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

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



Fluffy addition to tween series spotlights reality TV.

What parents need to know

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

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."

Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Author:Rachel Renee Russell
Illustrator:Rachel Renee Russell
Topics:Book characters, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:June 3, 2014
Number of pages:336
Publisher's recommended age(s):9 - 13
Available on:Paperback, Nook, Audiobook (abridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle

This review of Dork Diaries 7: Tales from a Not-So-Glam TV Star was written by

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What parents and kids say

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Kid, 9 years old June 27, 2014
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much consumerism
Educator 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, boys! Why aren't you consetrating on learning and studying, something thats not about BOYS! I mean what is with you and boys? School is for learning not crushing. Mostly all of these stories are about a girl crushing over a boy, and trying to cause drama with a popular and mean girl. It doesn't makes any sense with crushing and falling in love with boys in school.. So I don't know how to explain this, but please don't do these types of books with crushing, and give it to second graders to read them. I am trying to be honest and polite, to be honest i love your books Rachel R. Russell. I am sorry if I hurt you're feelings but this is my opinion. So yeah be mad at me, hate me, whatever I am just telling my honest opinion.
What other families should know
Great role models
Too much violence
Teen, 13 years old Written byemmygirl December 29, 2014

Fame isn't all good

This book shows kids, that fame isn't all glamorous and brilliant. But let's get real... Although main character Nikki shows no good sides to the villain, Mackenzie, making her rather one-sided. The same ending as in the other books: Nikki wins a competition and gets closer to Brandon, making the whole series get rather boring, a reason, why I don't buy their latest books. Talking about Nikki: she's a rather dry character, probably meant for everyone to relate. Her main ambitions change every book. I liked it when I was eleven, now I'm not so sure.
What other families should know
Educational value