Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life (Dork Diaries Series #1)

Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life (Dork Diaries Series #1)

by Rachel Renée Russell

Hardcover(Repackage)

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781416980063
Publisher: Aladdin
Publication date: 06/02/2009
Series: Dork Diaries Series
Edition description: Repackage
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 7,739
Product dimensions: 5.70(w) x 7.40(h) x 1.10(d)
Lexile: 890L (what's this?)
Age Range: 9 - 12 Years

About the Author

Rachel Renée Russell is an attorney who prefers writing tween books to legal briefs. (Mainly because books are a lot more fun and pajamas and bunny slippers aren’t allowed in court.) Rachel lives in Chantilly, Virginia.

Rachel Renée Russell is an attorney who prefers writing tween books to legal briefs. (Mainly because books are a lot more fun and pajamas and bunny slippers aren’t allowed in court.) Rachel lives in Chantilly, Virginia.

Read an Excerpt


FRIDAY, AT HOME, 6:05 A.M.

OMG!!

I just had the most HORRIFIC nightmare!

The worst in my entire life!

I’m soooo FREAKED OUT I can barely write this.

I’m having cold sweats, my heart is pounding, and my brain is … numb with such intense … anguish it feels like it’s about to, um … EXPLODE!

WHY?!

I DREAMED I LOST MY DIARY AT SCHOOL ?!!!!!!

YES!! At SCHOOL!! Like, how CRAZY is THAT?!

The weird thing is that it seems like it actually happened. Because as soon as I woke up, all these detailed memories came flooding into my head, making me feel even more confused.

I can’t imagine NOT writing in my diary! It’s like I’m addicted or something.

In my dream I was so desperate that I found Brianna’s old doodle book at the bottom of her toy box and started writing in that instead.

But mostly I was FRANTIC that someone would find my diary and read all the SUPERpersonal, SUPERembarrassing, SUPERsecret stuff about

AAAHHH!!

That was me screaming.

WHY?

Because if I’m writing in BRIANNA’S DOODLE BOOK, that can mean only one thing….

I LOST MY DIARY

AT SCHOOL

YESTERDAY ?!!

AAAHHH!!!

© 2011 Rachel RenÉe Russell

Reading Group Guide

Discussion Questions for:

Dork Diaries
By Rachel Renée Russell


Dork Diaries 1: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life

1. Nikki is starting at a new private school. How does she learn about the culture of the school and figure out who is trustworthy? Have you ever had to start over at a new school? If yes, how did it feel? If no, how do you think you would act the first few days?

2. When Nikki’s mom tells her she’s getting a back-to-school present that will help her “communicate her thoughts and feelings,” she is so excited because she thinks it will be a new cell phone. Instead, Nikki’s mom gives her a diary. Nikki is incredibly disappointed, not just because she didn’t get a cell phone, but also because she thinks a paper diary is outdated. Despite her initial resistance, Nikki ends up writing a lot in her diary. Do you think paper diaries are outdated? Would you rather share your thoughts and commentary about school life privately in a diary, or more publicly using an online forum such as a blog or social networking site like Facebook?

3. Nikki feels that her bedroom should be her own private space. At school, she, Chloe, and Zoey use the janitor’s closet for their meetings. Do you have your own bedroom or another special space that feels like it is all your own? If so, who makes up the rules for this special place? If you could have complete dominion over your space, what would be your top three rules?

4. At first, Nikki thinks Chloe and Zoey are kind of annoying, but she gets past her first impression of the pair when they all bond over their shared dislike of MacKenzie. As the story progresses and they become closer friends, we see more of their shared interests and also their differences. What do you think makes a good friend? How do the girls demonstrate these characteristics?

5. Sometimes family or close friends develop their own special ways of communicating through shared gestures and vocabulary, secret handshakes, and other signals. For Nikki, Chloe, and Zoey, the language of friendship already includes jazz hands, the stinkeye, and a lot of acronyms like CCPS (Cute, Cool, and Popular), 4Fs (Friends, Fun, Fashion, and Flirting), and GGG-ing (Giggling, Gossiping, and Glossing). Some of them come from magazines or popular culture, and some seem to be the girls’ own inventions. What are some of your favorite words, phrases, gestures, and inside jokes you share with your family or friends?

6. Do you think the “thank you for the oatmeal” note Nikki’s mom leaves is sincere, or is she trying to let Nikki know that she is on to her deception but forgives her? Either way, Nikki is very relieved that she’s not in trouble. Have you had a close call where you thought you were busted but ended up being just fine? What happened?

7. Several times when Nikki is writing about a conversation from earlier in the day, she includes her own very honest and blunt reply, then explains, “But I just say it inside my head, so no one really hears it except me.” When is it good to self-censor? When would it be better to speak up? How can we learn to tell the difference?


Dork Diaries 2: Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl

1. Nikki’s arch nemesis MacKenzie continues torturing her in this second Dork Diaries volume by calling her names, making fun of her clothes, and dissing her friends and artistic talent. Do you have an arch nemesis? What makes this person your ultimate rival? What would you do if you had lockers next to each other?

2. Nikki finds out that she won $500 in the Avant-garde Art Contest. She had originally planned to use the money to buy a cell phone, but decided instead to save the money for art camp next summer. If you won $500, what would you do with it?

3. Nikki admits that her major crush on Brandon has caused RCS (Roller Coaster Syndrome). What does this mean? Have you ever had this feeling when you are around someone you have a crush on? Does it impact your ability to talk to him or her?

4. Throughout the book, Nikki continually talks about how she is so unpopular, ranking herself lower on the WCD CCP Popularity Index Chart than the school janitor, school mascot, and head lunch lady. In fact, she calls her own diary the “Dork Diary,” and often refers to herself as a dork throughout the book. However, Nikki has several best friends and a popular boy has a crush on her. How do you define popularity? Who determines who is popular at your school? Do you think how you view yourself impacts how others view you?

5. Nikki’s mom always wanted to be a ballerina, so she signed up both her daughters for lessons, even though neither of them wanted to attend ballet classes. Have your parents ever forced you to do something you didn’t want to do? How did you respond?

6. During MacKenzie’s party, Jessica “accidentally” bumps Nikki’s plate of fruit and chocolate, causing the entire plate of food to spill all over Nikki’s new party dress in front of everyone. Out of embarrassment, Nikki leaves the party and doesn’t even take the opportunity to talk to her crush Brandon, as she is waiting around outside for her dad to pick her up. Have you ever been embarrassed by someone else in front of your peers? How did you handle it? If you could go back and respond differently, would you? What would you do differently?

7. In response to her little sister’s fairy phobia and constant pleas for a bathroom monitor in the middle of the night, Nikki comes up with a plan to banish the imaginary tooth fairy in Brianna’s room for good using a homemade repellent made with water, vinegar, tuna fish oil, sardine oil, and garlic. What’s the most unusual thing you have ever done to get your brother or sister to stop bothering you?

8. In Nikki’s own words, she was trying to “do it ALL” on Halloween, including paint faces at the ballet class Halloween party, attend the Halloween dance with Chloe and Zoey dressed as a bag of trash, and attend the Halloween dance as Brandon’s date, dressed as Shakespeare’s Juliet. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you took on too much at one time? Were you successful? How would you do it differently if you had to do it over again?


Dork Diaries 3: Tales from a Not-So-Talented Pop Star

1. Nikki discusses some of her fears in Dork Diaries 3. What was your biggest fear when you were little? What about now?

2. Why do you think Nikki’s parents decide to deliberately create Family Sharing Time? Does your family do anything like this? Nikki suggests her family do an extreme sport, like bungee jumping, together. What are some activities that you think would be good for Family Sharing Time? Why?

3. Nikki worries a lot about being seen doing things like dancing at Queasy Cheesy or getting dropped off in the roach van. Why can a situation be okay when nobody sees, but humiliating if observed? Why do we care?

4. Nikki doesn’t approach her mom about the video problem, her dad about the bug problem, or her friends about either problem. In the previous books, Nikki has also kept her problems to herself—even though her friends constantly prove loyal and helpful. Why doesn’t Nikki share her problems with others? Find three examples in the book that support your answer(s).

5. Language can be very powerful. Nikki and her friends decide to embrace the label “dork” when naming their band “Dorkalicious.” What happens when someone claims what might be considered a negative label, like “dork,” with pride?

6. Nikki writes that she is not jealous, because “How juvenile would THAT be?!” Her denial seems a bit too passionate to be believed, though. Do you ever get jealous even though you know you shouldn’t? How do you deal?

7. Nikki’s eccentric grandmother comes to visit for Thanksgiving. We learn that she belongs to an elderly Segway gang and takes road trips. If you have grandparents or older friends/family in your life, what do their lives look like? How are they similar to and different from Nikki’s grandma? What characteristic of theirs would you most like to possess when you get older?


Dork Diaries 3 1/2: How to Dork Your Diary

1. Take the “Discover Your Diary Identity” quiz in the book. Do you think the result accurately describes your personality? How would YOU describe your personality and habits? Is Nikki's suggested diary-keeping format (based on your quiz results) the one you would be most likely to use for keeping a diary? Why or why not? Can you think of any other ways someone could keep track of their daily thoughts, emotions, and activities?

2. Why do you think Nikki writes, “Make sure you write in your diary every single day” even if you lose the original diary and have to write in a spare notebook? Why is keeping a diary important?

3. Several times in this book, Nikki initially discounts her friends’ assistance and then is pleasantly surprised by the help and support they offer. For example, Nikki finally shares her problem with Chloe and Zoey and feels so relieved to have their help. When Nikki finally pays attention to the gift Brandon is trying to give her, it turns out to be really sweet and helpful. Have you ever discounted a friend's assistance at first and later accepted it? What happened? How did you feel?

4. Chloe goes Dumpster diving in search of Nikki’s diary. You’ve probably heard the saying that one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. If you cleaned out your old “junk,” unwanted gifts, and outgrown clothes to sell or donate, what kinds of things would you get rid of? What would you be delighted to spot at a garage sale or discarded at the side of the road?

5. Tongue-tied at being discovered in the boys’ locker room, Zoey blurts out a quote from former President Franklin D. Roosevelt: “Men are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of their own minds.” In his first inaugural address, FDR also said, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” What do you think these two quotes mean?

6. This whole book is about Nikki’s missing diary. What would you do if your diary went missing? Where would you look? Who would you blame? Even if you don’t keep a diary, imagine you discovered that everyone at school suddenly knew one of your biggest secrets. How do you think that could happen? How would you respond?


Dork Diaries 4: Tales from a Not-So-Graceful Ice Princess

1. Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed by the task ahead of you? What would it take for you to step up to a challenge that previously seemed impossible? What techniques can make a large task more manageable?

2. Nikki decides she must beg MacKenzie to skate in her place, so they’ll be able to earn money for Fuzzy Friends. Have you ever had to put your group’s success above your personal desires or your ego? Why? What did that feel like? If you haven’t ever done so, in what circumstances do you think you would? Would it be easy or hard for you?

3. Nikki loves Lady and the Tramp and easily imagines herself in the classic romantic spaghetti dinner scene. What’s your favorite movie from childhood? How could you imagine yourself in a scene? Describe the setting and any friends you would cast beside you. Would you tweak anything from the original script, or would it play out pretty much the same in your life?

4. Even though MacKenzie cheats and pulls all kinds of mean tricks on Nikki, Nikki explains that because she wants to “be nice and show good sportsmanship,” she chooses not to taunt MacKenzie about the competition results. How do you define good sportsmanship? Provide three examples each of good and bad sportsmanship.

5. MacKenzie’s behavior to Nikki and her friends throughout the Dork Diaries series could be considered not just bad sportsmanship but actual bullying. Have you ever been bullied or acted like a bully? Why do you think people bully others? What is the best way to respond to a bully?

6. Nikki feels like she can’t ask Brandon what his hug means because doing so would betray her interest, so she feigns nonchalance and overanalyzes inside. Have you ever wanted to know something but been embarrassed or afraid even to admit you wanted to know? What, if anything, did you do to try to find out the answer to your question?

7. Nikki keeps Brandon’s secret, and she doesn’t even tell him that she knows. If you discovered a big secret about one of your friends, what would you do?

8. Nikki and her friends help in the library and read a lot. Throughout the Dork Diaries series, they refer to various trends in literature, film, and popular culture, like vampires, werewolves, and zombies. What is your favorite current trend? Least favorite? Why?


Dork Diaries 5: Tales from a Not-So-Smart Miss Know-It-All

1. Nikki, Chloe, and Zoey each describe the characteristics for their ideal boyfriends. What would be the most important ingredients for your dream date? Why?

2. During their New Year’s Eve sleepover, the three girls play Truth or Dare. Which do you think takes more courage, sharing some information or doing some deed? Why? Why do you think this game remains popular over time?

3. The more Nikki considers all the ways MacKenzie has mistreated her, the more she thinks maybe Zoey is right that it’s time for payback. How can your friends affect your decision-making? Is there a line that, once crossed, would tempt you to seek revenge? Can you relate to Nikki’s description of ignoring the little voice of caution in your head? If so, how do you normally feel afterwards?

4. In the book, there is a list of positions on Nikki’s school newspaper available for new students. What role would you want on a school newspaper? Why? What role would you be least comfortable serving in, and why?

5. Nikki asks her best friends for advice. Their classmates write Miss Know-It-All for advice. Who can you ask for advice? Do you ask different people in different situations, or do you have one go-to person for most any problem? Does anybody come to you for advice? Why or why not?

6. Throughout the Dork Diaries series, Nikki has given many different kinds of gifts to her friends and family, including budget-saving handmade items, last-minute convenience presents, cherished items that are hard to share, and gifts that might also benefit her—like a dinner gift certificate for two. How do you decide what presents to give your friends and family? What’s the best gift you’ve ever given? The worst?


A Note for Teachers

This discussion guide is designed to help your students engage with the text through discussion in small or large groups. The discussion questions can also be used as writing prompts for independent work. The nature of the questions themselves, as well as the variety of suggested response formats and opportunities for interaction with peers, will help students develop proficiency in many of the College and Career Readiness (CCR) anchor standards for Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening, and Language.

Guide was written by Michele Gorman, author of Getting Graphic! Comics for Kids and Getting Graphic! Using Graphic Novels to Promote Literacy with Preteens and Teens.

This guide, written to align with the Common Core State Standards (www.corestandards.org) has been provided by Simon & Schuster for classroom, library, and reading group use. It may be reproduced in its entirety or excerpted for these purposes.

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Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life (Dork Diaries Series #1) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2114 reviews.
pretty_reading_girl More than 1 year ago
I got this book and my friend picked it up,read a page and said "I need this book".This book was brilliant with some humor added in there.I reccoomend this to the girls who read dear dumb diary but need something more advanced now.
Kooper Dawson More than 1 year ago
I loved this book it was super funny i recommend it to people ages 9 to maybe 15
KayleeCN More than 1 year ago
Best journal book out there for girls!The book is funny and is east to relate to!!! Great for girls of all ages!It will always be one of my favorites!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My daughter is 7 & just got this book she hasn't been able to put it down. She's very girly & liked the whimpy boy series but wished he was a she when we spotted this book it was great & she is enjoying every moment. I would recommend this to any little girl...
Balina More than 1 year ago
this book was very good. love the illustrations. Can't wait to read the next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bought for my 6th grade daughter to due her monthly book report on. She not only enjoyed it, but also had a blast reading it. She laughed throughout the whole book and is looking forward for the next one to come out.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dork diaries is a great and funny book. Its great for children around preteens. I really liked this book.
MustLoveBooks14 More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book yesterday, and it's really hard for me to put it down! The characters are cool, and Nikki, the main character, is a character that most likely all girls could relate to. The author (writing as Nikki), writes with charm and hilarity. The illustrations are super cute, and the whole diary-style set-up makes for a quick, entertaining read. I recommend this book to girls ages 11 and up. It's really good!
24girl More than 1 year ago
Eighth grader Nikki Maxwell candidly shares with us the journaling of her no-so-fabulous days at her new private school Westchester Day School. Nikki's father, being the new exterminator, earned her a scholarship to a school where she doesn't fit in with the rich and snobby CCP (Cute, Cool & Popular) clique led by the snarky Mackenzie. Nikki knows that in order to dazzle the new crowd into accepting her she needs a new iPhone but her `rents stubbornly refuse to buy her one. Her Mom even goes so far as to tell her that if she really wants one she'll have to save up and buy it with her own money. Ugh! Just when everything seems to be doomed the school announces a school-wide art competition where the first prize is $500!! Nikki knows she's totally got this since she's an artist with plenty art camp experience. Nikki runs to the school office to sign up and who does she run into??? None other than Mackenzie. No way is she brave enough to compete against the queen bee of WDS. Can she turn one disaster after another into triumph? Dork Diaries is simply fabulous! I've been in Nikki's shoes a time or two as I changed schools 8 different times while growing up so I can totally sympathize with being new girl on the block. At least my Dad didn't drive me to school with a giant roach on top of his van. The entire book is Nikki's diary filled with hilarious stories and amazing drawings (also illustrated by Rachel Renee Russell). It's the perfect read for young girls who agonize over not being part of the in-crowd like I used to. Nikki goes from the zero to a hero and then finally settles nicely into her niche as a typical teen. I recommend this read for all YA lovers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A must read,good funny book we can all relate to. (:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is an outstanding! Once you read it you cant stop!
jim tsai More than 1 year ago
I have read this book and it is amazing to me. It is one of my favorite books. I usually bring it every where!
Robert Tindell More than 1 year ago
This is an amazing book and im 9 and i would totly recomend this book
bobbyjpeace More than 1 year ago
i love this book it is awesome. it's a really good book. the author actually understands the reader. once you start reading the book you cant stop. it's just so interesting. I hope that there will be another Dork Diaries!!! :-)=)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
you should totally get it it is so awesome you can read it over and over!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Chloe Estes More than 1 year ago
This is the funieist book ever I rank it #1000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I feel sooo much like Nikki J. Maxwell!!! My life is almost exactly like Nikki's!!! This book is soooo realistic. Ok so I'm a 12 year old girl living a dorky life with cooku parents. I get bored one day and so I grab a book of my bookshelf and I started reading it and then BABAMM I am just like sucked into the book like dirt in a vacuum cleaner. And geuss what book I was reading. Yup. I was reading Dork diaries. I read and read and read that book to the end. And before you know it I have lots of friends,and a sweet boyfriend named Brad Decklin. My name is Mia Shelltek and life is great now and it is all because of Dork diaries.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!* *a lot
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a realy good book it talks about family relationships and school and what to except. So i reccomend this book to you my friend. Thanks for reading my review!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love dork diaries! It is like dairy of a wimpy kid for girls!!! I know its alot if of money but its worth it!!!!!!!! You will love dork diaries!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!p
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a greet book and if you read them you should start with the first book or you will not understand this book!
rmcclimond More than 1 year ago
When I first saw it Iwasnt so sure about the book but then as I was reading it was super funny
Mayline Outlaw More than 1 year ago
Best book ever read in life
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Who does mackenzie think she is.she is the dork not Nikki Nikki should be the most popular in school and still be niceso she could remain top all the time and now mackenzie on the other hand should be the biggest dork in the city i mean she may be a beaut but she could never beat the nicest in Nikki and mackenzie will ABSOLUTLY NOT EVER GET BRANDON NO MATTER HOW MUCH MAKE UP OR LIPGLOSS SHE BUYSOR JOW MUCH FLIRTING OR ASKING OUT BECAUSE BRANDON WILL ALWAYS LIKE NIKKI NEVER U MACKENZIE now i finaly pulled myself together now back to busniss i could give this book more than five stars i would do it the old fashion way go in between the & and - in the middle of top to bottom of 6 and ; got it? Okay now *****************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very funny for ages 7-10 :)