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The Rachel Riley Diaries: My (Not So) Simple Life, is the fourth in the seven book series about Rachel Riley by Joanna Nadin.


Regular readers will know that I discovered this series back to front, being sent the last one to review by Amazon, and absolutely loving it. I rushed out and purchased the entire rest of the series on the strength of it.

I am, unlike my normal reading habits, forcing myself to read through the series very slowly. Firstly I know there is little chance that there will be more of them. They have clearly reached a natural end point in the series, and secondly, the writer I was relying on to see me through in terms of this type of literature, Louise Rennison, died this year. Nadia’s work is much more varied and wide ranging and has taken a serious and enthralling turn in some areas. It seems clear that she has left Rachel Riley far behind her for now.

I had read Louise Rennison’s Georgia Nicholson series first, and when I picked up Nadin’s series about Rachel Riley I was reminded very strongly of them. It’s not that I think either is plagiaristic, they are both teenage diary series and as such share a lot in common, it’s that I found similar things to admire and love in both series.

Rachel Riley is a slightly older, more explicit version of Georgia Nicholson. Her life as a wannabe Bohemian, literary type, is squashed by the fact that she lives in Saffron Walden, and her mother is a woman obsessed by cleaning products and middle class aspirations. There can be no bohemianism amongst the Stain Devils and Duchy Original biscuits. Rachel feels very hard done by, and we are treated to the trials and tribulations of her year with a difficult family and her complicated love life, which is more fervently lived in her imagination than it is in real life.

I’m not going to spoil the book. There are equal delights in rediscovering your relationship with all the characters Nadin has been building throughout the series, and new ones that make their appearances, as well as the every day trials and tribulations of Riley. I will say that I absolutely loved her brother’s attempts at ghost busting and the story about the vacuum cleaner made me cry with laughter. I shall leave the rest for you to discover.

Start with book one,they get better as the series progresses.

These are absolutely books for teenagers, dealing as they do with all kinds of inappropriate jokes, teen sexuality and a frankness about sex that isn’t going to wash for the under elevens. These are also absolutely books for girls, which is a shame, as they’re so funny and it would be wonderful to share the jokes, but it would take a lot, I think, to get a boy to read them.

I’m saving volume five as a treat.