Review: The Dirt Diary by Anna Staniszewski

the dirt diary by anna staniszewski

WANTED: Maid for the most popular kids in 8th grade.

Cleaning up after the in-crowd gets Rachel all the best dirt.

Rachel can’t believe she has to give up her Saturdays to scrubbing other people’s toilets. So. Gross. But she kinda, sorta stole $287.22 from her college fund that she’s got to pay back ASAP or her mom will ground her for life. Which is even worse than working for her mother’s new cleaning business. Maybe. After all, becoming a maid is definitely not going to help her already loserish reputation.

But Rachel picks up more than smelly socks on the job. As maid to some of the most popular kids in school, Rachel suddenly has all the dirt on the 8th grade in-crowd. Her formerly boring diary is now filled with juicy secrets. And when her crush offers to pay her to spy on his girlfriend, Rachel has to decide if she’s willing to get her hands dirty…

Description taken from Goodreads.


No less than two years ago, I did an awesome guest post with Anna Staniszewski on Tweens Read Too. FINALLY, I read this book, and I regretted not reading it earlier.

I’ll start off with the bad parts this time. All of them were minor things that irritated or irked me in the smallest of ways, but are still worth mentioning.

The first is the ridiculous curses. Stuff like “holy moly batman” and “what the banana” doesn’t fly with me. I don’t it flies with anyone, but that’s beside the point.

The second is the diversity thing. These days, I feel like diversity is becoming a mark on a checklist rather than something that actually matters. Sure, Rachel is half Korean. That’s great. Represent, you know. But her ethnicity has absolutely nothing to do with the story, from the food to the characters to the world. I love Anna Staniszewski, but by no means would I recommend reading this because the main character is “diverse”.

The third is Rachel’s rashness. I actually get this, so it wasn’t too much of a problem for me. It had to do more with the character and less to do with the writing of it all.

And the characters weren’t bad at all. I fell in love with many of them, especially Rachel. She’s impulsive and she swears with swears one should not be using beyond the age of 5, but she works hard and she takes responsibility for her mistakes. I sympathized with her, and I loved the fact that she’s a baker.

The other characters were, admittedly, a bit one-dimensional. I didn’t mind this too much. They had all defining traits, and it was easy to keep them straight. Staniszewski also does some character development toward the end of the novel, speaking the message that people aren’t always what they seem like they are. I appreciated that, and it was done in a pretty flowing way with the rest of the novel.

All in all, a great read. It gets to be a little too much at times, but the plot was great, and the characters won me over. I really enjoyed Rachel’s family dynamics and her narration as the MC. The ending was also pretty satisfactory. Will recommend and read the other books (more quickly this time!) 3.5 stars.

pg count for the paperback: 246

Series: The Dirt Diary #1

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