Every adult knows that the tween years are delightfully, horribly awkward. From the ages of eleven to fourteen, we undergo a pretty radical change. We start getting interested in crushes, friendships shake themselves up, hobbies change, and often people change schools, and have to go over the whole process of making friends all over again! It can be pretty difficult to be a tween, and even more difficult if you find yourself alone at a new school. Author-illustrator Rachel Renee Russell captures this struggle beautifully in her hit series Dork Diaries, with over twelve books in the series, and her exciting new venture into the middle school adventures of Max in The Misadventures of Max Crumbly.
The Dork Diaries are incredibly well renowned, with over twenty-five million copies in print worldwide, and having been translated into thirty-six languages! The Dork Diaries follow the life of delightful dork Nikki Maxwell at her new school. The series starts with her mum gifting her a brand new diary for her to record all her thoughts in. What she really wants is a cell phone to fit in with the CCP (Cute, Cool, & Popular) crowd, but along the way, having these diaries help her a lot, and give us an adorable glance into her life. Nikki struggles with making friends, being bullied, and having crushes, but there’s something absolutely unflappable about Nikki.
Through all the crazy drama that comes with being fourteen and at a new school, she retains a delightful sense of self. She’s witty, clever, and down-to-earth, and a great artist to boot. She’s an awesome friend, always there for her BFFs Chloe and Zoey, and deals with her crazy family all the while (seriously, who drives their kid to school in an exterminator van with a giant cockroach on top?). The first in the series, Dork Diaries, introduces us to Nikki in the most delightful way, and at the end of the book, you’re left with an undeniable feeling of happiness. In addition to the great story and characters, Dork Diaries’ design is super fun to read: the book is designed as if you were actually reading a journal, with quirky and funny illustrations of Nikki and her friends along the way. Rachel Renee Russell captures perfectly what it’s like to be a fourteen year old girl struggling through change, and it’s an awesome and essential read for any girl aged ten and up – especially those about to enter high school.
As The Dork Diaries are so well-known and loved, it’s no wonder Russell’s branching out into a series for boys. The Misadventures of Max Crumbly follows Maxwell Crumbly, and he’s just as lovably dorky as Nikki! Max is just going into a new school, and he’s pretty nervous. He’s been homeschooled for most of his life due to anxiety, and so he’s really looking to channel some brave superheroes in order to give him confidence. But when bully Doug aka Thug Thurston won’t leave him alone, it’s pretty hard to stay positive about being himself at his new school. When Doug locks him maliciously inside his locker on a long weekend (seventy two hours!), he’s pretty certain he’s going to turn into a zombie, but strange events start happening, and Max’s superhero idolisation might just save him – and the whole school! Only the first book Locker Hero is out at the moment, but the continuation of Max’s adventures are coming soon. Perfect for boys aged ten and up, The Misadventures of Max Crumbly are a great reminder for boys to stay true to themselves – whatever their nerdy habits might be.
Dork Diaries and The Misadventures of Max Crumbly are hilarious, quirky, and honest – perfect for any child who’s scared about going into high school. They’re a delightful reminder to stay true to yourself and your heart, and never change for anybody.
Rachel Renée Russell is the author of the #1 New York Times Best Selling book series, Dork Diaries. She’s an attorney who prefers writing tween books to legal briefs. Mainly because books are a lot more fun and pyjamas and bunny slippers aren’t allowed in court. Rachel first introduced us to Nikki Maxwell in 2009 and since that time she has written 11 books in the series which have sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.
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