In this follow-up to her popular Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not So Fabulous Life, Russell offers a slight but amusing tale of a middle-school nerd who finds she is not so nerdy after all. The book is structured as the diary of Nikki Maxwell, with pages designed to look like handwritten, heavily illustrated entries. The story follows Nikki's trials and tribulations in the face of harassment from the most popular girl in class, a possibly requited crush on her lab partner, kooky plans from her boy-crazy best friends, and complications from her pesky little sister. Things spin out of control when Nikki finds herself with three commitments the night of the big dance. The most affecting, original parts of the book are Nikki's attempts to balance her excitement over her budding romance and her loyalty to her friends. The rest of the plot covers the well-trod territory of the lonely but lovable outsider. Filled with manga-inspired artwork, the story should amuse younger readers, but not challenge them. Ages 9-13. (June)[Page 55]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.
Gr 5-8--This book continues in the same vein as the first, sharing many of its flaws. In this installment, Nikki volunteers to help with the Halloween dance but overextends herself by committing to multiple duties in different places on the same night. Presented in diary format, the lined-paper pages and manga-style illustrations provide levity, but too frequently Nikki's adventures slip from amusing into improbable farce. The simplistic and highly unrealistic story; flat characters; and predictable ending will not appeal to readers who can handle the fairly advanced vocabulary. Strictly for fans of the first book.--Natasha Forrester, Multnomah County Library, Portland, OR[Page 163]. Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.