Dork Diaries 4: Tales from a Not-So-Graceful Ice Princess
Middle school is hard enough, as Nikki Maxwell knows, without a pesky sister and a snotty rival always around to make matters worse. But try adding the pressure of a charity event to help out the family business of your not-so-secret crush and a world famous ice-skating diva, and you have the makings of a funny addition to the Dork Diaries series.
"Written in diary form with line drawings, Russell’s bestselling series is silly and sweet with just a touch of hardness.... This fourth installment will surely prove to be a reader-pleaser for dorks and non-dorks alike."
In TALES FROM A NOT-SO-GRACEFUL ICE PRINCESS, eighth-grader Nikki is still spending lots of time writing and drawing in her diary, but she’s spending more and more time with the cute and nice Brandon. In fact, the book begins with Brandon calling Nikki for the first time ever, a call only slightly marred by Nikki’s six-year-old sister Brianna answering the phone. It is December, and Nikki, like all the kids at her school, is looking forward to the holidays. When she and her best friends Chloe and Zoey have a chance to raise money for a good cause in an ice-skating show, it gives them even more to look forward to. However, they are not sure who to raise the money for, and more importantly, Nikki can’t ice skate!
When Nikki learns Brandon is involved at a fantastic animal shelter in danger of closing, she and her BFFs decide to skate for Fuzzy Friends. But that doesn’t keep Nikki on her feet in the rink. And when celebrity skater and notorious mean girl Victoria Steel comes to coach all the skaters, Nikki realizes how hard winning the money and ensuring Fuzzy Friends’ survival will be.
As the charity event approaches, Nikki becomes more and more stressed about Brandon, the Holiday on Ice show, and the future of Fuzzy Friends. Not helping matters are Brianna’s mischief and bully MacKenzie’s attempts to thwart all of Nikki’s efforts. After hijinks and hilarity, Nikki comes out okay: she still has her best friends, her little sister proves pretty good to have around, and she is on her way to Brandon’s birthday party.
Written in diary form with line drawings, Russell’s bestselling series is silly and sweet with just a touch of hardness. Though the conflict between Nikki and MacKenzie is characterized by cruel remarks (and in this book at least one dangerous situation), the relationship between Nikki and Brandon remains innocent and age appropriate. There is nothing too deep happening in TALES FROM A NOT-SO-GRACEFUL ICE PRINCESS, but depth isn’t really the point. The story is predictable and relatable, humorous and sometimes painfully honest about the trials, tribulations, confusions and joys of early adolescence. This fourth installment will surely prove to be a reader-pleaser for dorks and non-dorks alike.
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on July 28, 2012