Review: The Prank List by Anna Staniszewski

Monday, June 2, 2014
Title: The Prank List
Author: Anna Staniszewski
Genre: contemporary, middle grade
Series: The Dirt Diary #2
Pages: 256
Published: expected July 1, 2014
Source: publisher via NetGalley
Rating: 3 out of 5

Rachel never thought she'd fight for the right to clean toilets, but she has to save her mom's business. Nothing can distract her from her mission - except maybe Whit, the cute new guy in cooking class. Then she discovers something about Whit that could change everything. After destroying her Dirt Diary, Rachel thought she wasdone with secrets, but to save her family's business, Rachel's going to have to get her hands dirty. Again

Reviewed by Danielle

The Prank List is a really cute, contemporary middle grade, that unfortunately I couldn’t connect with.

My first problem was I didn’t read The Dirt Diary. (C’mon Goodreads, lets get that series information updated a little faster next time.) The Prank List did a pretty good job of filling me in on Rachel and her past scheming, but there’s no character development for any of her previously introduced friends or enemies.

My second issue is an overstuffed plot. Rachel is a middle schooler who dreams of becoming a pastry chef, so she takes a course in baking, but the instructor hates her and causes a crisis of faith in her abilities and there’s a baby love triangle with the cute guy in her class and also her mom’s cleaning business is in trouble and her recently divorced parents might be getting back together and…

I found it to be too much for such a short book. Everything was very surface level. I’ve read a lot of deep MGs, so it’s not the age range; the book just isn’t substantial.

Now I do like Rachel, she’s sweet and she really tried to make things right with her mom’s business. Some of the pranks were funny and seemed like the things a 12 year old would think of. I loved the lesson about not being afraid of change and the pastry competition. The climax was fine, if a little predictable.

Unfortunately, “fine” and “cute” are the only words really running through my head. It’s not a series I’d steer my nieces to or away from, and it’s not one I’ll seek out in the future.


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