Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell

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Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell

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Category: Confident Readers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: John Lloyd
Reviewed by John Lloyd
Summary: A Cinderella-styled plot for a new female diarist, that opens up an obvious yet enjoyable franchise for the young female audience.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: February 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Books
ISBN: 978-1847387417

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I do like a blurb to be accurate. So when I saw the back cover of this book state the obvious to me, Diary of a Wimpy Kid for girls!, I could rest assured. I didn't relax fully, however, for I'd read the blue one of those and found it a bit feeble, and the yellow one and found it a bit fabulous, so I couldn't guarantee any feminine, pink variant would be worth my time.

However to some extent it was. It's not a book that's completely easy for the adult to review, when he will find flaws in several factors, and will be at some remove to what the target audience will feel about it. But it's still fresh enough and enjoyable enough for some diversion.

If you've not encountered the original style of Jeff Kinney, then this alternative is close to it. It's a novel both written as a diary and presented as such, with hand-written font, guide-lines for the hand-writing, and illustrative cartoons. The style of these is different here, with thick and thin lines to create a more artistic effort than the blunt pen sketches of the lads' side of things, and the comedic delivery of them is different.

The adult reader will find this does not open as strongly as it might, and the narrator, Nikki, a little bland and average. But when we get into the swing of things and see this as a Cinderella rewrite for the modern age, we can see where we're headed. There is a dashing prince, the hunk of the school who seems unattainable; a wicked stepsister in the shape of the prissy princess making Nikki's school life so horrid; and the ball is both acceptance in school and success at an art competition.

To my eyes having Tyra Banks as a fairy godmother by proxy, and the initial quandary for Nikki being a vain lusting after a new iPhone, is a little bland. This is probably the only American diary to have a 9/11 anniversary in without mentioning either it or the soon-following Friday 13th. But more importantly the few weeks we cover here are able to provide enough of an interesting plotline, with realistic ups and downs, some good comic content, and a breezy and engaging read for the right audience.

I've said before the Wimpy Kid books could be ideal for the reluctant reader, if not exactly the thing one savours on one's shelves for many years. The same is the case here, for the design and rapid page-turning provided by the spacious font and layout makes the sense of achievement on a par with the enjoyment at having finished such a title.

I have no doubt this will only be the first book in a series - and I'm quite certain this will have the success to justify further volumes. There is a nice touch with cameo appearances, and although we've seen some of it before (the dad's cause of embarrassment being a bug remover van replete with giant roach on the roof), there is enough to keep the very un-dorkish reader occupied. They'll find more in Nikki's clumsy clothing purchases, the misdelivered party invites, and the cuddly refuge in the stinky janitor's cupboard than I did, and will be looking to book two with some eagerness.

I must thank Simon and Schuster for my review copy.

Readers who enjoyed this would also love another new series, starting with The Great Hamster Massacre by Katie Davies.

This book and the sequel are available in one volume.

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Buy Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell at

Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell in Chronological Order


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