Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Review: Diary of a Parent Trainer by Jenny Smith

Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 12th, 2012


A must read novel for anyone requiring tips on how to control this bizarre species by (undiscovered) genius Katie Sutton - a fabulous, funny new teenage character who rivals Georgia Nicholson with her wit.

Katie is an expert on operating grown-ups. She knows exactly how to get the best out of them, so she decides to write a guide to help the world's long-suffering teenagers do the same.

But then Katie's mum starts dating the awful Yellow-Tie Man. Suddenly Mum is acting completely out of character and totally out of control! For everyone's sake, Katie needs to use all her expertise to get rid of him - and quick!
(Courtesy of Goodreads)

This book is classed as a YA title, but I don't think it is going to appeal to the majority of YA readers; I would class Diary of a Parent Trainer as a Middle Grade or Middle School read. It was a fun, very cute book, but it was definitely a bit on the juvenile side. I loved the Brit humor and the characters were just great. They were very real and the story, written as a series of diary entries, disguised as a "how to" for dealing with adults, was really funny, insightful, and much deeper than the synopsis and title imply. This book is more of a coming of teenage (it's a bit too young to be a "coming of age" novel) story that deals with not only what it's like to be a middle school aged girl, but one who is dealing with her mother dating someone after the death of her father. It has a really positive message that is masked with humor and wit, which is exactly how this type of book needs to be written if readers are going to get anything from from it. Tweens and teens don't want to be preached to, and this book never comes off that way; readers will absorb the message without ever realizing that it was there, and I LOVE that. Honestly, kids will have such a great time relating to all of the funny, very true, things that the protagonist observes about grown-ups, that they will never catch on that they are learning valuable life lessons at the same time. That said, there are a few mentions of "snogging" (the setting is in England), a spattering of language here and there, and some allusions toward sex (although no outright mentions), so some parents might not want their middle grade child reading this, and that is where I am struggling... Although I liked this book, I can't really say that it has a very wide audience, which is a shame. The average reader over the age of about 13 is going to think this is a kid's book, and they wouldn't be wrong. Because of this, my rating is reflective of what I would think if I were reading it as a person of the audience it is best suited (girls, ages 9-13).  As an adult reader, I would probably give it more like 3 stars.

My Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ 

Grade Level Recommendation: As I mentioned above, this is a book best suited for upper middle grades (4th or 5th) through about 7th grade. 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a cute read, but I agree.....probably too 'cute' for your typical young adult!


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