Dork Diaries #1: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renee RussellAdolescent Graphic Novel
This series is like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, except it is exclusively for girls. It is a combination of novel and graphic novel. It's a little different from Greg in Wimpy Kid in that the main character isn't a stinker intent on making trouble! This is the story of a very normal girl trying to navigate the troubled waters of middle school.
Nikki is an 8th grader who has just moved to a new school and feels like she can't do anything right. The only things that help Nikkie deal with her situation and her life, other than freaking out, is art and drawing (hence, the journal that is the book). Nikki's biggest problem in the book is that her mom won't let her have an iPhone. Instead, she has to endure the mortal embarrassment of carrying around one of those grandma phones with the huge numbers and buttons on it. I feel her pain because that is the phone I have and it is pretty embarrassing.
Nikki is also embarrassed by her father's job. He's an exterminator and drives a van with a giant bug on it. She is going to an exclusive school on a scholarship and she doesn't want the other kids to know she's not rich like them. Nikki's other problem is her arch-nemesis Mackenzie who is also the most popular girl in school and the one running against her in the art competition.
As you can tell, Nikki has lots of problems. All of them huge and overwhelming and utterly hilarious. I well remember those painful days and it's nice to see that nothing is changed--being a teen girl is still just as hard (and as funny) as it was back then.
The pictures and story line feel more like a 6th grade read to me. I'm not sure that 8th graders would enjoy it as much, although I am way past 8th grade and I really liked it! I can't wait to check out the next installment in the series. A fun, light read.