristin Rae
Hooray, Project Mayhem is last stop on Tara Dairman's The Stars of Summer Blog Tour. I've known Tara since we were both finalists on Miss Snark's First Victim's Baker's Dozen auction back in 2011. Tara was snapped up by agent Ammi-Joan Paquette, and had a book deal before the summer was out. Her debut, All Four Stars, pubbed in 2014 and was a smashing success. (I blogged about it--complete with an interview with Tara--HERE.)

Now Book 2 is out, and dare I say it, I think it's even better--which is saying something! Gladys Gatsby, 12-year-old food critic for the New York Standard, is trying to keep her job a secret from her parents, as well as surviving her friend Charissa's summer camp. There is a great new character in the ensemble, Hamilton Herbertson, a middle grade novelist who is an actual middle schooler, and gloriously pompous to boot. There are some great, great scenes--Hamilton and Gladys struggling with their swim tests; Gladys eating her way through New York's hot dog stands, and subsequently vomiting on her nemesis Gilbert Gadfly's shoes; an award ceremony in which Hamilton thinks he's a shoo-in; and Gilbert Gadfly's delicious final comeuppance.

It's hard to get a grizzled old Middle Grade Mafioso to laugh. (Tears are a different story. I'm getting much more lachrymose in my old age, when I think of the vicissitudes of life.) But reading The Stars of Summer, I laughed a lot. Knowing, as I do, how much kids this age are into cooking shows, I'm betting that Tara has another hit on her hands.

Tara kindly answered my questions--and here they are:

1) Have you ever floundered about and failed a swimming test?

Absolutely. My parents made me take swimming lessons every summer at the community pool, and I was terrible at them. I remember failing and needing to repeat several levels. Also, the college I went to had a swimming test as a graduation requirement, which I took my freshman year--just one length of the pool, but I was so nervous. So I definitely had a lot of real-life swimming-test angst to draw on when writing those scenes in THE STARS OF SUMMER. Ironically, now, I really enjoy swimming!

2) Have you ever been to an awards ceremony? [If so, I presume not in a blazing red flamenco dress.]

I've never been to a fancy televised awards ceremony, but a good friend of mine went to the Emmys several times with her TV-writer boyfriend when we were in our 20s, so I'd heard all about the experience from her.

3) Have you ever eaten a Gatsby sandwich?

You know, the Gatsby is the one hot dog in the book that I actually haven't eaten myself. I've been to South Africa and remember seeing Gatsby stands all over Cape Town, but I never actually tried one. I kick myself for that now. I've had some other dishes that combine hot dogs and French fries, though, like this Bolivian dish (picture below) with sausage, fries, tomato, and hard-boiled egg. Delicious. 


Tara is a great writer, a foodie, and a world traveler. You can find her on her website, on Twitter: @TaraDairman or on Facebook.

Congrats to Tara for all she's accomplished. And there will be a Book 3, coming in spring 2016. I can't wait!


  1. I LOVED All Four Stars and hope to get to this book very, very soon. I can't wait to find out what a Gatsby hot dog is. I Googled it and couldn't find anything. Thanks for the post.

  2. A foodie after my own heart. Loved Gladys. Thanks for the photo of a Gatsby, it sure looks interesting!

  3. I'm so excited to read this book! I know the first one got me curious about all sorts of interesting foods. And I'm so excited there's going to be a Gladys 3!! Yay Tara!!

  4. So excited about reading this book! I really enjoyed All Four Stars!

  5. So excited about reading this book! I really enjoyed All Four Stars!


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!