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The dirt diary / Anna Staniszewski.

By: Staniszewski, Anna.
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: Naperville, Illinois : Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, [2014]Copyright date: ©2014Description: 246 pages ; 19 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9781402286360 (paperback).Subject(s): Popularity -- Fiction | Schools -- Fiction | House cleaning -- Fiction | Dating (Social customs) -- Fiction | Diaries -- Fiction | Single-parent families -- Fiction | Young adult fictionDDC classification: 813.6 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.
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Item type Current location Collection Call number Status Date due
Teenage Fiction Davis (Central) Library
Teenage Fiction
Teenage Fiction STAN Available

Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

The first book in Anna Staniszewski's award-winning YA best selling book series: The Dirt Diaries!

A hilarious tale about the weight of responsibility that comes from a secret-filled diary...

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 orher 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...

"Holy fried onion rings! Fun from beginning to end."--Wendy Mass, New York Timesbestselling author of 11 Birthdaysand The Candymakers

The Dirt Diaries Series is the perfect... book series for girls aged 9-12 book series for middle school girls diarybook series for reluctant readers preteen gift for girls

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.

Excerpt provided by Syndetics

Chapter 1

"Rachel, what are you doing with that toilet brush?" Mom calls as she comes out of the house with a mountain of paper towels in her arms.

"Um, practicing?" I say, realizing I've been absently twirling the brush like a baton. I give it one more dramatic spin before chucking it into the back of our dented minivan. Really, I was distracted while calculating how much money I need to earn in the next month ($287.22) to keep from getting in huge trouble, but that is definitely not something I can admit to Mom.

"All right, are we ready for our first day?" she says as she slides the minivan door shut. She's grinning so widely that the skin by her ears is wrinkling.

I nod and try to smile back. I can't believe I actually volunteered to give up my Saturdays to inhale bleach, but my efforts will all be worth it in the end. Fingers, toes, and eyes crossed.

We pull out of the driveway and head toward one of the fancy housing developments across town. To stop my feet from nervously tapping in my sneakers, I focus on my baking plans for the weekend. My mission is to create the ultimate to-die-for brownie. If that doesn't get everyone's attention at the Spring Dance bake sale next month, nothing will.

"I'm so glad you changed your mind about working with me," Mom says, pushing her honey-colored bangs off her forehead. "It'll be nice to spend some time together again."

"Yeah, it'll be fun," I say, my voice high and squeaky. "I looove Windex!" I find myself doing what could be a cheerleading hand motion to show her just how excited I am.

Mom's eyebrows scrunch together, and I tell myself to calm down. Mom miraculously accepted that I'd suddenly changed my whole attitude about her new cleaning business in the span of two days. She cannot know the reason why.

"Just remember that we need to make a good impression today, so try to be friendly, all right?" she says, glancing over at me.

Something stabs at the pit of my stomach. "You mean, try to act normal."

Mom sighs. "Rachel, why do you have to be so down on yourself? You're going to be in high school next year. It's time to get some self-confidence." Mom has never had an awkward day in her life, so she thinks being freakishly shy is just something you can switch off like an infomercial.

"I do have confidence," I insist. At least, I do in my ability to make an amazing dessert. Dad always says my recipes are a little piece of heaven on a plate. I just hope heavenly is enough to get the most votes at the bake sale this year.

Thinking about Dad makes a familiar ache spread through my chest. Ever since he moved to Florida two months ago-right before Valentine's Day, no less-nothing has felt right. Even Mom, who usually tries to smile and plan her way through every crisis, has been acting totally weird for weeks. That's why I have to make my Get-My-Parents-Back-Together Plan work, even if it means scrubbing every toilet in town. Our family just doesn't make sense without Dad.

A few minutes later, Mom and I pull into a neighborhood of gigantic houses. All the lawns and bushes are blindingly green, even though it's only the end of April. For some reason, I imagine the neon grass tasting like kiwi. Would a kiwi brownie be too weird?

We stop in front of a stone monstrosity with two towers, one on each side of the house. I can almost imagine archers camped out in the towers, on the lookout for intruders. A tiny brook winds around the house and under a bridge at the end of the driveway. That's right: these people actually have a moat.

After I drag myself out of the car, Mom loads me up with some cleaning supplies. I glance down at the mop in my hands. "Mom?" I say, pointing to a label on the end of the handle with the word mop helpfully written across it. "Am I going to have to take away your label maker?"

I expect her to at least crack a smile the way she normally does when Dad pokes fun at her Type A personality, but she just grabs the rest of our things and locks the car. I guess now is not the time to bring up how crazy-face Mom has been getting since Dad left. At least she'll have other people's houses to psychotically organize from now on.

When we reach the carved wooden front door, I suddenly feel super self-conscious in my ratty jeans and faded sweatshirt.

"Holy fish tacos, Mom. How do you know these people again?"

"My boss is friends with Mr. Riley. They play golf together."

Wait, Riley? I spot a gold plate by the door with The Riley Residence carefully etched across it. My stomach goes cold.

"Do the Rileys have a daughter?" I whisper.

Mom's face lights up. "That's right! I forgot Briana was in your grade."

Oh. My. Goldfish. Briana Riley. I scanned Mom's list of cleaning clients before we left the house. How did I not notice Enemy #1's name on it? I have to get out of here. If Briana sees me like this, it'll be even worse than the Fake Boyfriend Troy fiasco. That whole mess gave Briana enough ammo to use against me for months.

But before I can move, the door swings open and a guy about my age smiles back at us.

"Hi there!" Mom says in the chipper voice she uses to answer phones at the law office where she works. "I'm Amanda Lee, and this is my daughter, Rachel. We're here to make your house spotless!" She lets out a little laugh that sounds like a hysterical chipmunk.

I expect the guy to at least raise an eyebrow at the idea of Mom and me being related, since we look nothing alike, but he just says, "I'm Evan Riley. Come on in."

"Is your mother here?" Mom asks as she files into the foyer. I scurry after her, keeping my eyes down. I just have to get in and out of here without making a fool of myself.

"I'm the only one home," says Evan. "But I think she left a list in the kitchen."

"Great! We'll start there," Mom chirps.

Holy fried onion rings. I can't believe I'm in Briana Riley's house! And this has to be her twin brother. I've heard he goes to a private school for geniuses. So far, he seems a million times nicer than his sister. No one's ever mentioned how cute he is.

The minute the thought goes through my head, my face ignites. Why can't I even think a guy is good-looking without getting embarrassed about it? Of course, Evan isn't as cute as Steve Mueller. No one is. Steve Mueller is the hottest guy in the eighth grade, probably in our whole town. Unfortunately, as of a couple months ago, he's also Briana Riley's boyfriend.

"Rachel, come on," Mom calls, already down the hall.

I realize I'm still standing in the foyer, staring at Evan with my mouth open and practically drooling on myself.

He looks back at me with an uncertain smile. I can't help noticing that his eyes are the same shade of green as his Celtics jersey. "Are you okay?" he asks.

I try to nod and move forward at the same time, but that just makes me lose my balance. I stumble forward and-


The mop and broom fly out of my hands and land on the floor, followed by several bouncing rolls of paper towels.

"Booger crap!" I cry, stooping to gather everything up. Wait, did I just say that out loud?

"Here, let me help," says Evan. As he kneels beside me, I catch the scents of peppermint and laundry detergent. "Did you just say booger crap?" he adds.

I nod, mortified. Why do Dad's goofy swears always have to pop out of my mouth at the worst times?

But Evan laughs as he gets to his feet, his arms full of paper towels. "That's funny. I think I might have to use that sometime."

I try to say "okay," but for some reason it comes out in slow motion. "Ohhhhkaaay." This is even worse than the one time I tried to talk to Steve Mueller!

Evan just laughs again, in a way that makes me think he isn't laughing at me. He grabs one of the rolls of paper towels and balances it on top of his head as he walks alongside me. I can't help smiling.

When we get to the Rileys' kitchen, I almost drop everything all over again. Every surface gleams like it's covered in nonstick cooking spray. If we had this kind of kitchen at home, I'd be able to bake all the time without Mom complaining that I'm taking up too much space. I mean, they actually have three ovens!

"Thank you, Evan," says Mom, rushing to take the cleaning supplies from him. "We don't want to be in your way, so just pretend we're not here."

He shrugs. "I'll be in my room if you need anything. Don't worry about cleaning in there today." Then he glances at me and flashes a crooked grin. "See you later, Booger Crap."

Great. Perfect. Just the kind of nickname you want a guy calling you.

Ten minutes on the job, and I've already made a total fool out of myself. At this rate I won't even survive until lunch.

Excerpted from Dirt Diary by Anna Staniszewski All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Publishers Weekly Review

Confidently addressing a number of common tween troubles that include bullying, parental divorce, and peer pressure, Staniszewski (the My Very UnFairy Tale Life series) introduces a determined eighth-grader desperate to get her separated parents back together in this humorous problem novel. It isn't the love of bleach and toilet brushes that drives Rachel Lee to help her mother with her weekend cleaning business. Rachel needs money fast to replace the $300 she borrowed from her college-fund account in order to visit her father in Florida and "talk some sense" into him, hoping to persuade him to come home. One unexpected bonus of her new job is gaining access to the homes of some of her classmates. While cleaning up their messes, Rachel discovers a few dirty little secrets-ammunition that could bring her extra cash, win her the notice of the boy of her dreams, and take down her A-lister nemesis. Predictably, Rachel's schemes cause more pain than gain, but readers will likely forgive her errors in judgment as she sincerely attempts to make amends. Ages 10-14. Agent: Ammi-Joan Paquette, Erin Murphy Literary Agency. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Fourteen-year-old Rachel's parents separated, her father moved to Florida, and she stole from her college fund to pay for a plane ticket to visit him. She hopes to win the hundred dollar award at the Spring Dance bake sale, but as another way to earn back the money she volunteers to help her mother with her new business, cleaning houses. When Rachel realizes that their first client is Briana, the most popular girl in her class and Rachel's enemy, things feel as if they can't get much worse. Writing notes in her diary about "the dirt" she learns about her classmates while cleaning their homes makes her feel better, as do baking and creating new recipes. Despite Briana's weekly creative cleaning tortures, Rachel finds herself developing a relationship with the girl's twin brother, Evan. Her friend Marisol, a fashion whiz, provides much-needed emotional support, but when they have a fight and rumors start flying that could only have come from the diary, she has to figure out how to stand up to Briana and come to terms with some unhappy truths about her family. Although Rachel's situation and feelings ring true, she often comes across as selfish and whiny. Her character is redeemed when she finally faces the truth about her parents, makes amends with Marisol, and finds a way to face Briana. This realistic read is likely to appeal to middle schoolers and reluctant readers.-Kefira Phillipe, Nichols Middle School, Evanston, IL (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Booklist Review

Rachel, 14, has a secret. She has taken money from her college savings to buy a plane ticket to Florida, where she hopes to convince her dad to return home. To cover up the expense, Rachel begins accompanying her mother to clean houses, many of which turn out to belong to her classmates' families. As Rachel learns that everyone has secrets, she starts keeping The Dirt Diary. Rachel is a naive, likable girl who loves to bake and is prone to startling exclamations such as, Oh my goldfish! Her story teeters on the outlandish while covering some truly painful events. As Rachel stubbornly ignores the signs that her father has gone for good, she comes to realize that none of her friends has a perfect life. The secondary characters are nicely developed, as is Rachel's natural emergence from simplistic, wishful thinking to a more nuanced understanding of life. Staniszewski, the author of the My Very UnFairy Tale Life books, begins another appealing series that promises more goofball humor blended with the real issues of early adolescence.--Colson, Diane Copyright 2010 Booklist

Kirkus Book Review

What could be worse than cleaning other people's toilets on the weekends? Cleaning the toilets of the two most popular girls in eighth grade, that's what. Rachel Lee needs to raise $300 fast, having stolen it from her college fund to buy a ticket to Florida to convince her father to return to the family. In order to pay her fund back before her mother finds out, she enlists as a helper in her mother's new cleaning business. As she gains access to the bedrooms of some key people in her middle school, Rachel makes some decisions that come back to haunt her, escalating the very problems she is trying to solve. After causing untrue rumors to start and accepting money to spy on someone, Rachel finally learns that honest conversations with parents and true friends seem to be the best tonic. And yes, the mean girls are really mean--but Rachel discovers reasons for that as well. Although most of the issues that confront Rachel seem two-dimensional, Staniszewski neatly captures the pain of a shy young girl with newly separated parents. Written in Rachel's voice, the plot is predictable and the language simple. The quick pace and creative storyline will attract those in the mood for an undemanding, light read. (Fiction. 10-14)]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.