Book Club: Dork Diaries – Crush Catastrophe

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Author: Rachel Renée Russell
ISBN: 978-1-4711-6801-7
RRP: $16.99
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

We all know that I’m not a fan of starting a series part way through but I made an exception for Dork Diaries Crush Catastrophe, this is book 12 in the globally bestselling series for tweens which is targeted for an audience from about 9 years old. My teen is a little past Dork Diaries and the boys weren’t really interested but I spent a fun afternoon with the book.

Dork Diaries is laid out a little like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series except it’s written by middle school dork Nikki Maxwell. Crush Catastrophe sees her rushing headlong to the end of the school year and looking forward to exciting summer plans.

I like the layout of diaries because the text is generally well spaced, the fonts are a little out of the ordinary and there are a wealth of illustrations to keep you interested.

I have to admit I was a little sceptical going in because this tween book is all about Nikki Maxwell and her crush Brandon. I still like to think that tweens are a little too young for crushes, but I realise I’m probably deluding myself.

Nikki has a little sister, an exuberant pup, 2 of the greatest BFF’s and Brandon, her good friend and crush. Nikki also has an arch nemesis, popular girl Mackenzie, who really doesn’t like her. I’m not sure of the back-story here but I think sometimes in middle school there are just going to be kids who don’t like you – there doesn’t have to be any logical reason. In fiction you need a nemesis to add conflict to your story, in middle school … well in middle school there’s just sometimes mean kids.

Diaries are a fantastic way to read and I think they can be very good for those who don’t like to read a lot because they are very much a stream of consciousness type genre, you get inside your lead’s head as they pour out their innermost thoughts and feelings in a way they wouldn’t to anyone else; you get to know them better than you can any other way but that does make secondary characters a little less three dimensional because you only see them through the eyes of the diary writer and, generally, in relation to the lead as opposed to off doing their own thing.

Nikki is looking forward to the end of the school year, and her time at middle school. Plans are in full swing for a huge summer with the groundwork being laid in the last few weeks of term. Until plans are thrown out of whack by a student exchange program with Nikki drafted to be an ambassador and host a visiting student for a week.

Dork Diaries is witty and fun, it’s relatable and addresses some of the issues facing kids at school these days. Nikki is faced with a cyber situation that sees her framed into a completely fictional story through the use of creative cropping and photoshop, a situation that is going to create friction with her crush as well as her BFF’s if they see the posts.

The best laid plans always hit stumbling blocks and for Nikki it’s that all her summer plans become possible but scheduling changes mean that instead of running back to back they clash and now she’s faced with the difficult decision of what to do, a decision made trickier by the knowledge that the summer plans of her friends also hinge on her decision.

The layout is great, the illustrations are eye-catching, the font is something a little unusual and the style is fluent. I am wondering whether I should go through again and count the number of times I read OMG or Squee but they certainly fit with the storytelling, and sounded like a tween girl thinking out loud.

I think this will be a definite hit with fans of the Dork Diaries series but it also stands alone convincingly so will be sure to attract a host of new fans if they join the series now.

For all of your Dork Diary needs you can find the series at and on Facebook.

Dork Diaries Crush Catastrophe is published by Simon & Schuster and is available through Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Simon & Schuster 10 of our Beauty and Lace Club members and their children will be reading Dork Diaries Crush Catastrophe so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below, and our reviews may be written by our young readers.

10 thoughts on “Book Club: Dork Diaries – Crush Catastrophe

  1. ‘Dork Diaries – Crush Catastrophe’ is an entertaining book to read. It focuses on the main character, Nikki Maxwell, who goes to Westchester Country Day School along with her crush, Brandon Roberts. Nikki is chosen to study abroad in Paris during her Summer break, but she also is chosen to have her band, Actually, I’m Not So Sure Yet, play in a concert, too! While she has to deal with all this drama, a new student, André, is studying abroad at Westchester Country Day with Nikki. Nikki becomes fascinated in André because he comes from Paris. Brandon thinks Nikki doesn’t like him anymore, and André discovers he loves Nikki, so Nikki is faced with a hard desicion: Brandon or André?

    I really enjoyed reading this book as I love the Dork Diaries series. I like how the author, Rachel Renee Russell, used words that a teenager would relate to and use in their everyday life. I would rate this book a 10/10 because I could relate to parts of this book and enjoyed laughing at the jokes in it.

    -Jemima Day, age 13.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Simon and Schuster for giving me this book to read.

  2. Ruby Randall age 8 (nearly 9) says:
    I loved reading Dork Diaries, I have read a few others from the series in the past and this one was the best so far.
    I thought it was really funny and entertaining I read it over 5 days.
    My favourite character was Andre because he was funny. I liked the part where people thought he was dating Nikki and he got others to take photos to prove it.
    The illustrations were great and I liked Daisy the dog.
    Thank you for letting me read and review this book. 5/5 stars.

  3. My daughterand I found this book extremely worth reading. We had quite a few laughs, like when daisy tried to make friends with a squirrel…. we haven’t read any of the other books in the series. Because we found it so enjoyable to read we have decided together to purchase the others. The pictures in this book are fantastic and really add to the written imagination. I recommend reading this dork diaries crush catastrophe it’s an awesome book

  4. When this book ‘Dork Diaries – Crush Catastrophe’ came up as a review option, my Miss 10 was thrilled. And even more so when we happily began reading it, thanks to the generosity of Simon & Schuster publishers and Beauty and Lace.

    I must admit the general story line was a bit of a concern for me, crushes on boys at primary ages. I wondered if the story line was going to be too adult for our Miss 10. However upon reading this book I realised it was a story of fun situations, funnier responses and quite harmless.

    It is set out like a diary but in a very basic format. Not too many long winded paragraphs for the kids to read. There’s fun pictures throughout with speech bubbles displaying emotional responses to situations. The story line isn’t just based on a ‘crush’ but ventures out to give us a rounded view of the main character’s (Nikki) life.

    I especially loved that this book allowed myself and Miss 10 to have quality time together as we shared in reading the pages.

    Our daughter just loved this book. She especially loved the easy layout as it’s a nice change from long chapter books. It was her first foray into Dork Diaries and she wants more for Christmas.

    I recommend this book for children. They’ll enjoy the ride!

  5. My nine year old daughter and I both read Dork Diaries – Crush Catastrophe and we both really enjoyed it. Lexi has read other books in the series before and so she was sooooo excited to get this one to review before any of her friends had seen it. She likes how easy the books are to pick up and put down and I thi k the pictures really break the task of reading up for her, which means that she is happy to read for longer. For me, I thought that the diary style and the use of different fonts and pictures was entertaining for a nine year old. I wondered whether talking about a crush was too ‘old’ for Lexi, but she seemed to take it in her stride and enjoyed it.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace for another great book to review and Lexi also says thank you and that she hopes she can review some more books next year >:o)

  6. My daughter hasn’t read any of these in this series but it gives a good quick background on Nikki and her friends.

    She LOVED this book. she found it so incredibly funny with all the different situations that Nikki gets into and how she over dramatizes everything. My daughter really loved how funny the mix up in the name of the new student was.

    There’s lots of pictures to really emphasis how funny all the situations are . Even I thought some of them were hilarious. the style of writing is very much on par with how many kids speak which makes it easier for my daughter to read too.

    Thank you so much for letting my daughter have this book for review, we will be looking into the others in the series now.

  7. First book mini me has read in the series and we both found it very entertaining. The language used was relate-able and easily read. Well illustrated, and depending upon how old your teen is – it suits ages 9 to 12 I would say.

    It does focus on crushes at school which as a mother I am dreading – lol . But the book wasnt relayed quiet so detailed and was just an overall fun read with lighter underlying story of Niki. With an easy layout and bubbles to read along the way it was certainly easy to scroll through with shorter chapters and the format of a diary .

    I recommend this book as a good insight into the series and a fun read with child of ages 9-12 .


  8. Caitlin age 9
    There is nothing ever wrong with the Dork Diary books! They’re all so funny, dramatic, and sometimes sad. I have many Dork Diaries books, but Crush Catastrophe was my favourite.
    The book is about Nikki, her crush and a new boy from North Hamilton Hill. I love this book so much! I love it because it has drama. I also really like that it has pictures that also help tell the story.

    Thank you for letting me read this book, I was very excited to get it and would recommend it to anyone around my age!!

  9. So much drama and way over the top but kids love drama and they will love this book!!!

    My daughters grew up on the dramas of the Kardashians and younger sisters Kylie and Kendall Jenner so young teens having their own reality TV show and angsting over trips to Paris is all pretty believable.

    The book spans two weeks of Nikki’s diary entries where every day she seems to have mini disasters, many of them featuring her cute and naughty dog Daisy.
    The story is not all written word. Part of the story is told in illustrations. Adorable black and white pictures that bring the story to life.

    With light themes of crushes on boys, cyber bullying, friendship and doing the right thing, most young girls will relate.

    Easily addictive, one book will not be enough; luckily Dork Diaries come in boxed sets.

    Suitable for ages 7 – 12 years.

  10. Ava, 10, says “I liked reading Dork Diaries, it was interesting and very funny. I especially like when she thought the new kid at school was a girl instead of a boy and said she was ‘hairier than a gorilla’.

    I’d like to read more Dork Diaries books and they are suitable for kids who like chapter books and like to laugh at funny things.

    Thank you for letting me read this book.”

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