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The Dirt Diary Paperback – January 7, 2014


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 4 - 8
  • Lexile Measure: 750L (What's this?)
  • Series: The Dirt Diary (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky (January 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402286368
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402286360
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #243,537 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8-Fourteen-year-old Rachel's parents separated, her father moved to Florida, and she stole from her college fund to pay for a plane ticket to visit him. She hopes to win the hundred dollar award at the Spring Dance bake sale, but as another way to earn back the money she volunteers to help her mother with her new business, cleaning houses. When Rachel realizes that their first client is Briana, the most popular girl in her class and Rachel's enemy, things feel as if they can't get much worse. Writing notes in her diary about "the dirt" she learns about her classmates while cleaning their homes makes her feel better, as do baking and creating new recipes. Despite Briana's weekly creative cleaning tortures, Rachel finds herself developing a relationship with the girl's twin brother, Evan. Her friend Marisol, a fashion whiz, provides much-needed emotional support, but when they have a fight and rumors start flying that could only have come from the diary, she has to figure out how to stand up to Briana and come to terms with some unhappy truths about her family. Although Rachel's situation and feelings ring true, she often comes across as selfish and whiny. Her character is redeemed when she finally faces the truth about her parents, makes amends with Marisol, and finds a way to face Briana. This realistic read is likely to appeal to middle schoolers and reluctant readers.-Kefira Phillipe, Nichols Middle School, Evanston, ILα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journal. LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Rachel, 14, has a secret. She has taken money from her college savings to buy a plane ticket to Florida, where she hopes to convince her dad to return home. To cover up the expense, Rachel begins accompanying her mother to clean houses, many of which turn out to belong to her classmates’ families. As Rachel learns that everyone has secrets, she starts keeping The Dirt Diary. Rachel is a naive, likable girl who loves to bake and is prone to startling exclamations such as, “Oh my goldfish!” Her story teeters on the outlandish while covering some truly painful events. As Rachel stubbornly ignores the signs that her father has gone for good, she comes to realize that none of her friends has a perfect life. The secondary characters are nicely developed, as is Rachel’s natural emergence from simplistic, wishful thinking to a more nuanced understanding of life. Staniszewski, the author of the My Very UnFairy Tale Life books, begins another appealing series that promises more goofball humor blended with the real issues of early adolescence. Grades 5-8. --Diane Colson

More About the Author

Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. She was named the 2006-2007 Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library and a winner of the 2009 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. Currently, Anna lives outside of Boston, Mass. with her husband and their adopted black Labrador, Emma. When she's not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. You can visit her at www.annastan.com.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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I am so excited to read the next two!
Kindle Customer
Laugh out loud moments fill this delightful book and it will leave readers wanting to read more books by Ms. Staniszweski.
Stephanie (LoveLifeRead)
Tweens and younger teens especially will enjoy this book.
Dena

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie (LoveLifeRead) on January 8, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Rachel has a plan--she borrows almost $300 from her college savings account and is on a mission. Her mission seems simple--she wants to get her parents back together. The money is being used to go to Florida where her father has moved. To earn the money back, she must win the baking contest while she also helps her mother in her new business cleaning houses. Little does she realize she will be helping clean the houses of her fellow classmates. During this time she keeps a diary--her dirt diary--of all her secret thoughts and feelings.

Ms. Staniszweski has captured this age perfectly--the awkwardness, the feelings of not fitting and also the interaction between both peers and grownups. Rachel is reluctant for her mom to move on from her dad and I could feel and relate to her pain through her interactions with Mr. Hammond. Laugh out loud moments fill this delightful book and it will leave readers wanting to read more books by Ms. Staniszweski. Be sure to have on hand her My Unfairy Tale Life series too.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By JennRenee on March 22, 2014
Format: Paperback
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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dayla F.M. on January 7, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I received a copy via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

The Dirt Diary by Anna Staniszewski is a middle grade novel about a girl facing troubles at home and bullying at school. I wasn’t sure what to expect because I don’t read a lot of middle grade novels, but I was pleasantly surprised. Being a victim of bullying at a younger age, I think that a story like this one, where the victim is an imperfect character, is important to note. Not only does the protagonist learn to stand up for herself, but she also learns an important lesson herself. Bullying is never okay, but we see in this story that there are always two sides to a story. Written in fast-paced prose and introducing a witty protagonist, The Dirt Diary is a great quick read.

The quirkiness of Rachel, the protagonist, makes the story unique because it makes her character unforgettable. Her creative way of cussing (though she doesn’t actually swear) is a funny touch and her character growth makes the story run smoothly. A character like Rachel is a great example for younger readers, especially those suffering from bullying and from separated parents. Her need to fix the broken issues in her house and her desire to be noticed by the most popular guy are very relatable issues in today’s youth.

The idea of a dirt diary that shows all of the dirty secrets of the rich and popular isn’t something entirely new, but it is still entertaining, especially when the antagonist of the novel is so horrible. Staniszewski’s novel is very tongue in cheek, especially with how Rachel views the world and how she is treated. At least, it’s risqué for a middle grade novel, but this makes it a lot more fun. Though The Dirt Diary is a slightly predictable read, it’s still good fun.
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By Caitlin Gorbett on June 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
THIS BOOK WAS REALLY GOOD! AND I JUST REALIZED I HAVE MY KINDLE ON CAPS LOCK! YAY YAY YAY YAY!
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By This guyyyy on April 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
it was good for tweens and early teens, or people who are in middle school or sixth grade . Thumbsup
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Format: Paperback
I was having kind of a bad day, and this book cheered me right up! The premise is what drew me to the novel: Eighth-grader Rachel Lee helps her mother with her housecleaning business, only to find out that she has to clean house for some of the meanest kids at school, but the bonus is she learns some of their secrets along the way. The story is light and breezy, with a believable friendship and lighthearted tween romance. But there are heavier themes here—that of divorce and the acceptance of a disappointing parent—which felt so authentic that I actually teared up in places. Awesome. Highly recommended for anyone looking for a fun, spirited, but not completely frivolous read.
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