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by Anne Fine & illustrated by Kate Aldous

Age Range: 8 - 11

Pub Date: April 12th, 2007
ISBN: 0-374-33673-3
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

When a budding writer covets her neighbor’s diary, creative mayhem results. Iola has more ideas than she has time to write them down; Jennifer is something of a tabula rasa—which is why it’s just so unfair that Jennifer has a rainbow-colored diary with “a whole glossy blank page” for every day of the year. And when Iola spots it on the ground after school and takes it home, it’s only to be expected that she’ll write in it. The tale is told in Iola’s voice, every self-interested rationalization laid bare to the reader: “It was her own fault for getting back so late . . . I wrote in the diary because no one else was using it.” The juxtaposition between Jennifer’s mind-numbingly pedestrian diary entries and Iola’s imaginative pyrotechnics is nothing short of hilarious, if not a bit nice. The resolution is satisfyingly wicked, a celebration of the triumph of imagination, if not respect for private property. In literature, as in life, it’s something of a relief not to be nice every once in a while, and nobody walks this line better than Fine. (Fiction. 8-11)