Dork Diaries 8: Tales from a Not-So-Happily Ever After

Book review by
Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
Dork Diaries 8: Tales from a Not-So-Happily Ever After Book Poster Image
Fairy tale twist adds to the fun in popular series.

Parents say

age 9+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 10 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Readers will have fun spotting the elements and morals of familiar fairy tales and seeing Nikki's friends play the roles of various characters. 

Positive Messages

Follow your heart. Stand up for yourself. Friendship is important.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Kids stand up for someone being bullied, and repercussions for bullying go beyond the norm for this series: The mean girl is confronted, and the issue is taken up by school officials. 


Cartoonish violence in the fairy tale portion includes the Queen of Hearts trying to carry out executions, concern that a good witch in disguise was hurt, and a run-in with an evil witch. During the beginning, one child deliberately hits another in the face with a ball and knocks her unconscious (the child eventually regains consciousness).


Tween boy-girl attraction and discussion of a previous book's kiss.


Mild mean-girl talk and self-doubt name-calling, including "loser" and "freak."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know Dork Diaries 8: Tales from a Not-So-Happily Ever After offers a fresh angle on Nikki's troubles when she gets stuck in familiar fairy tales and has to find her way home. There's some mean-girl behavior and more consequences for bullying when the teasing accelerates from tricks and lies to blasting a ball into a child's face.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of an infant, 1, 4, 11, and 18+-year-old Written byAdrianna R. August 12, 2016

Tales From A Satisfied Mom...

My 11yo really enjoys this book series. This book is no different.

The familiar characters (Dorothy, Alice, Red Riding Hood) that look like Nikki's pals f... Continue reading
Parent Written byDonutGIRL July 24, 2016


The book is fine, but I don't like the way Mackenzie Hollister acted.

Instead of playing tricks or telling lies, she slammed a dodgeball in Nikki's f... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 30, 2021

Different Than the Other Books

The weirdest but most boring book.
Kid, 9 years old April 30, 2021

This is a okay book

This is very funny and adventurous!! In my opinion I think it is kinda boring. But for younger kids it would be a good choose.

What's the story?

Nikki took a ball to the face, and now she's stuck traipsing through fairy tales looking for a wizard who can help her get home. Sound familiar? Well, as usual with Nikki, nothing is as simple as it seems, especially when there's an evil witch that looks remarkably like her arch-nemesis trying to lock her up in a dungeon. Will she outsmart the witch and find the wizard? Will she make it past the hungry wolf, angry bears, and crazy Queen of Hearts? And the biggest question of all: Will she find Prince Charming?

Is it any good?

DORK DIARIES 8: TALES FROM A NOT-SO-HAPPILY EVER AFTER is a fun and fluffy take on several fairy tales, with a Nikki twist. Author Rachel Renee Russell veers from the tried-and-true formula she's followed throughout the series; the fairy tale angle could have meant even more overly sweet, tweeny situations, but it makes the book more fun.

Readers will eagerly anticipate their favorite bedtime stories and enjoy trying to figure out which of Nikki's friends will play which role. Parents will appreciate more adult involvement in the bullying involving McKenzie and Nikki. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how the media portrays mean-girl behavior. What do you think the consequences should be for bullying? 

  • What's different about how Nikki approaches problems in the fairy tales she encounters as compared with how they're handled in the real-life story? What messages does each approach send?

  • If you could rewrite any story, what would it be and how would you change it?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love graphic novels

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