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

 
(i)

 

Graphic novel is funny but light on content, long on drama.

What parents need to know

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

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.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex

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.

Language

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

Consumerism

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
Not applicable

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.

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?

QUALITY
 

Tween girls rejoice, another chapter in the popular Dork Diaries saga has arrived. 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.

Families can talk 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

Author:Rachel Renee Russell
Illustrator:Rachel Renee Russell
Genre:Coming of Age
Topics:Brothers and sisters, Friendship, Holidays
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Aladdin
Publication date:June 4, 2013
Number of pages:352
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 12
Available on:Hardback

This review of Dork Diaries 6: Tales from a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker was written by

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Quality

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Kid, 9 years old August 26, 2013
 

How do you create a blog?

im sorry this is not the correct category but how do you create a blog or something like that??
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Kid, 10 years old July 19, 2013
 

Dork Diaries, tales from a very happy reader

This is a funny book that encourages reluctant readers to pick up a story and start reading. Although cartoons may seem very cheesy, most tween girls seem to be into drawing so this book will be something they will enjoy. This isn't very inappropriate, apart from the middle school dating, popularity, and rudeness. This book is almost like a tween romance light on, you know, Romance. It's middle school and its a book aimed to 4th and 5th graders, and also middle schoolers. Dork Diaries deals with girls lives, how they can feel pressured to do things, get bullied, and have grade failures in middle school. I think that most kids will enjoy it because it is realistic fiction and its about a girl overcoming her problems, which encourages middle aged girls to encounter and overcome her own problems, sending a positive message
What other families should know
Too much sex
Teen, 13 years old Written bytrustytruth20 July 16, 2013
 

Good Book

this book is a really good book! if you've read the other 5 books you'll love this one for sure. Niki is a good role model, because she makes mistakes but shes got super awesome friends who help her out. Friendship is really important in this book.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models

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