Sunday, 27th December
Bah, humbug, ho ho ho.
What sort of Christmas is it when your present is pens and folders and lined paper to set you up for high school? Who wants to think about school now? And this book. It’s a journal. Mum says it’s to jot down notes and important dates like when assignments are due. Why think of that at Christmas?
This is the third instalment of Jillian’s diaries and now she’s finished with primary school and beginning high school. Each of the previous novels covered a year, as does this one. In her first diary, Jillian sought to be one of the princesses at school. Now, at the start of Year 7, the princesses are still around but joining them is no longer her aspiration. But she does want to fit in, to make new friends, to be popular. There are a few kids from her old school, her old friendship group, but they don’t necessarily fit her idea of high school friends. She finds a new friend, then discovers that she’s uncomfortable with some of the things her friend does. Although she initially finds her friend’s pranks funny, for her the joke soon wears off. Then she needs to decide just what’s important to her and what she will do to achieve her goals. To help and hinder her are her family, Mum, Dad, older brother Richard and younger brother Paul.
Jilly wants to fit in. But fitting in sometimes means compromising on the values you’ve grown up with, the values you live with. Jilly has an annoying older brother who sends her advice on calendar discard pages, a just-starting-school younger brother who needs looking after, a mother who wants her to be a girl, and a dad she can still talk to. She’s very lucky and part of her knows it. But it takes her setting aside her own woes and looking behind the behaviour of other people to really appreciate her family and the strong foundations she has. Jilly is a strong-minded, outspoken character with a wry humour and a good sense of right and wrong. Her diary is funny, insightful and affirming. It reads well as a stand-alone, although the title is a little misleading for this particular instalment. Recommended for upper-primary readers.
Diary of a Would-be Princess 3, Jessica Green
Scholastic Press 2010
review by Claire Saxby, Children’s Author
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