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Carmen Dives In: Star Sisterz    by Linda Johns order for
Carmen Dives In
by Linda Johns
Order:  USA  Can
Wizards of the Coast, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Linda Johns' Carmen Dives In, the second book in the new middle-readers Star Sisterz series, is a fun and breezy romp through the first angst-filled weeks of high school. Carmen Bernstein thinks she has it rough: she is about to start high school and her dad and his new family have just moved into town. Not really one for speaking her mind out loud, Carmen creates a blog of all her woes.

Even though she keeps her identity secret, Carmen's blog becomes the most talked about topic at school, causing an inadvertent processed cheese fad. That she is a trend-setter never registers with Carmen, who constantly worries about a strange message on her dad's hand-held computer: 'Make up a cheer using the words dive, goat, and processed cheese.' Not only is processed cheese everywhere, but her step-brother is always talking about the cool skateboard gear from a brand called Goat, and everyone is urging her to join the swim team even though she is scared to dive. And why would Carmen make up a cheer anyway? She has no regard for her cheerleader step-sister and the rest of the squad. As Carmen strives to make her mark in journalism through her blog and the school newspaper, she uncovers a lot of truths about her new step-family and herself, which finally enable her to dive in.

Like the first episode, this one conveys a myriad of positive messages through a character to whom most readers can relate. Still hanging out with her middle school friends, Carmen has difficulty in adjusting to her changing life. She also has a tendency to stereotype others. Once she realizes this, Carmen begins to understand that she herself is the biggest obstacle to her quest to fit in with her new family and to do the one thing (besides writing) that she wants to do join the swim team! Even though this is the second in the series, you don't need to read Nova Rocks! to understand the story. Each character featured in Star Sisterz has different interests (so far, Nova is into music and Carmen's keen on journalism and swimming). Readers can start anywhere in the series; however, be warned: once you read one, you will want to read them all!

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