Dork Diaries 6: Tales from a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker

Book review by
Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
Dork Diaries 6: Tales from a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker Book Poster Image
Graphic novel is funny but light on content, long on drama.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 16 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

There's no direct or indirect educational content in this book, but it will appeal to reluctant readers.

Positive Messages

In this installment of the Dork Diaries series, Nikki is still pretty darn shallow, but she has experienced more growth. She shows great care in taking care of her sister -- after some resistance. She also learns to have a filter between the thoughts she has in her head and what she shares with friends, which allows her to be a better friend than in previous books. The story emphasizes the importance of communicating your feelings directly to the person you're in conflict with.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tales from a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker perpetuates several sterotypes: There's the hysterical, moody, insecure preteen female main character, two ever-supportive friends, a laid-back, understanding crush, a younger sibling who's a pest, and popular mean girl. These stock characters may be a receipe for success with the target age group, but they're cringe-worthy for parents and teachers. Readers do get to see another side of Nikki when she saves the day for her little sister, but the over-the-top dramatics throughout much of the book undermine the exploration of her personal growth.


There's nothing to worry about in this book, just simple boy-girl crushes and middle school dance stuff that readers have come across dozens of times before in various media.


More "OMGs," "totallys" and slang than vocabulary words, but nothing objectionable.


The brand mentions and focus on consumerism has been toned down greatly in this installment. Brands featured are often fictional and consumerism is actually mocked at one point. When observing a display for additional princess items beyond the Valentines Nikki's little sister wanted, Nikki understands that they were placed there to entice children -- and get their parents to buy more.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that just like other books in the Dork Diaries series, Tales from a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker is a great one to get reluctant readers to crack open a book. It won't expand their vocabulary and it reinforces cartoonish stereotypes, but they will read it.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byPatsy fitz6543 September 14, 2019

NOT a appropriate book

This book should NOT be for kids.She calls her mom brain dead just because she wouldn’t buy her a phone in one of the books and this book teaches our children t... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old March 30, 2021


Superficial. Nikki is so shallow. Brandon is the only good role model. Here's some books that are worth your time and money:
- Wonder
- Little Women
- Five... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byJellyfishDreamy January 12, 2021


This is a horrible dumb book about a dorky girl who hates her life. The protagonist is nothing but silly! She just cares about phones, boys and ANYTHING that is... Continue reading

What's the story?

Nikki's back and the Valentine's Day dance is on her mind -- oh, and passing her swim class in gym. The drama is at an all-time high after a series of texts jeopardizes her friendship with Brandon and her swimming class flop threatens her gym grade. Mean girl Mackenzie is up to her old tricks with Nikki in her sights, and, of course, Nikki has to babysit her impossible little sister. She's still a dork, but will that be enough to overcome So. Much. DRAMA?

Is it any good?

Tween girls rejoice: Another chapter in the popular Dork Diaries saga has arrived, and it's fluffy, funny, and light on content -- just the type of brain junk food kids love. Author Rachel Renee Russell is slowly maturing Nikki in the series, and in this installment it shows. There's less emphasis on materialism, and Nikki shows more redeeming qualities, such as her creativity and ability to think on her feet. However, the characters are still shallow and underdeveloped.

Offering kids Tales from a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker is like putting spinach in brownies: It gets kids to do something that's good for them by wrapping it up in gooey fun. Kids love these books. They're a step forward for reluctant readers or a sweet treat for advanced readers. Parents will need to monitor and help introduce meatier books to prevent overindulgence in literary desserts.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it means to be popular. Why do some kids feel being popular is so important?

  • Is there a such thing as a popular nice girl? Is it more important to be liked or feared and envied?

  • Middle school is awkward and miscommunications happen all the time. Name three ways Nikki could have avoided the drama and bathroom breakdowns by communicating.

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love Humor and school stories

Themes & Topics

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