Reviews for Tales from a Not-so-fabulous Life


Horn Book Guide Reviews 2009 Fall
Self-professed dork Nikki Maxwell chronicles her life as the new girl at Westchester Country Day School. Most of Nikki's diary entries focus on her embarrassing family trials and run-ins with exaggeratedly mean queen bee MacKenzie. The writing delivers fluffy sitcom-style humor for tweens. Font that resembles handwriting, humorous manga-like doodles, and comic sketches add authenticity to the format. Copyright 2009 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

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Kirkus Reviews 2009 May #2
When her father barters enrollment in a prestigious private school in exchange for his bug-extermination services, Nikki suddenly finds her life in turmoil. At Westchester Country Day, Nikki encounters über-snobbish MacKenzie, the archetypal mean girl and her pack of "CCP"--Nikki's acronym for the cute, cool and popular--friends. Nikki chronicles all of her new-girl angst and trepidations as well as her fledgling crush in her diary. Russell's narrative deftly captures the winsome vulnerability of a girl perched on the cusp of teenhood. The comical sketches, executed à la Diary of a Wimpy Kid, add an element of self-deprecating humor to the tale. An abundance of up-to-the-minute pop-cultural references threatens to date this novel quickly. Nikki's ultimate realization that she needs to be true to herself comes across as genuine rather than contrived, however, so despite its modern trappings, Nikki's journey of self-discovery will appeal to preadolescent readers struggling to find their places in the world. (Fiction. 9-13) Copyright Kirkus 2009 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

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School Library Journal Reviews 2009 July

Gr 5-8-Fourteen-year-old Nikki J. Maxwell has been awarded a scholarship to a prestigious private middle school as a part of her father's bug extermination contract. Her angst as she deals with the resident mean girl, her embarrassing parents, her crush on the hot boy, and making new friends are all recorded alongside numerous sketches of her life. Although occasionally amusing, Nikki is not a very likable character. She is shallow and self-centered and fails to show any growth in the book, even as she one-ups popular and cruel MacKenzie in the end. In fact, Nikki, who steals her neighbor's hearing aid and plays pranks on her little sister, is somewhat of a mean girl herself. All the other characters are underdeveloped, including Nikki's family and her new BFFs, Chloe and Zoey. Black-and-white drawings, which are often witty, appear throughout the text, which is printed on lined pages as though from a diary. Fans of Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Abrams) may enjoy this book, but it's an additional purchase.-Terry Ann Lawler, Phoenix Public Library, AZ

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