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4.22  ·  Rating details ·  862 ratings  ·  191 reviews
Who do you want to be? asks Mr. Van Deusen. And not when you grow up. Right here, right now. Shine on! might be the catchphrase of twelve-year-old Piper's hero--astronaut, astronomer, and television host Nellie Dumont Frisse--but Piper knows the truth: some people are born to shine, and she's just not one of them. That fact has never been clearer than now, since her dad's ...more
Hardcover, 224 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by Random House Books for Young Readers
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Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  862 ratings  ·  191 reviews

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Stephanie Fitzgerald
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Middle-grade readers and teachers
Wow...just, wow. A book that teaches about compassion for others without being a bit preachy! I would highly recommend this book for every middle-grade classroom.

Memorable Quotes:
(Pg.51)-“Is that really who you want to be, Ainsley?”

(Pg.203)-“The brightest stars don’t just shine for themselves.”
Sheila Beaumont
This is a wonderful book, set in a private middle school, that definitely has a message (be true to yourself, and character and kindness are more important than blind ambition and achievement) but successfully avoids didacticism. It will appeal especially to elementary school kids who are interested in science.
Ms. Yingling
E ARC provided by Netgalley

Piper Milly and her father live on the east coast, where her father teaches music at a local middle school in order to give her more stability than his dream job of writing Broadway musicals, since her mother died when she was three. Piper is interested in space and is a big fan of the scientist and personality Nellie Dumont Frisse, and she's trying to decide who she wants to be as a person. When her father takes a better paying job at Chumley Prep, where her cello pro
Melanie Dulaney
Chris Grabenstein has been making this librarian and her students laugh for a number of years with his own books and those he co-authors with James Patterson. His Lemoncello's Library books are creative, action-packed and a huge hit with fans of children's lit. And now he and his wife have written something completely different that further cements my opinion that Chris is a tremendously gifted author. "Shine" is that kind of feel-good book that clearly promotes the needed messages of kindness a ...more
Shaye Miller
Dec 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: overdrive
This book really did my heart some good, this week. I wasn't sure what to expect, based solely on that cover. But was easily a 5-star ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ rating from me! It was engaging and everything I hope for from a middle grade novel.

After her father is offered a new music teaching job, twelve-year-old Piper will be enrolled at Chumley Prep school where she'll wear school uniforms and rub shoulders with rich kids. As it turns out, kids of all walks attend Chumley and she quickly finds her niche. This year
SHINE! is an absolutely beautiful story about deciding who you want to be, kindness, and finding your own path. Piper Milly is the daughter of an aspiring musician who dreams of writing and producing his own musical but teaches middle school choir to make ends meet. After his a capella group wins a big competition, he is offered a newly vacated job at the fancy private school, Chumley Prep. As part of the deal, he gets free tuition for Piper, which he eagerly accepts.

Piper is not sure how she fe
Jessica Robbins
*I received a free copy of this book which I voluntarily chose to write an honest review for.

What a great book this is! Piper is a seventh grader that lives with her dad who works as a music teacher. After his team won a huge competition he is recruited to work at an expensive private school with a perk of free tuition for Piper. Fitting in maybe easier said than done. Perfect setting for middle school age with appropriate events all revolving around being a good person. I really liked it so I g
Feb 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great read! I’m recommending this for a read aloud for sure! I love Piper’s character, and while I could predict the ending, I think there are some really great talking points that students and teachers could have together!
Katie Reilley
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to the authors and Random House Kids for providing the #bookexpedition group an ARC of Shine! to read and share.

Because of her dad’s job, Piper has to move (mid-school year) to a new private school. There, she becomes a target for the school’s richest star-student, and Piper wonders how she’ll survive. Luckily she meets a great group of misfits and has an amazing Science teacher that help her feel a little more comfortable.

When a contest centered around excellence is announced at her
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was so sweet and kind. The main character Piper moves to a new private school where she has to learn to fit in. Through interesting characters, the main themes of friendship and being true to oneself shine through. This is a great read for upper elementary or even a quick read for middle school. Themes can be discussed in literature circles or around the dinner table.
Jan 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are those times when a book geared towards a young population are more powerful than books aimed at "adulting." I love the TV show "what would you do?" as I see the people in greatest need or those hurting the most, are usually the ones who also sacrifice the most to help others succeed, or to not take advantage of them. So many people believe that people on welfare are all out to take advantage of others, when in reality if people truly get to know them, they are often the most giving peo ...more
Rick Stuckwisch
Oct 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
We've enjoyed Chris Grabenstein's Mr. Lemoncello series, and this stand-alone book by Chris and his wife, J.J., was even better. The story and writing reminded me of Lisa Graff and Polly Horvath, two of our favorite authors of children's literature. The characters are realistic and interesting, and the story was simple and down-to-earth without being simplistic or silly. It engages the challenges of navigating a new school and developing friendships, along with discovering one's own place in it ...more
Nikhil L F1
Oct 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has been a long time since I have last read a realistic fiction book. I found this book in my recommendations because of how many Chris Grabenstein books I have read. The main story of the book is about how a kid named Piper coped with all the problems of moving to a new school. The only reason why I haven't given this book 5 stars is because it didn't have action like previous books by Chris Grabenstein. This book was a lot more slow-paced and didn't hook me as much. Even so, I still think t ...more
Karla Dofflemyer
I listened to this in the car with the kids and it was such a great message! I LOVED this book and so did they!
Feb 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVED THIS BOOK! What a great story for kids - and adults! (Don't want to spoil it, but everyone should read this book). Recommended by my friend (and our current librarian). This is a definite for "One book, One school." ...more
Nyah Pelke
Apr 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely love Chris Grabenstein and his books, and this one is no different. Piper is someone who you would expect to find in your average middle school, and is someone all readers will be able to relate to. If you haven't read this book, you are in for a treat! Be sure to check out his series, Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library! ...more
Jun 08, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: j, not-graphic, life
A feel-good journey of self-discovery for middle-grade readers. Not too light or saccharine, a bit of humor, an appealing protagonist, and real issues readers are sure to relate to.
I’m happy I received an ARC of this middle grade book from the publisher at BEA 2019. This first outing by JJ Grabenstein co-authoring with his wife did not disappoint. 12 year old Piper is now going to a prestigious school because her dad has been hired as the music teacher, but she doesn’t see herself as talented or as rich as the other kids. However, she has a passion for space and astronomy. Piper does make friends at her new school, but finds challenges around every corner. Now the school h ...more
Feb 01, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fish out of water story about a girl who doesn't expect to fit in at her new private school but instead finds true friendships and discovers that being great doesn't always mean winning. ...more
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great reminder that you don't have to be a superstar to shine. Being true to yourself and to your friends is what really matters. ...more
Jan 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book one in the #bitaboutbooks winter reading challenge complete! Adored Piper & the message of compassion, acceptance, & staying true to yourself- all within a story that doesn’t feel preachy. Thanks to Axis360 for access to the audiobook of Shine!
Jordan Caldwell
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book should be required reading for ALL middle school students. I cried at the end. I had a feeling that it was going to play out a certain way, and I’m SO glad I was right. This book is brilliant in every way. Not only does it showcase the power that one child has to make a difference, our MC, Piper, was into science and astronomy. I LOVE middle grades books with female characters that like science. We need more books like this. I found myself highlighting so many quotes that I can’t wait ...more
Cindy Mitchell *Kiss the Book*
Shine by J.J and Chris Grabenstein, 207 pages. Random House, 2019. $17

Content: G



Piper Milly is a 7th grader and her dad is a choir director at her school. After the midwinter concert, which her dad's choir wins, he is offered a job at a a most prestigious private school., Chumley Prep. His job also comes with free tuition for Piper. Piper is nervous about leaving her friends and her school. She has met some of the students for her new scho
Terry Maguire
Beautiful middle grade read about finding ways to shine that aren't about being in the limelight or winning awards. This touching novel celebrates acts of kindness that usually go unseen. Told through Piper's warm and candid voice, the reader enters the world of elite Chumsley Prep, where Piper's father has accepted a position as a music director, allowing Piper to attend for free. Piper has to contend with Ainsley, one of the most competitive students in the school, who things nothing of belitt ...more
May 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
DISCLAIMER: I received a digital review copy of SHINE! via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

3.5 stars

I haven’t read a Chris Grabenstein book since ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO’S LIBRARY and I’ve kind of lost interest in that series. So, while I was lowkey anticipating this book, I was a little worried that I wouldn’t enjoy it.

I very much did enjoy it.

It was predictable, but I really enjoyed the overall message of it.

Perfect for fans of Nickelodeon’s VICTORIOUS and Beth Vrabel’s PACK OF DO
Paige Green
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. Thanks! All opinions are my own.

Author: JJ and Chris Grabenstein

Book Series: Standalone

Rating: 5/5

Publication Date: November 5, 2019

Publisher: Random House

Recommended Age: 10+ (bullying)

Synopsis: "Who do you want to be?" asks Mr. Van Deusen. "And not when you grow up. Right here, right now."

Shine on! might be the catchphrase of twelve-year-old Piper's hero--astronaut, astronomer, and television host Nellie Dumont Frisse--but Piper knows the t
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
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 sh
This one was a 3.5 for me, and I fell in love with Piper Milly. I would expect many middle graders will be able to relate to how she has always lived in the shadow of her mother and others who seem more talented than she is. But as Piper and the book's readers discover, there are many ways for someone to stand out and shine, and sometimes just taking the time to notice and help others is more than enough. I won't lie: I was worried for Piper when her father took a job at Chumley Prep, an exclusi ...more
Piper Milly and her father are a team. Ever since Piper's immensely talented mother died, she and her father have supported each other's passions and, when Piper's dad is offered a teaching position at Chumley Prep, she's happy for him. Yet, silently she is aching because she has to leave her friends and school behind and attend Chumley Prep. A school for a millionaires' children who are privileged, advantaged, and sometimes snooty, Chumley Prep is also the school where Piper's mot ...more
Jan 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-9-12-picks
Though Piper Milly thinks she’s ordinary, her choices prove she’s anything but in “Shine,” a heartfelt novel by J.J and Chris Grabenstein, a husband-wife writing team.
Piper’s middle school experiences and friends change when her father Marcus Milly gets a new job as music teacher at Chumley Prep, a prestigious school.
Piper can’t carry a tune in a bucket—her claim to fame is astronomy and science, in which she excels. She dreads her move to Chumley and the adjustment it’s going to be, but she lo
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