In full honesty and transparency I was a little excited to receive Dork Diaries: Tales from a NOT-SO-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell for review. This author certainly knows how to promote herself. First the book arrived in a box, not an envelope. With tissue. Yes, tissue. Inside the tissue was a really cute pink purse with the book sitting in the pocket. Not only that but fun little goodies like fingernail polish, chap stick, breath mints, gum, perfume, a fun pen and more. Seriously, if you are a book reviewer and were pitched this book and passed on it, then you missed out on one of the most brilliant marketing plans ever. And so it is with extreme guilt that I didn’t get this review posted in a more timely fashion. What can I say? I’ve been to busy enjoying my flavored chap stick.
And yes, I post this despite the way that it sounds. That my good review was “bought.” Certainly not. But I must admit that if the author makes such a fuss over her book and packages it in such away that I know she knows it’s a special book, then I can’t help but think that this book is special. And guess what? It certainly feels that way.
The only thing that eighth grader Nikki Maxwell wants is a cell phone. It would certainly help her fit in better at her new snooty school (which she’s attending on scholarship because her dad got the bug extermination contract – just picture what it’s like to get picked up from school with a large roach on top of the car) but what she gets instead is a diary.
One stupid diary.
Absolutely no one writes their most intimate feelings and deep, dark secrets in a diary anymore! Why?!
Because just one or two people knowing all your BIZ could completely ruin your reputation.
You’re supposed to post this kind of juicy stuff online in your BLOG so MILLIONS can read it!!
Only a total dork would be caught WRITING in a DIARY!!!
Yep, this book totally had me from less than eight quick pages in. But despite swearing to never write in the diary, she does. Nikki, like many other middle-schoolers, has a lot to worry about. She’s new. Invisible. Desperate to make friends and not embarrass herself in the process.
Nikki loves to draw and fills her diary with really fun illustrations. The school has a art competition and Nikki really wants to win but that means rivaling the school’s most popular girl Mackenzie who has it out to “get her.” There was a scene at the end of the book between Nikki and McKenzie that had me laughing out loud. In fact, there were many laugh out loud moments. It was funny, cute, and yet touched upon so many worries that young tweens fret about.
I can’t help but compare Dork Diaries to Diary of a Wimpy Kid (my reviews of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Rodrick Rules, The Last Straw), and it’s a comparison that was offered up to me by the author itself. I loved Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Dork Diaries is certainly within the same vein. Not to say that it’s not original. That’s the beauty of it. Coming off of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid wave, I didn’t possibly think that Dork Diaries could be original. But it is. Very much so.
This book trailer will give you a good idea of how spunky Nikki is:
I highly recommend it tween girls and middle-schoolers (although this thirty-year-old can’t wait for the next book). A friend of mine just asked me if I had heard of this book and if she should order it for her middle school library. Yes. Absolutely yes. They’ll love it.
Links of interest: Dork Diaries website and blog.
Genre: Juvenile Fiction, approx age 9-12.
Publisher: Aladdin. June 2, 2009.
Hardcover, 288 pages. ISBN: 1416980067
Dork Diaries is available from your favorite independent bookstore, Powell’s, and Amazon.