Available now (Aug. 2011)
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review
In the tradition of the mega successful DIARY OF A WIMPY KID and DORK DIARIES comes Niko Taylor, a school bully who must keep a journal to right all the wrongs he has done, but Niko, being a habitual trouble-maker, has other ideas. Niko Kaylor, the terror of his middle school, doles out wedgies and collects money he doesn’t need. When he is forced to begin keeping a journal of his activities to curb his bullying ways, he secretly turns his diary into a how-to guide for bullies. Now, against the wishes of his peers, Niko plans to conquer his middle school and teach everyone a lesson in bullying, including his teachers.
First off, I must put out there that I know I’m not the target audience for this book. I didn’t enjoy it nearly as much as the student who’s currently reading it is. It was quite humorous in parts — the cartoons were great! I enjoyed the “Bully Hall of Fame” (Santa, Garfield, Napoleon) and “Bullying Threat Levels”, as well as the lighter practical jokes (fart-scented paper airplanes).
But Niko didn’t learn anything, didn’t really change throughout the story. There were hints of possible transformation but, in the end, he reverted to his old behaviors and didn’t learn a thing. I would have liked to see him learn something through his journal or from his encounters with bigger and badder bullies, instead of deciding he needed the upper hand. It could have been a subtle moral-to-the-story, without shoving it down the reader’s throat, but that didn’t happen. A wasted opportunity.
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