Dork Diaries: Tales from a NOT-SO-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell

dork-diariesIn 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 RulesThe Last Straw), and it’s a comparison that was offered up to me by the author itself.  I loved Diary of a Wimpy KidDork 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.

27 comments


  1. Question: Does the book sell with all the stuff you got as a book reviewer? I was thinking my niece would love it packaged this way.

    on August 26th, 2009 at 9:47 am
  2. Nikole – Unfortunately no. In this case, it was a marketing tactic but what a fun idea on selling point. But it would be a great idea to package it as a gift that way. Pick up a fairly inexpensive purse with little goodies to wrap it all in.

    on August 26th, 2009 at 9:54 am
  3. Hmm. I didn’t get offered the book for review, and I do have a tween daughter. But I’m not bitter. Seriously, I LOVE those little touches.

    And I do think that I’ll look into this for my tween. It does sound right up her alley.

    on August 26th, 2009 at 9:55 am
  4. These books sound like so much fun – almost makes me wish I had someone to share them with.

    on August 26th, 2009 at 10:24 am
  5. Sounds like a fun book! And a fun package. If I had tween girls on my gifting list, I’d definitely at least consider this, and packaging it with all the goodies.

    on August 26th, 2009 at 11:33 am
  6. Sounds cute! And you’re right, you could totally jazz it up the same way, yourself, to give it as a gift.

    on August 26th, 2009 at 12:21 pm
  7. Sounds like a good Christmas gift for my niece. Thanks!

    on August 26th, 2009 at 1:25 pm
  8. I wonder if it would be way too girly for my son to enjoy. He loved “Wimpy Kid,” but is a 7th grader….pink books would have to stay at home. :)

    Elizabeth
    Mystery Writing is Murder

    on August 26th, 2009 at 2:13 pm
  9. That trailer was pretty cute.

    on August 26th, 2009 at 3:32 pm
  10. I don’t know who enjoyed this book more — me or my daughter! I can’t wait for more DORK DIARIES!

    on August 26th, 2009 at 7:16 pm
  11. Natasha, thanks for recommending this one. I was a little hesitant to get a book for my school that I had not read, but I trust your judgement and cannot wait to read this, but I already gave my copy away.

    I will have to get another one.

    on August 26th, 2009 at 9:39 pm
  12. I love the trailer–it’s adorable!

    As a journalist I used to kind of sneer at marketing gimmicks, but I’ve come to appreciate the truly creative ones. It just shows that a little extra thought has gone into sending out the book, and they certainly are attention-grabbing.

    Great review!

    on August 27th, 2009 at 9:50 am
  13. I MUST get this for my almost 10 year old!!! We literally burned thru all of the Dear Dumb Diary books, and this seems like the next logical step up! What a GREAT review!

    on August 27th, 2009 at 12:03 pm
  14. Note to self: Get tissue.
    I’m so excited for this book now! Thanks for the rec

    on August 27th, 2009 at 8:09 pm
  15. Gotta love a snappy marketing scheme!

    I was also worried that this was going to be a bad Diary of a Wimpy Kid knock-off (I love Jeff Kinney’s series!). I am so relieved to read your review!! I may have to pick this one up as a *ahem* gift.

    Great review!

    on September 1st, 2009 at 2:47 pm
  16. Just a follow up — 11 year old 6th grade reader approved! She loved it (My name is linked directly to my personal blog where I wrote about it).

    on September 3rd, 2009 at 7:53 am
  17. Wow. My 12 y/o writes and draws in her diary–she’d love (make that LOVE LOVE LOVE) this book. Thanks for letting me know about it.

    on September 18th, 2009 at 8:25 am
  18. [...] Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell [...]

    on November 16th, 2009 at 3:03 am
  19. Looks kind of like a Wimpy Kid rip off. That and it also reminds me of one of thoose retarded Disney Channel “comedies”. It also reminds me of Dear Dumb Diary, which my daughter HATED!!! She’s a bit of a tomboy, maybe that’s the reason she prefers Wimpy Kid (which I also love). Still, looks dumb, but we’ll try it out.

    on April 10th, 2010 at 5:17 pm
  20. [...] of interest: Dork Diaries website and blog.  Maw Books review of Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life, more book blogger reviews. Genre: Middle Grade Fiction, approx ages 9-12. Publisher: Aladdin. June [...]

    on August 31st, 2010 at 4:02 am
  21. [...] Tales for a Not-So-Popular Party Girl by Rachel Renee Russell is a very fun sequel to the cute Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life. If you recall my review of the first book, I loved it.  I thought it was so much fun and highly [...]

    on September 1st, 2010 at 6:06 am
  22. i hate this freaking book

    on September 10th, 2010 at 2:30 pm
  23. Reading it now, but it reminds of, of, of Diary of a Wimpy Kid!!! WHAT THE HELL! EVERYTHING IS ALMOST THE SAME!!!!!!! JUST A DIFFERENT NAME! THATS ALL! JEEZ!

    on December 14th, 2010 at 12:19 am
  24. OMG I LOVE YOUR BOOKS SO MUCH CAUSE I AM A BIG
    FAN I WANT YOU TO WRITE MORE BOOKS AND HAVE ALOT
    OF FANS

    HOPE YOU HAVE FUN WITH IT.

    LOVE,
    VERONICA

    on December 23rd, 2010 at 2:40 pm
  25. i love your books you have to make more they are funny. i love the lalala im lalala so lalala happy and also i like that you put in the book that she has a crush on brandon.

    on June 1st, 2011 at 8:00 pm
  26. I loved the book and cute little trailer

    on July 22nd, 2011 at 7:26 am
  27. i love your books so much i cant wait for the next one love it

    on October 7th, 2011 at 5:36 am

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