Monday, June 8, 2009

Review: Dork Diaries

Summary: Dork Diaries follows eighth grader Nikki Maxwell as she chronicles through text and sketches her move to a snooty new school; her epic battle with her mom for an iPhone; her enthusiasm for drawing and art; and a love/hate fascination with the new school's queen bee, a girl named Mackenzie, who becomes Nikki's rival in a schoolwide art competition. Nikki writes about friendships, crushes, popularity, and family with a unique and fresh voice that still conveys a universal authenticity. Nikki's sketches throughout her diary add humor and spunk to the book, a surefire hit with tween girl readers. -- Aladdin

I can't believe how much I enjoyed the new middle grade book DORK DIARIES: TALES FROM A NOT-SO-FABULOUS LIFE by Rachel Renee Russell. I guess you could say I was pleasantly surprised by my reaction to this book -- basically, I didn't want to put it down. It was just so much fun to read, and I absolutely couldn't wait to hear what my nine year old daughter thought.

I just adored this book. I loved the character of Nikki and felt that almost all young girls are going to be able to relate to her. She has the "normal" middle school insecurities such as the desire to be popular, wondering who she can trust as a friend, and fear of being laughed at. It's been a long time since I was in eighth grade, but I could definitely relate to being the new girl in school -- it's very hard at that age!

While there were certainly times that I felt Nikki's pain, I'd say for the most part this book was a hoot! Nikki was a terrific character who had a great perspective on her life. I found myself laughing hysterically at her attempts to get an iPhone, and I also thought the scenes with her little sister to be fantastic. (Like Nikki, I had a sister who was a good bit younger.) And her parents....well, as a parent I probably shouldn't have thought they were so funny, but the way Nikki described their actions was hilarious. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I laughed out loud while reading this story.

Since DORK DIARIES is supposed to read like Nikki's actual diary, the book had a really cool format with interesting fonts and amazing illustrations. I loved the look of this book and thought that Nikki's drawings really enhanced the story and allowed the reader to better understand Nikki. Ms. Russell is not only a fantastic writer but also a terrific artist! The various pictures of Nikki's life were just adorable while also being extremely funny. DORK DIARIES is very easy to read with the font and pictures, and I think this book will appeal to even the most reluctant reader. I am sincerly hoping that it's going to be the first in a series. I definitely want to see more of Nikki and her family and friends.

I have a feeling that this book is going to be a big hit with middle grade girls. When my daughter took this book to school, the girls were all over it -- asking her questions like "where did you get it?," "how did you get it?," "can I borrow it?," etc. I think the cover alone will attract many young girls because it is just so cute.

I definitely recommend this book for any middle grade girl in your life, although I have to admit that I enjoyed it a great deal too! The messages in this book are fantastic -- ones that young girls need to hear over and over again. I like that the book focused on what's really important in our lives such as family and friends. This book also showed that it's normal to feel insecure at this age, but I'm hoping that young girls will see how Nikki coped and learn from her. In fact, my daughter thought Nikki was great and didn't understand why she thought she was a "dork." I jumped at this opportunity and told her that maybe some people would say the exact same thing about her! (I think it's sometimes easier to see things in others.) I also liked the message that girls who seem to have it all, sometimes don't; and that it does pay to be a nice girl and a good friend.

I wasn't surprised when Booking Daughter absolutely devoured this book. I don't think we saw her face the entire time she was reading DORK DIARIES because she had her nose buried in the pages. Here are some of her thoughts:

I liked DORK DIARIES because it was really made me laugh. It was kind of sad too in parts of the story, but it was still funny. I liked Nikki because she is really funny. I liked her drawings of the characters. I sometimes feel geeky and nerdy at school, so I understood how Nikki felt.

Thanks to Aladdin and The Picnic Basket for giving me the opportunity to review this book!

Make sure you stop by tomorrow because I will be posting a guest post from the author as well a very special giveaway!


ANovelMenagerie said...

Looks perfect for the twins. I hope the surprise is a good one tomorrow!

bermudaonion said...

The book sounds fantastic! I always marvel at authors who can remember exactly how it felt to be young. Great job Booking Daughter!

Jenn's Bookshelves said...

Looks like a great book for girls! I definitely would have wanted to read a book like that when I was that age! I tell you, they come out with much better things than I ever had as a young girl!

Anonymous said...

After I read the review and watched the video, I kept thinking, "This is like the Wimpy Kid for Girls." I called Mags in to see the trailer, and she said, "That kinda reminds me of the Wimpy Kid books... When can I get it?!" So it appears we'll be reading Dork Diaries sometime in the near-distant future. :-D

It does look cute ;-)

Anonymous said...


Thanks for sharing.

Carla said...

My daughter just found this book. She is 10 and is not a huge fan of reading despite being a great reader. At this point, she has read about a third of the book and cant put it down! Im so excited for her! She shares many characteristics of Nikki but she is an only child from a parent who is an only child... she feels misplaced and misunderstood sometimes as a result. She has been talking nonstop about the characters and the parts she shares with them.

Great job RRR! Im loving that you have my daughter loving this book! I didnt even have to ASK - she just grabbed it and started going....

Kathryn Brees said...

Good job with the book summary! I also enjoyed the book when I read it a little while back... :)