The Stepmom Shake-Up by Niki Lenz ★★★★★ #BookReview #BookBlog

Primary Genre(s): Middle Grade, Fiction
Published: 16 June 2020 by Random House Children’s
Page count: 288 (print length)
My Format: eBook via NetGalley
Cover: Fun
Pacing: Great
Ending: Great
Do I Recommend: Yes
Commission Link (U.S.): Buy The Stepmom Shake-Up

My rating: ★★★★★

After Grace’s mom died, she and her dad grew extra close. They have special nicknames and are always busy with new projects-like building a puppy condo for their dog, Potus- and they love learning random facts about the US presidents. Grace thinks her little family of two is perfect.

Then some committee members at church suggest it’s time for Dad to start dating again. And Dad agrees! Grace knows that adding a new member to the team will end in disaster.

No problem! She and her best friend have a plan: Operation Stepmom Shake-Up! But what if a little shake-up is exactly what Grace’s family needs?

My Thoughts
My stepson was a single Dad to his daughter for a few years. They were quite the dynamic duo! This book piqued my interest because my granddaughter, while younger at the time than the girl in this book, also struggled a bit with the idea of a stepmom. While she eventually came around and ended up with a wonderful stepmom, I wish this book was available back then for her to read. But I’m glad it is here now for new children to read. Here are my pros and cons for The Stepmom Shake-Up:


  1. The girl is Grace, the dad is Davy – they call themselves Team Gravy! How cute is that?!
  2. Grace is a history nut. I loved that! There are random history facts in the story, particularly Presidential trivia, so you just might learn something! Grace and her Dad even cosplay Teddy and Alice Roosevelt!
  3. This is a Missouri book! There are a lot of Missouri references to cities, events, etc. I live in Missouri (and I discovered the author lives in Missouri, too) so I really enjoyed that! Plus, that made me feel an even stronger connection to my stepson and granddaughter since they are Missourians, also.
  4. This book is full of corny Dad jokes. Some are hilarious, some are groaners, but all are fun!
  5. Grace and her friend pull some innocent pranks on Dad’s dates to try to deter them from sticking around. The pranks were humorous and generally harmless, but I loved that Dad didn’t just ignore Grace’s misbehavior and used the situations as teaching moments for Grace to understand she was not behaving properly.
  6. The relationship between Grace and her Dad was really great. They were a good team and throughout the story they both learned to listen and appreciate the other’s point of view about a new person in their lives. Communication is always key and I felt like this book reinforced that well.
  7. There is a side story with Grace’s friend Bea that is also great. I’ll just say that Bea’s home life is going through some extreme changes also. I appreciated that the book depicted two types of family changes that can have emotional and psychological impacts on children. And I loved that the parents were instrumental in helping both girls understand and get through the changes successfully.

None. I truly enjoyed it.

Stepmothers are never portrayed positively in Disney movies and I believe that definitely influences how children think of them! This book is the antidote to that! I mentioned earlier that I wished this book was available when my granddaughter was going through the uncertainty and mixed emotions of having a stepmom. I remember telling her that her Dad would never pick someone to marry if he wasn’t positive she be a great stepmom for her. I think she knew that somewhere deep down, but that is hard to understand as a child and change is always scary! If you (or someone you know) are going through something similar, you might want to consider this fun, heartfelt book. It might help the parent and the child understand and cope with the upcoming changes.

Thank you NetGalley and Random House Children’s for providing an ebook, which I have reviewed honestly and voluntarily.

If you would like to read this book and form your own opinion, please consider purchasing through this link: Buy The Stepmom Shake-Up. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no extra cost to you. Thanks!

Click here for a description of my rating scale.

(image from Goodreads)

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