Rachel Renee Russell
Simon and Schuster
THE publishing phenomenon that is Dork Diaries is part of an exploding genre which shows no sign on abating.
Anyone with children under the age of 12 will be aware of the confessional style of writing for the youth market, typically including a liberal scattering of doodled, cartoony illustrations through the text.
For the uninitiated, Dork Diary (ten books into the series and still going strong) centres on the life and times of 14-year-old Nikki Maxwell.
Nikki feels completely out of place in the swish school that she attends on account of a scholarship arranged by her father as part of the deal he negotiated as the institution's bug exterminator.
Nikki has a sworn enermy, MacKenzie, and a crush on Brandon. Those and other characters inform much of the content of this fish out of work. The idea has clearly struck a chord with millions of girls who identify with a character whose parents are a constant source of embarrassment.
Author Rachel Renee Russell has said that the series was inspired by her own middle school experiences as well as those of her two daughters, Erin and Nikki.
Her older daughter, Erin, helps with writing and while Nikki helps with illustrations.
The family affair has been a winning formula with the book hitting the New York Times bestseller list for months at a time and being translated into many languages around the world.
The starter kit is an enticingly packaged collection which includes the 288-page book which started the phenomenon as well as a suitably adorned pen, door hanger, stickers and a diary for Nikki fans to write their own journals.
The branded product offers a template for Dork buffs to put their own stories into words and pictures. Of course they could do this easily enough with an old school jotter or self-customised diary and pen. But that won't stop this being an OMG! head-turner for the convert to the dorky cause.