Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez

Goldschmidt, J. (2005). The Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez. New York, NY: Penguin Group.

Plot Summary:
Raisin Rodriguez is not having the best year of her life. She was happily living in Berkeley, CA with her mom and dad and little sister, when her parents decided get a divorce. Then, her mom falls in love and gets married to her business partner. Next thing Raisin knows she's moving all the way to Philadelphia to live with her new stepdad and stepsister. Raisin is miserable in her new town, she misses her two best friends, doesn't like her older stepsister, and only knows one person at school, a freckle-face son of a friend of her stepdad's. In an effort to keep in touch with her best friends Raisin begins a blog where she discusses every single detail of her life in Philadelphia, including the all the tragic details of her trying to become friends with the popular girls of her school. Just when things start looking up for Raisin, her blog gets leaked to the rest of the school, how will she be able to face all of her schoolmates once they know all the awful things she's said about them and embarrassing things she's admitted about herself?

This book is like the Bridget Jone's Diary for tweens. At times the book can be over the top with silly antics and funny scenarios, and yet Raisin is a girl dealing with real issues, common to girls her age. Raisin's parents just went through a divorce, she had to move across the country to live with a new family and leave behind all of her friends. She is having self-identity issues at the new school, wanting so badly to be popular, but not quite achieving that status. I felt that the narrator's silly and at times annoying antics were too much and covered up a lot of the real issues involved in the plot and she can be a bit of a bully. But, the book's intent was obviously meant to be more entertaining, with a bit of a moral thrown in. In the end it seems Raisin has turned over a new leaf, yet she continues to write negative things about her new friends on her blog.

realistic fiction

Reading Level:
Ages 10 - 13

Similar Books:

diary, divorce, popularity, self-identity, friendship

Character Names/Descriptions:
Raisin Rodriguez: 12 year-old girl; just moved from Berkeley, CA to Philadelphia after her parents divorced and her mother remarried; has only one friend at her new school; longs to be popular; keeps a blog
Claudia and Pia: Raisin's best friends from Berkeley; are the only ones privy to reading her blog; make comments on the blog
Jeremy Craine: son of Raisin's stepdad's friend; only person Raisin knows at school; talks too loud; has freckles; is really nice to Raisin, even if she isn't always nice back; likes Fiona
Fionas and Haileys: group of popular girls named the "Fiona and Haleys" by Raisin consisting of Fiona, Hailey, Madison, and Bliss; all carry a red bag with pink monogrammed initials; do not want Raisin in their clique

Outcast and alone at a new school, Raisin writes a blog in an effort to keep in touch with her best friends now on the other side of the country. But once the blog leaks out to her new school, all the work Raisin has done to gain popularity is in jeopardy of being ruined.

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