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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

It’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid for girls in this hilarious new novel! 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.…

Overall Book Review:

Dork Diaries:  Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Racehl Renee Russell is a doodle diary styled after Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but aimed firmly at girls.  This book targets an elementary grade audience, but is about the middle-school scene.  It is the first book in a wildly popular series that has hit the New York Times Best Seller list.

The book is a journal/diary of Nikki and covers her first month attending a new exclusive private middle school on scholarship.  The typeset is Skippy Sharp so it looks like it has been handwritten and it is liberally illustrated with Nikki’s drawings and an alarming number of smiley faces and exclamation marks.  Nikki as an individual is materialistic, self-centered, hypocritical, shallow, and not a very loyal friend.  Unfortunately, she doesn’t grow much as a person, but then again, it is only one month.  The plot line is predicatable and thin because the emphasis is on the format of this book rather than the content.

As a lover of middle grade fiction, I just couldn’t find anything to love in this book.  It was hard going and took me four weeks and a lot of determination to complete.  However, talking to a young relative she said she loved it because it was written from a kids’ perspective.  (If Nikki represents a typical kid’s perspective, then I am seriously concerned.)  This is a popular series and the format seems to be irresistible to kids so although there isn’t any substance there, it will continue to be gobbled up by eager young readers.


Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language:  1 derogatory name

Note:  There are several times that the abreviation “OMG” is used and a few times when “#@$%&!” is written.

Violence/Gore:  A character bites another character; a character kicks another character.

Sex/Nudity:  There is a reference to celebrities not wearing underwear.

Mature Subject Matter:

None

Alcohol / Drug Use:

None

Overall Book Rating
Profanity/Language
Rating:
3
10
Violence/Gore
Rating:
1
10
Sex/Nudity
Rating:
1
10

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About the Reviewer

An accountant and CPA by profession, I found myself a book reviewer for Squeaky Clean Reads by happenstance. When the opportunity came to transform that website into Compass Book Ratings, I was excited to seize it and meld my business background with my love of books. As the mother of three teenage sons, I have read a large number of children and young adult books and I believe that there is great value in a content review service. As much as we would love to read everything our children read, there just isn’t enough time. I also appreciate being able to select books for myself that are really worth my precious and limited reading time. I believe there is a book out there for everyone–they just have to find it!