Dork Diaries 7: Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star

Book review by
Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
Dork Diaries 7: Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star Book Poster Image
Fluffy addition to tween series spotlights reality TV.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 14 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids obsessed with reality TV shows learn a bit about some of the behind-the-scenes trickery.

Positive Messages

Nikki is still a decidedly shallow character, but, as in previous Dork Diaries installments, she shows growth and is actually a good example of the dangers of the "easy" fame that comes from being on a reality TV show. She learns the hard way that fame is not all it seems, and she works to protect friends and family from the pitfalls. She also shows remorse when people think of her as a bully for accidently hurting someone in karate class.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star continues to rely on the stock stereotypes the series has used in the past: a hyper, dramatic preteen girl; two backup buddies; a super awesome crush; a mean girl who has it all; and dorky parents. Nikki does continue to grow as she thinks ahead about how her family and friends will be perceived and manipulated on reality TV. 


A karate student accidently wallops the karate instructor during practice, leaving the instructor shaken and with a sizable bruise. A student pushes another down a ski jump, aware she can't ski. The student is uninjured, despite the demonstration of minor cartoon violence, including running into a tree and a snowbank. 


There's a long buildup to a first kiss and a kissing-booth-like fundraiser.


Mild name-calling, including "liar," "loser," and "witch."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, as with the other books in the Dork Diaries series, Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star is a funny graphic novel that can be used to coax reluctant readers. It won't expand their ideas and knowledge of the world around them, but it will get them reading.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bysweet_lily_850 August 18, 2015


Lights, Camera, Action! This drama and crushing thing has gone too far. What is with all of the crushing right now? All of these books are about boys, boys, boy... Continue reading
Parent Written byDonutGIRL July 25, 2016

Too much mushy gushy...

This book is good for teens and older pre-teens. There's kissing, mean girls, and a bratty little sister. My 10yo says "Good enough to pass time on th... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byZip998 August 16, 2020

No just no

Nikki is getting more unrelatable as the series goes on. Who has a tv show at 14 for just singing in your middle school talent show. She also become a mini cele... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byMochaMadness March 30, 2020


How does this show any good messages? It teaches girls that celebrities, boys, and being pretty is the only thing that matters in life. Nobody has this much dra... Continue reading

What's the story?

Nikki and the crew, including mean girl Mackenzie, are back in the latest installment of Dork Diaries. This time, Nikki finds out she's not only headed into the studio as a result of the last book, she's staring in a reality TV show! The excitement of being a star isn't all she thought it would be with manufactured controversy, a booked schedule, and miscommunication with her crush Brandon. How will Nikki manage to protect her friends and family from the drama, keep up with school, and get a chance for her -- gulp -- first kiss?

Is it any good?

There's much to be said about what the book lacks -- depth, developed characters, real circumstances -- but there's quite a bit author Rachel Renee Russell does well. She's certainly created a series that appeals to reluctant readers. This graphic novel visits a world where there are clear lines of good and bad, problems are solved with lightning-quick (if not deep) thinking, and kids can live out the dreams of a simple tween life.

Friends, boys, and pop stardom -- not a bad combination for a summer read at the beach. This book also will serve as a nice distraction between heady, required summer reading books.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the perception of reality TV shows. As Nikki learns, the producers write the scripts and manipulate ordinary activities to drum up drama. Do you think most people know these shows are scripted? What stereotypes do they perpetuate?

  • Families also can talk about some of the stereotypes in Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star. How is Nikki and Mackenzie's relationship similar to those in other popular books and movies? Does there have to be a mean-girl-versus-regular-girl plot to make the story interesting?

  • Does everyone want to be a star? Whether it involves music, acting, or fashion design, many movie and book plots revolve around becoming famous. Can you name female book characters whose claim to fame is that they're not famous?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love graphic novels and humor

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