Books: The Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez

The Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez
Judy Goldschmidt
2005

This is a fun new book from Razorbill, an imprint of the Penguin group and specializes in teen and “tween” books. It’s in the form of a blog, complete with comments from Raisin’s friends, written by a very vivacious and opinionated 13-year-old girl. Raisin begins the blog to keep in touch with her friends in Berkley, CA after her mother remarries and moves the family to Philadelphia. She discusses everything from beauty tips to personal feelings and opinions about her classmates. The book is fun to read and feels like a real girl’s blog, full of very real reactions and emotions.

The writing style of The Secret Blog of Raisin Rodriguez is very realistic and fun. The voice very much feels like that of a 13-year-old girl who wants very badly to be popular and accepted. The story has enough plot to be coherent and solid, but there are also plenty of random little thoughts and touches that make the book feel like it was written by a real girl describing her life on a day to day basis. The emotions are very real and they change quickly in ways that are very believable. Most refreshing of all is Raisin’s humour and style. She has a very real sense of humour and it is a lot of fun to read her thoughts. The book goes very quickly because of the realism of the writing style, and I found that I wanted more when I got to the end!

The plot of this book is a lot of fun. There are a few over the top touches, like a dog swallowing a bra, but none of them felt out of place. The characters had personality and rarely stuck to stereotypes. It was refreshing to see the popular girl break down and show weakness, the alternative kids be real and not just scary, and the strange kid who draws cartoons all the time seen as a potential date (even if he never knew that). The book also felt very modern. Raisin had very current opinions and feelings about things. For example, she didn’t want to get her period because she didn’t want the pain, embarrassment and annoyance it brings as well as not wanting to be an adult (which getting your period implies). This was very different from the girls in books from even just a decade ago, who wanted to get their periods, but it is a very modern attitude. Girls today know more specifically what menstruation brings and thus usually don’t want it. Touches like that made it very evident that this book was about a girl growing up now and not even just ten years ago. I liked that about the book. Usually books about teen/tweenagers feel like the characters are growing up half now and half when the author (or Judy Blume) was growing up, but Raisin was completely modern. I liked that for it’s freshness and uniqueness.

This book reminded me of the Georgia Nicholson books by Louise Rennison both because of the freshness of it and the style (although Georgia’s book are diary-like with no readers implied, unlike Raisin’s). I loved those books, but this had something that those didn’t. The idea that this was a blog, and the addition of outside comments from her friends with opinions other than those of the main character gave this a different twist. Raisin was obviously writing for an audience, which puts a different twist on her writing, which Georgia is writing basically for herself. It was also fun to see this type of book with a very American feeling to it (much as I love the British, variety is good). It set this book apart from those. As similar as they are, I enjoyed both very much and for very different reasons.

I very much enjoyed this book. It was fun and modern. The writing was enjoyable to read and the main character was extremely likable. I would love to see more books by this author and definitely recommend this book!

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