Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee Russell - Review & Giveaway!

I don’t want to compare Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life to Diary of a Wimpy Kid. All the reviews are doing that. It’s not really fair because the only things the two books have in common are the cartoon diary format, middle school setting and engaging voice of an authentic protagonist. I always feel like comparing books is a cop-out and besides, Dork Diaries stands on its own merit.

Nikki Maxwell is an eighth grade diarist who likes art. Some days Nikki writes an excited ode to being a teen and on others a dramatic account of being a big dork. She's recently moved to a new school where fitting in just doesn't seem to be in her cards. Her diary entries are filled with mean girls, party invitations she'll never get and cute boys.

Nikki Maxwell is an every-girl and her voice is one that many middle school girls will love. They’ll understand Nikki and they’re going to love her manga/anime inspired artwork. Her self-deprecation (dork!) and middle-school worries (fitting in, parties, friends & a cute boy!) mirror their own.

On the fringe of her thoughts are her parents, grandmother and little sister (true to the mind of a teen), and even though Nikki’s family doesn’t understand her and they seem to be no assistance with her social standing, author Rachel Renee Russell never ridicules them.

Instead, Nikki uses her own resources to maintain a pick-yourself-up mindset. And though Nikki is a positive voice for young girls, Dork Diaries never ventures toward the sermonizing that can turn young readers away. It’s Nikki's authentic voice that serves the commonsensical, even as she grapples with her desire to be included by what she sees as the shallow, but popular, crowd. The true friendship themed ending is all the more poignant since it’s delivered by a believable voice. I see many opportunities for Nikki Maxwell sequels.

Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life is recommended for middle school readers, strong upper-elementary readers and especially for secondary reluctant readers who are served well by nontraditional written forms.

-------------------- Resources --------------------

Genre: Realistic Fiction in diary format Age: 9-12. Pages:288.

Themes: Perseverance, Friendship, Making Decisions
Thanks to Rachel Renee Russell (Did You See That Adorable Reading Rumpus Artwork Up There!!!) and The Picnic Basket.
Publisher: Aladdin. Date: June 2009. ISBN-10: 1416980067 / ISBN-13: 978-1416980063

Buy Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life Here

Nikki has a cool blog HERE and you can watch the book trailer HERE.

There's also an author interview over on Little Willow's Live Journal Page.

Rachel is an attorney who would rather write children's books than legal briefs. You can see more about her on her Simon & Schuster author's site.

Even Better???

Here's your chance to win Nikki's purse & Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life!!!

Author Rachel Renee Russell is offering Reading Rumpus readers a chance to win the book along with a special purse filled with all the goodies Nikki Maxwell loves!

To enter, simply leave a comment.

For a second and/or third entry, Twitter, blog, link to the contest and leave a SEPARATE entry with each link. Good Luck :-)

Drawing will be held July 3rd, 2009 at 7:00 PM EST.

© 2007-2009 Cheryl Vanatti for

Bookmark and Share