2013 · December

Review + Interview: The Dirt Diary by Anna Staniszweski


The Dirt Diary by Anna Staniszewski

January 7th, 2014 SourceBooks Jabberywocky

Received this ARC in exchange for an honest review via the Publisher


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Summary: After her parents’ divorce, eighth-grader Rachel Lee joins her mother’s new housecleaning business, which has her scrubbing bathrooms in her more popular classmates’ homes and learning useful secrets.

Thoughts on this book:

So far I am enjoying reading this book. I would recommend it for younger kids ages 14 and up though because of the writing and the fact that the main character Rachel is an eight grader. I think Rachel is an okay character because she is funny and I also like her friend Marisol. But sometimes I felt that Rachel was naive and immature when she thinks that her parents will get back together. Rachel is an amazing cook and she likes to make pastries, when she is upset baking helps her to relax. Her friend Marisol is a genius at creating amazing outfits from clothes that people would normally not buy. In school Rachel and Marisol are made fun of by the “popular girls” in her school due to an incident that happened in the past ( read this book and you will understand).

The main plot in this book is that Rachel is trying to get her parents back together and along the way she is working to earn money to pay back her college fund ( I am still lost as to how she got to withdraw money from her college fund without needing her mom’s permission). I do wish that for once in Rachel’s life she would stick up for herself and not let others make fun of her. Rachel would rather run away then confront others, which is not good at all( read this book and you will understand what I am talking about). Now I am halfway through the book and all I can say is Marisol is the greatest person ever! Marisol is strong and she isn’t afraid to say what she means.

Overall this was an enjoyable book and I would recommend it.

4 stars



1. When did you decide to become a writer?
I’ve wanted to be a writer for almost as long as I can remember. The more books I read as a child, the more I wanted to write them. In fact, when I was ten years old, I wrote a biography for a school project that declared I was going to grow up to be an author just like Judy Blume. 🙂
2. What is the hardest thing about writing?
Perfectionism! I don’t know about other writers, but I could keep working on a project forever, trying to get it just right. It’s a good thing I have deadlines, or I’d keep tinkering with my books for eternity. The perfectionist in me also hates drafting new projects because all I can see are the flaws. It’s always a relief to start revising a manuscript so I can make all those messy parts better.
3.For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I tend to bounce back and forth between paper books and ebooks. E-readers are especially useful for very thick books, but when I’m reading an ebook, I do miss the smell and feel of a paper book. I don’t think I could ever give up traditional books completely.
4. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Never give up! I know people say that all the time, but it’s so true. The writers I know who’ve gotten published are the ones who never ever ever stopped writing and improving their craft.
5. While you were writing, did you ever feel as if you were one of the characters?
My main character Rachel and I have a lot in common. She’s painfully shy and is always doing and saying the wrong thing, something my younger self could totally relate to! Rachel also loves spewing made-up words and phrases (Holy friend bananas!) just like I’ve been known to. It wasn’t hard to slip into her head while I was writing in her voice.
Anna Staniszewski


Born in Poland and raised in the United States, Anna Staniszewski grew up loving stories in both Polish and English. She was named the 2006-2007 Writer-in-Residence at the Boston Public Library and a winner of the 2009 PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award. When she’s not writing, Anna spends her time teaching, reading, and challenging unicorns to games of hopscotch. She is the author of My Very UnFairy Tale Life series, published by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. Look for the first book in Anna’s next tween series,The Dirt Diary, in January 2014, and visit her at www.annastan.com.


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