Dork Diaries: Dear Dork by Rachel Renee Russell
Simon and Schuster, 2012. ISBN: 9780857079367.
Nikki Maxwell leads an interesting life. Her father is a pest exterminator, she has a pesky little sister who manages to rule the roost at home and Nikki is easily embarrassed by her family. Her diary is the place in which she documents how she feels about her life, friends, boys, school and the world in general. Following a sleep over prank in which she and her friends target mean girl, Mackenzie, the girls discover that their enemy plans to get her own back on them via the school newspaper. This leads Nikki to apply for a place on the editorial team. When she gains the job of agony aunt, she also attracts a huge following and achieves massive popularity, albeit under her nom de plume. In addition, things start to change between Nikki and Brandon causing Mackenzie to become more troublesome and manipulative.
This title, although not at all literary, will most likely appeal to girls who don't love reading. It is simple to devour thanks to its numerous illustrations and enormous font. It contains the message that mean girls don't always win but it is instead the down trodden who can triumph. There is also a message of sorts about lies. Whilst Nikki lies to Brandon, it is finally revealed that he has been aware of the truth all along and that he is, in fact, quite accepting of the 'real' Nikki, thereby encouraging truthful encounters in the future. The suggested age range of 9+ would seem to be reasonable given the simplicity of the language yet the apparent boy/girl angst seems to demand a slightly older audience.