Monday, July 14, 2014

MMGM: My Explosive Diary by Emily Gale


Meet Eliza Boom; assistant inventor, junior spy, and full-on fantastic; as she tells all in this first book of a chapter book series packed with jokes, doodles, and dear-diary secrets!

Eliza Boom is having a blast. Her father is an inventor who makes gadgets for spies, and Eliza is his unofficial assistant; very unofficial.

Eliza knows if she can just build that one indispensable thing that every secret agent needs, she can be a full-fledged spy herself, but somehow her inventions keep going wrong. Still, with her best friend (well, dog), Einstein, she's not going to give up.

When Eliza's father loses a top-secret roll of film, Eliza realizes that she might have accidentally given it to class bully Zoe Wakefield, the Queen of Mean. Eliza's got to retrieve the film, which Zoe is using as a hair bow, before enemy spies get to it. Luckily she's got Einstein as well as her own brand-new assistant (and friend), Amy, to help her.

Can these three would-be 007s get the film, stop the spies, and get revenge on the class bully? There's only one way to find out; and that's to read Eliza's diary!


I can't say that I really loved this book, but I can see young middle graders enjoying the silliness, especially if they aren't quite ready for Dork Diaries or Ellie McDoodle.  The numerous illustrations are vital to the story making this a graphic novel in my book. And graphic novels are really popular these days.

I did like some things about the book, the fact that Eliza is an inventor, for example.  We need more books with girls doing science and math related activities.  Eliza's persistence in inventing even when most of her inventions don't work right is admirable if a bit destructive.  The bully is quite irritating which she's supposed to be while Amy, Eliza's new friend provides a nice touch.

The whole spy aspect is absurd but I don't see it bothering the target audience, especially since the story is about a real little girl saving the day, not with superpowers but with her brains and courage.  A fun, light read perfect for younger readers and reluctant readers.

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