The Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez

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Overview

Twelve-year-old Raisin Rodriguez has been uprooted from her life in California and plopped down in Philadelphia with her mother, sister, step-father, step-sister Samantha, and Samantha's cross-dressing poodle Countess. The only way Raisin can survive the painful transition is by recording every detail in a secret blog she keeps for her best friends from home.

Raisin shares her latest musings and spills about every humiliating incident that prevents her new friendships from ...

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Overview

Twelve-year-old Raisin Rodriguez has been uprooted from her life in California and plopped down in Philadelphia with her mother, sister, step-father, step-sister Samantha, and Samantha's cross-dressing poodle Countess. The only way Raisin can survive the painful transition is by recording every detail in a secret blog she keeps for her best friends from home.

Raisin shares her latest musings and spills about every humiliating incident that prevents her new friendships from taking off. She even describes the arrival of her dreaded period, just after her thirteenth birthday. But humiliation doesn't begin to cover what Raisin experiences when someone at her new school discovers her blog and prints it out for the world to see.

This hilariously painful and heartbreakingly hysterical novel offers a glimpse into the mind and heart of a truly unique character with an unforgettable voice.

In a weblog she sends to her best friends back in Berkeley, seventh-grader Raisin Rodriguez chronicles her successes and her more frequent humiliating failures as she attempts to make friends at her new Philadelphia school.

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Editorial Reviews

Hazel Rochman
Gr. 6-9. Lost and lonely when she moves in with her stepfather's family in Philadelphia, Raisin Rodriguez, 13, talks on her blog to her two best friends back in Berkeley, California. Her daily, sometimes hourly, narrative is frank, needy, hilarious, intimate, and crude. On one level it's the usual diary about the new kid trying to fit in with the cool group. But Raisin, who admits she's way beyond Judy Blume, also writes about examining her intimate body parts, comparing what she sees with the wrinkled "face of Mervis the librarian." There's also the teacher who looks as if he has "pubic hair coming out of his ears." When she forgets to log out at school, someone prints her blog for all to read. Blogs tend to be ephemeral, but what will last here is the close-up of peer cruelty, personal intimacy, and public embarrassment. Raisin can't help wondering if the word embarrassment comes from the root words bare and ass.
Booklist
Publishers Weekly
When 12-year-old Raisin's mother develops Ice Dogs, "the frozen treat for dogs," she falls in love with and marries the man who bought her company, and moves Raisin and her younger sister from Berkeley, Calif., to Philadelphia. Raisin starts a secret blog to keep in touch with her two best friends from home. In it she reveals the often embarrassing moments of her new life. While Raisin often seem too sophisticated for seventh grade (throughout, Raisin empathizes with Gordo, the first monkey in space, who must have been "seriously lonely"), the blog format is timely, and spunky, clumsy Raisin is an easy narrator to like (when the popular girls show up at the same restaurant where Rosie's family takes her for a birthday dinner, she mistakenly thinks they are singing happy birthday to her). The plot holds no surprises, from the meanness of Fiona Small, "the sex symbol of Franklin Academy" and her friends, to the public discovery of Raisin's blog, but the setup provides plenty of opportunities for Raisin to recall her often mortifying, but sometimes heroic moments, such as her winning soccer goal when the ball accidentally hits her head. Overall, while readers may wish the author had flushed out some details and characters, especially in Raisin's family, they will find this as entertaining as stumbling across a private blog on the Web. Ages 10-up. (Apr.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
From The Critics
Raisin, uprooted first by divorce, her mother's sudden remarriage to a stranger, then a cross-country move from Berkeley to Philadelphia, finds herself beginning seventh grade without friends, except for the son of her stepfather's business associate and he “doesn't count.” Sounds serious, but Raisin recounts her adventures in a blog to her two best friends back home in the witty manner (well beyond the range of the usual twelveyear- old) of a born raconteur. Her travails include (but are not limited to), the dog swallowing the padded bra she's been “borrowing” from her new stepsister, mistakenly assuming the most popular girls in school are singing happy birthday to her, starting her period in a public place, and having her secret blog published throughout the school which hurts the nice boy she's overlooked while seeking popularity. Raisin must make amends, and in doing so, learns the value of offbeat friends over those with star quality. The novel is funny and entertaining without being entirely believable. 2005, Penguin/Razorbill, 202 pp., Ages young adult.
—Myrna Dee Marler
Children's Literature
What a terrific idea to present a YA novel in the form of a "blog" for today's computer-savvy teens—and not since Harriet the Spy's espionage notebook have one girl's frank and unflattering observations of herself and her peers had such disastrous results. New to the snobbish Franklin Academy in Philadelphia, living with her divorced mom and irritating stepfamily, Raisin attempts to infiltrate the popular crowd with an amusingly predictable lack of success. You are unlikely, after all, to impress the soccer team when you still have a shaky grip on "the only rule in soccer—don't use your hands!" And, of course, it is obvious to the reader—though not yet to Raisin—that the popular clique is not worth emulating in the first place. Raisin's relentless materialism and consumerism, her nonstop obsession with her clothes and appearance, do make her seem fairly shallow, and her graphically described travails inserting her first tampon show how crude YA literature has become since Judy Blume's welcome candor regarding menstruation four decades ago. But the ongoing witty and perceptive e-mails between Raisin and her two closest California friends make this an overall appealing portrait of a funny and enduring adolescent friendship. 2005, Razorbill/Penguin, Ages 10 up.
—Claudia Mills, Ph.D.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-The front copy promises "fits of uncontrollable laughter," but this chick-lit entry fails to deliver. Moving from California to Philadelphia and entering seventh grade in a new school, Raisin deplores the results of her mother's marriage to "Horse Ass," or Horace. She admires people for their looks and clothes, fails to appreciate her only acquaintance as a patient prince of a guy, and generally displays every obnoxious middle school characteristic imaginable. Recounting events through the blog to her buddies back home in Berkeley, Raisin details every embarrassing and thoughtless idea she has ever had, specializing in a long description of her travails on the arrival of her first period. This is actually the best part of the book, and updates "that Margaret person" whom Raisin thinks was nuts to actually look forward to this event. The inevitable denouement when everyone reads her entire blog is not surprising; nor is the fact that Raisin learns very little from the whole experience. There are better, funnier, and more realistic tales about adjusting to a new life after a parent's divorce. Shallow, very shallow.-Carol A. Edwards, Douglas County Libraries, Castle Rock, CO Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Funny, dramatic, and varying in degrees of sharpness, Raisin writes a blog for her two best friends across the country. Starting seventh grade at a new school prompts her to record everything on TwoScoopsofRaisin.com, where she bemoans her lack of friends and her new stepsister's cross-dressing poodle. Raisin is no shrinking violet: cool clothes and various schemes make the popular girls she's madly pursuing accept her into their clique-briefly. Raisin's downfall is her blog, accidentally distributed to the school, exposing all her unkind and embarrassing observations. Will the nice freckle-faced boy forgive her? Will the mysterious cinnamon-scented boy who hides his violin in a paper bag return her affections? Raisin never quite understands why the "alt" kids call the (snotty) popular ones "The Man." A few truly sparkly characters (one named Sparkles-a boy, naturally) and groundbreaking directness on the topic of tampon insertion set this amusing piece apart from others of its fast-growing genre. (Fiction. 10-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595140180
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
  • Publication date: 4/21/2005
  • Pages: 208
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 7.25 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Judy Goldschmidt lives in New York City.

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Read an Excerpt

Sunday, September 12

6:06 PM, EST

Dear Pia and Claudia,

Welcome to TwoScoopsofRaisin.com. Aka my blog. I know there are many blogs out there to choose from. Your choice to read mine is much appreciated.

Why keep a blog? you ask.

Excellent question, I answer.

There are many reasons to keep a blog. Here are just a few I've come up with:

1. You just moved to Philadelphia--far, far away from your two best friends in the world and you need a way to keep in touch.

2. You'd prefer using the phone, but your new stepsister is constantly hogging it. (Though it's a mystery who she's talking to. She doesn't seem to have a lot of friends.)

3. You'd prefer using the phone, but you were born without a tongue.

Or

4. You like the word blog because it sounds funny.

All of these are good reasons. No one reason is better than another. It just so happens that in my case, reasons one and two apply. Someone else might find reason four to be the most fitting. Another person might recognize his or herself in reason three. If you are that person, I suggest seeking the help of a health-care professional.

I hope you enjoy my blog. Feel free to check for new updates as often as you like. Please do not feel free, under any circumstances, on pain of death, to give the address of this blog to anyone. This blog is very personal and confidential and deals with mature subject matter.

Additionally, unauthorized reading could potentially result in harmful side effects such as eye twitching, sudden memory loss, dry mouth, and butt acne.

Thank you for flying Raisin.

Monday, September 13

4:07 PM, EST

Hello Kitties,

Today I made out with my earth science book. Well, not the book so much as the boy on the cover of the book. We met this morning during seventh-grade orientation at Franklin Academy. Turns out there are more social opportunities at my new school than I had imagined. . . . It's just a matter of knowing where to look.

Which in this case was right in front of my face.

After orientation, I was sitting at my kitchen table, putting covers on all my textbooks like we're supposed to. But when it came time to cover him up, I didn't have the heart to do it. He looked so irresistible, with his hair all floppy and his teeth all gleaming white. And his eyes! They were practically shouting out to the world, "Kiss me, I'm stuck on this book cover." So I laid one on him. I couldn't help myself, really. It was bigger than the both of us. I must say, though, that for a piece of cardboard he's quite the kisser. . . .

Sometimes there's just no explaining what goes on between a man and a woman.

Go ahead. Call me crazy. But don't forget, I've been through a lot lately.

Let's review:

I was minding my own business, happily living in Berkeley, when my mom and dad decided to get a divorce.

My mother invented Ice Dogs and Liver Quivers (the frozen treats for dogs).

Horace bought the company from her.

They fell in love and decided to get married.

My mother moved to Philly to be with him and brought me (and Lola) along with her. You guys, who I love and depend on (especially for preventing me from doing weird things like kissing boys on book covers), had to stay in Berkeley.

And here I am, all by my lonesome.

So I can't really be held responsible for my actions in my present state of mind. (If anyone should be held responsible, it's probably my mother, no?) Especially now that I've discovered a new bad side effect to moving: STARTING OVER IN A NEW SCHOOLLFHGFHfoocooa093]. 'IURFrURLKFJLK dhkhv;h '/9u vvguv;v xihclipopup9UhgHIOXUJIIFU;Oi./J/qo

SORRY! That was Lola. She loves to pound on my keyboard and say, "I'm doing my work." It makes her feel important. As if speaking those four words will get everyone wondering what important scientific discoveries she's making and forget that she's still in Pull-Ups. And I begged my mother to leave her behind when weTTTTTT Gvkjfha;fh;ffj p f f;kKHO IHOIIHOIHOIHOIHOIHOPDIw pjdlkjkjlkjoioijo;ijjhkjhgffdfd d1119999999Jeez Louise! With all the fancy computers around here, I don't know why she has to choose my laptop. I think she just likes being on my bed. Maybe it's the purple velvet comforter. Or the fact that there aren't any safety guards . . .

I suppose I should put in a DVD for her or something. Why must I take care of a toddler on the eve of my first official day of classes? Isn't that the responsibility of my mom and stepdad? I know they have a business to run, but I've got a big day tomorrow.

I should be running a bubble bath. Sipping some chamomile tea. Connecting with my higher power. Or at least watching E! Entertainment Television in order to prepare me with some intelligent conversation starters.

Ugh, I better go, she won't stop licking my arm.

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Interviews & Essays

Q&A with author Judy Goldschmidt

What made you decide to write this book?
All roads lead to Crest White Strips. One day my friend Lynn Weingarten (not to be confused with the Lynn Weingarten in the book) was using them to bleach her teeth, and I wondered whether they'd work on hair too. Not to bleach the whole head, just to make some buttery blonde highlights. This seemed like a question a character in a book would ponder. So I thought I'd try to write a book around this character.

Where did you come up with the name Raisin Rodriguez?
A friend of mine had a daughter in kindergarten. She mentioned her daughter's class mate Raisin and I thought it was the funniest name I ever heard. And of course, the only name funnier than Raisin, is Raisin Rodriguez.

Which of Raisin's characteristics would you most like to have and why?
I'd like to be as funny as Raisin. She's much quicker on her feet than I am.

Raisin was horrified when her blog was discovered...what was your most embarrassing moment in school?
My class was sent to help clean up a homeless shelter. I was told to vacuum the elevators. I plugged the vacuum into a socket next to the elevator. Two cute boys got into the elevator and before I had time to unplug the vacuum, they pushed the down button. I was straddling the cord and as the elevator descended, the cord climbed up my leg at such a rapid pace, it almost sliced me in half. I was so terrified, I screamed bloody murder. The cord finally snapped right before anything bad happened, but not in time to save me from looking like a huge idiot in front of the cute boys.

Were you a good student?
It's like this: I was born with the knowledge of a seventh grader. So up until eighth grade I sailed through school. Then once I had to actually learn things I couldn't do it. It was too difficult to concentrate when there were outfits to plan, conversations to rehearse, boys to flirt with, etc.

What was your favorite book growing up?
Catcher in the Rye. It felt as if J.D. Salinger was writing things he stole from my thoughts. Then I grew up and realized that everyone thinks that. Which is the beauty of that book.

What adjectives would you use to describe your book?
Frizzy. Funny. Feminine hygiene-ey.

What's your favorite beauty tip?
I haven't tried it yet, but I recently read about someone who drank a lot of water with fresh lemon juice. She says it made her skin look radiant. I would like my skin to look radiant. I just keep forgetting to buy the lemons.

What were your friends like when you were 13?
I went to private religious school. I think we were all a little late to the party. After the first and only time we ever played spin the bottle, my friend Carol called me and said "Now I've done it all."

Do you like tuna casserole?
Yes. My school served it for lunch. The problem was that whenever they served it, everyone would talk about how disgusting it was. So I couldn't eat it because I didn't want to be uncool. But I pined for it. I think in eighth grade I finally took a stand and ate some. But I got a lot of "eews" and never did it again.

Who did you have a crush on when you were 13?
Almost all the boys in my class. Even the weird science geek. There was a period when we would stay after school every day and have intense discussions. But during school hours, we never even talked to each other. It was if we had some kind of unspoken agreement.

Life motto?
I don't have one, but now that you mentioned it, I'm going to start looking.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 8, 2009

    Sequel

    I read The Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez in like 2.5 hours total. It was a awsome book and I am so glad that it has a sequel. I recommend this book if you like comedy, romace, and teen dramas.

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  • Posted November 19, 2008

    I Also Recommend:

    OMG

    This book is an awesome book! it was really worth my time to read it! IT IS SO ENJOYABLE!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2008

    LUV IT!!!!

    I found this book at the library and thought it looked really good, so i checked it out. After the first Chapter I couldn't put the book down!!!! I really laughed at the part with the poodle and the blue bra. It was an amazing book.I highly recommend it!!!Luv,Jeniya

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2006

    Awesomeness

    This book is mostly for teenagers it talks about a girls struggle to fit in it is so funny

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2005

    really kewl and funny

    This book was so funny and was a great way to start off the school year. I really felt bad for Raisin and the website is kewl! I would love to read a sequel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2005

    Hysterical

    this book is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo funny. esspecially the scene with the tampon. my best friends birthday is in july and i'm buying it for her.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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