The Extremely Embarrassing Life of Lottie Brooks. Katie Kirby

3 stars for this children’s book in diary format.

This children’s novel introduces us to Lottie Brooks, aged eleven and three quarters, who will start high school after the summer holidays. Lottie has started writing a diary in the hope it will be like having someone to talk to, as her best and only friend Molly has just emigrated to Australia. We meet Lottie’s family and pet hamsters, and learn about her fears and insecurities – about fitting in at high school, about making new friends, and about puberty which she both dreads happening and wishes would happen immediately.

The mistakes Lottie makes in her desire for friendship are clearly signalled: at high school, she goes against her instincts in an attempt to fit in with the fashionable, mean girls of the story, and she drops a real friend, but she manages to turn things around as she grows in understanding and confidence. The novel ends with Lottie recording in her diary the importance of being yourself rather than who you think others want you to be.

The self-deprecating wit of Lottie’s diary entries is complemented by humorous stick-figure cartoons running through the pages. Its themes are generally covered in sensible, helpful ways. I really wanted to like this book but for me personally (as an adult, obviously not the demographic at which the book is aimed), it all felt a touch too workmanlike, lacking spark and authenticity.

Nevertheless, I can see that this novel would be a useful recommendation to girls nervous about starting secondary school, and I can imagine it being popular with those who have outgrown the Daisy Meadows fairy series.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read this book in return for an honest review.


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