Thursday, April 23, 2015

Catie Conrad: Faith, Friendship and Fashion Disasters (Desperate Diva Diaries Series)

Fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid or The Dork Diaries series will likely enjoy Angie Spady’s Christian version, The Desperate Diva Diaries. This first book, Catie Conrad: Faith, Friendship, and Fashion Disasters, introduces the reader to middle school student Catie Conrad. Catie is not terribly athletic (she hates P.E.) and a bit socially awkward (especially when she smiles with broccoli stuck in her teeth), but she does have a creative streak (art is her forte) and a sharp eye for fashion.

In the pages of her diary, Catie gives the reader the details of her life: daily struggles with her annoying little brother and his pet skunk, numerous run-ins with a popular but mean girl, and the regular teenage drama—like boys and zits. Catie also shares her prayer list and various verses of the Bible that inspire her to be a better person. Things foremost in Catie’s mind are the upcoming school dance, boy crushes, the art contest she hopes to win, and a family mission trip.

Visually, the pages of the book are lined like a real diary and filled with concise entries. Because each day is a new adventure, the story moves along at a fast pace. There are also frequent (and sometimes funny) cartoonish sketches of people or situations in her life, the skunk, and fashion designs. Since Catie dreams of becoming a fashion designer, she focuses in on brands and clothing styles she enjoys.

What I Like: Because of its style (short entries, fun pictures, fast pace) I think this book will appeal to tweens who are both avid and reluctant readers. The content is clean and the chapters often swing back to focus on God with a short thought about adding things to a prayer list or a helpful verse. These books may even encourage teens to keep their own diaries. My favorite character was her best friend Sophie, who was loyal, encouraging, and down-to-earth.

What I Dislike: Catie’s character was fun but lacked depth for me, which made her “struggles” seem superficial. She began to emerge a little (I thought) as a more complex and believable character when she finally started thinking about others and the larger world in general rather than herself. However, that third dimension came fleetingly and later in the book. Maybe the next book will dive into that aspect a little bit more. But it's a clean, light hearted book, which holds its own merit. Some kids will love it, some will prefer Diary of a Wimpy Kid or The Dork Diaries, but it's definitely worth checking out!

Overall Rating: Very Good.
Age Appeal: 8-12 years
Publisher Info: B&H Kids, 2014; ISBN:  978-1433684609; Hardback/Kindle, 304 pgs., $12.99

Buy it Now at for $9.99 or buy the ebook for $5.99
OR Buy it at for $11.69
OR Buy the Kindle version for $5.99.

Special Info: Readers might enjoy the second book in the series, Catie Conrad: How to Become the Most (un)Popular Girl in Middle SchoolYounger readers might enjoy this author's popular $5.99 Channing O'Banning series for ages 7-9, which include Channing O'Banning and the Turquoise Trail , Channing O'Banning and the Tickled Pink Pencil Problem , Channing O'Banning and the Rainforest Rescue or their $3.99 Kindle versions at Channing O'Banning and the Turquoise Trail and Channing O’Banning and the Rainforest Rescue.

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