A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Kids obsessed with reality TV shows learn a bit about some of the behind-the-scenes trickery.
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
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
There's a long buildup to a first kiss and a kissing-booth-like fundraiser.
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Mild name-calling, including "liar," "loser," and "witch."
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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.
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.
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.