Monday, January 6, 2014

Review: The Dirt Diary by Anna Staniszewski

The Dirt DiaryTitle:  The Dirt Diary 
Author: Anna Staniszweski
Publisher:  Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Publishing Date: January 7th 2014 
Pages: 256
Genre:  MG Chic Lit
Series: Stand Alone
Source:  Digital ARC 


WANTED: Maid for the most popular kids in 8th grade.Cleaning up after the in-crowd gets Rachel all the best dirt.Rachel can't believe she has to give up her Saturdays to scrubbing other people's toilets. So. Gross. But she kinda, sorta stole $287.22 from her college fund that she's got to pay back ASAP or her mom will ground her for life. Which is even worse than working for her mother's new cleaning business. Maybe. After all, becoming a maid is definitely not going to help her already loserish reputation.But Rachel picks up more than smell socks on the job. As maid to some of the most popular kids in school, Rachel suddenly has all the dirt on the 8th grade in-crowd. Her formerly boring diary is now filled with juicy secrets. And when her crush offers to pay her to spy on his girlfriend, Rachel has to decide if she's willing to get her hands dirty...

I have been slowly getting more middle grade books on my shelves and this one was a good one. It was cute, funny, and very light hearted. The story revolves around Rachel and her family, friends, and cute boys. Characters were likable and fun, the writing was clean and simple, the story just right. 

Rachel is in the 8th grade, she has one friend, a long time unattainable crush, and a school full enemies. The classic mean girls story. Rachel gets picked up a bunch. She is a very shy quiet girl, a perfect target for pranks and laughs. Her father recently left to live in another state. Rachel has a grand plan to get her parents back together. In order for the plan to take flight, she had to use 300.00 dollars from her college fund and needs to find a way to replace it before her mother finds out. She takes a job helping her mother clean houses. This is where all the fun begins, she is cleaning houses of her enemies and more. She is getting all the dirt and Rachel must find the moral obligation of keeping secrets or letting it all out. 

I thought the book was just a lot of fun. It was a bit predictable and of course had some classic cliches but it didn't take a way for the likable credit. The characters were cute, relateable, and realistic. The problems dealt with in the book are everyday problems that pre teens deal with. Bullies, death of loved ones, parents divorcing, and fights among friends.

Rachel was very likable even though she made some pretty dumb moves in her life. I could see where she was coming from and it was hard to be mad at her for acting crazy. She didn't always think about her actions before she set forth to make a mess of things, but what 13 year does? I felt bad for her. Her life just seemed to suck and her mother or father never noticed. She trudged through her everyday getting laughed at, pranked, and feeling insecure. She did have one friend that made her days a bit more bearable but even that had low points. She made some dumb moves yes, but of course she learned from those mistakes and that is what these books are all about. 

The entire story was just quirky.With the pranks, the cooking, the characters. It was put together well and the writing style was great for this type of book. Not a boring or dull moment. It ended in a nice clean wrap up in the end.  The only imporovent I could think of is a little more depth. Other than that great read. Recently I found out there will be more and I do believe I will read that book too. I would love to spend a little more time in Rachel's world. 

A great addition to my middle grade collection. 

Anna Staniszewski
Anna Staniszewski lives and works in the Boston area. She's the author of the My Very UnFairy Tale Life series and the upcoming Dirt Diaries series–-both published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky–-as well as the occasional dinosaur/robot picture book. You can visit Anna at or follow her on Twitter at

No comments:

Post a Comment

Imagination Designs