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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Shows the importance of honesty and the harm that online bullying can do to relationships.
The importance of honesty in friendship takes center stage in this book as Nikki struggles with how to tell friends their summer plans have to change. She learns that waiting to tell the truth only makes things much harder and complicated in the end. While Nikki wanted to spare her friends' feelings, not being forthcoming hurt them more.
Positive Role Models
Nikki's friends are positive influences. Throughout the book they're supportive, cautious when they see her behaving differently, protective when things get dicey with her new friend, who may not have her best interest at heart.
Violence & Scariness
Two boys like one girl and she briefly fantasizes about them fighting over her with swords as in medieval times. A girl wishes she could smack a girl in the face with a chair for being mean.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Standard middle school crush issues throughout and angst over relationships. Some jealousy with two boys liking the same girl, along with the tension and hurt feelings that creates.
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Mild name-calling including "butt ugly," "two-faced," etc.
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Parents Need to Know
Parent need to know that Dork Diaries 12: Tales from a Not-So-Secret Crush Catastrophe deals with typical middle school issues in the lighthearted, dramatic, and funny way readers expect from this series. Parents should be ready to talk about honesty in friendship, cyberbullying, and typical middle school crush issues.
Is It Any Good?
Kids who love the Dork Diaries series will love this installment. Tales from a Not-So-Secret Crush Catastrophe has all of the characters, funny angst, cool illustrations, and Nikki-related fun that readers have come to expect from the series. The book does a great job focusing on the friendship aspect of young crushes instead of going ultra intense like many other books in this genre. Book 12 shows continued evolution and maturity on Nikki's part, though MacKenzie seems to have forgotten all of the lessons she learned in the last book. Funny and easy to read, this book will delight fans eager to see where the drama with Brandon leads.
Bonuses: Parents and educators will get an opening to talk about cyberbullying, and the series continues to be great for reluctant readers.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.See how we rate