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What's a girl to do when caught between a rock and a hard place? The "hard place" — losing her car; the "rock" — her immovable dad. In order to regain driving privileges, Kim Peterson's dad talks her into writing an advice column for teens in his newspaper. Kim reluctantly agrees. She answers letters about stuff that's everyday and stuff that's not: parents, piercings, dating, drugs, depression, and people who are just users. Nothing Kim can't handle.

But when a classmate is killed, the letters turn to questions about life, death, and what it all means. And Kim starts to wonder if she really does have all the answers — and if not, where to find them. The Christian faith of her adoptive family? The Buddhism of her Korean heritage? Who can she turn to — to just ask?

250 pages, Paperback

First published July 7, 2005

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About the author

Melody Carlson

372 books2,641 followers
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of over two hundred books, several of them Christmas novellas from Revell, including her much-loved and bestselling book, The Christmas Bus.

She also writes many teen books, including the Diary of a Teenage Girl series, the TrueColors series, and the Carter House Girls series.

Melody was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her books, including the Notes from a Spinning Planet series and Finding Alice, which is in production as a Lifetime Television movie. She and her husband serve on the Young Life adult committee in central Oregon.

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5 stars
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3 stars
280 (28%)
2 stars
68 (6%)
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21 (2%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 67 reviews
Profile Image for Lucy Hoveland.
7 reviews
November 26, 2022
This book was okay. That is mostly what I have to say it is mostly what I expected, nothing that exciting or crazy but this book is about a teenage girl who wants this yellow jeep super bad but has a problem and that is, that when she was in her dad's car, she was using and got a speeding ticket and her moms rule was to get zero spreading tickets, etc so, her and her dad made a deal to keep it from her mom that she got one. But.. on one condition she had to write these columns for this thing called "team beat" where you have to respond to these other teenage girls about their problems. But online it also talks about her life more and how one of her classmates died which she wasn't really close to but still talked to a bit, so she wasn't ever sad but she was kinda surprised by it a bit it also talked about how she was struggling to try to find religion, while she is struggling with her own life she finds that when she answering the "teen beat" program she finds some of them hard to answer and wonder what it would feel like in there shoes. And yes she does eventually get the jeep that she wants and uses the money that she is getting from "teen beat" and used it for her car.

I would probably recommend it to older teenagers which have similar problems, I can really see this book being a book to relate to. :)
10 reviews
March 2, 2014
Kim Peterson, the main character is sixteen years old. She is struck by struggles with her father and losing her car. Her father wants her to write a teen advice column for his newspaper, which she has been refusing to do for awhile, but when she loses her car, her father makes a deal with her. The deal is that in order for her to regain his trust to drive, she has to write the for his newspaper and she will even get paid for doing it. While Kim is writing the column she begins to find it difficult to answer certain questions.

The author's purpose of writing this book would be to entertain. This story could entertain easily because it relates to every day things. It can relate to people who are religious because it talks a lot about Kim's faith to God.

The theme of the book would be to not judge a book by its cover. Although at first Kim thought that writing the column would be very easy, she soon realized that it was difficult. Kim had to start answering questions that she did not know how to answer. Questions went from simple, every day things to questions about death and faith after one of her classmates dies.

This story is a narration because it talks about the life of Kim. It talks about her daily struggles.

In my opinion, I thought the story was okay. I enjoyed it until it started to talk about religion a lot. Not that I am against religion, I was just expecting the book to be more about normal high school books, like the high school book and movies that are all about drama. Which the book is, but the whole part where it started to talk about religion a lot was hard to read past, but I did and it ended up being an okay book.
Profile Image for Laura.
881 reviews16 followers
July 20, 2009
Hmm, I don't know about the Kim diaries. I don't really think there was much going on in this first one. But, from reading her cousin's diaries, I have some idea of what is coming up. Maybe the next three books will be better.

But, since Kim's diaries deal with the death of a parent from cancer, I think it's not in my best interest to read at this time. It hits too close to home. Maybe I'll pick them up again sometime in the future.
Profile Image for Lori Henrich.
1,029 reviews70 followers
December 1, 2019
I liked the advice column story line. Not surprised that I liked this since I like most of Carlson’s stuff. In the time of political correctness, I doubt this particular column would be tolerated because of the mention of God. Seems a shame when your faith had to be hidden in certain climates.
Profile Image for Amy.
Author 2 books151 followers
January 3, 2009
I thought this might be a kind of fun YA novel, but found it to be more preachy than fun. Oh well. Win some, lose some, and in this case I only lost 49 cents.
Profile Image for Alex.
5,072 reviews1 follower
May 22, 2019
I’m sick and craving comfort-type books, so I decided to get all the Chloe, Kim and Maya “diaries” from the library to re-read them for the first time. It’s been over a decade since I read these books, and all I remembered was that I liked Chloe the most and Kim the least. I apparently never even bothered to rate or review the Kim books (except for book 3, oddly), so I’m adding this one now.

What a difference 10+ years makes, because I only mildly enjoyed Chloe’s diaries this time around, and yet I LOVED Kim’s! I remembered absolutely nothing about her diaries except for the tragedy that occurs in a later book (not even the fact that she writes the advice column!) so everything came as a total surprise to me. I vaguely recall thinking she was boring, but that was not at all the case this time around.

I will not be editing my ratings or reviews for any of the books that I added years ago, but if I did I would definitely drop Chloe’s ratings down and lift Kim’s up!
Profile Image for Lizzy.
759 reviews2 followers
May 31, 2020
If you like a bit of teenage angst and worrying about everything, this is just right for you. Rather heavy on the Christian elements for me- from this book it seems your only options are 'Buddist' 'Nothing' or 'Christian'. Shame not to see 'humanist' or any of the other options explored. Anyway, she was likable and the story romped along, the other characters were believable for the most part. Good.
Profile Image for Genesis.
10 reviews2 followers
December 2, 2019
Kim starts to get closer to God especially when a girl in her school, Tiffany, dies. Kim doesn't know why she feels like her whole world is crashing on her when she dies. When she goes back to school notices that everyone feels the exact same as she feels. She is now afraid to die.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
1 review
September 19, 2018
I loved this book. I want to go to the library right now and get the second one. It was such a good book and I am definitely going to continue reading the series and I definitely recommend this book!
18 reviews4 followers
October 2, 2019
Kim is such a fun, intriguing character that is really hard not to love. I loved this series so much!
Profile Image for Alicia.
5 reviews
April 4, 2020
normally I don't mind reading YA novels, but was a little turned off by the preachiness of this book - read it fast to just get through it.
6 reviews
October 21, 2016
This book was a very good book. The book Just Ask can elate to many teenagers today. In the beginning of the book Kim was telling how she has had her drivers license for over a year and has been driving her mom's car to school. Kim really wanted her own car, but her parents decided that she could keep a car if she could maintain a clean driving record. Kim ended up getting a speeding ticket. Her dad promised her that he wouldn't tell her mom if Kim would write an advice column in the newspaper every week. Kim accepted the deal and she ended up getting her own car a few days later. Kim grew up in a Christian home, but as she grew older she started wondering what she really believed in. In the book Kim started studying other religions and she thought she was a Buddhist for a few months. Then one day Kim went to a movie with her best friend, Natalie, and the movie they went to made her thoughts about her religion change. The movie that they watched was about the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

The advice column that Kim wrote was called Just Ask. Anonymous people would send in letters about problems or troubles that they were facing and Kim would write a reply to them. The thing about this column is that no one knew who replied to these people. Whenever Kim wrote a response back she used the name Jamie because it can be a boy or a girls name. In the middle of the book Kim ended up getting saved and going to church and youth group on a regular basis. All of Kim's friends were really proud of her for accepting Christ. There was a guy named Matthew that Kim had a crush on. Matthew didn't really talk much and he was a senior. One day Matthew and Kim started talking in art. Matthew invited her to go to lunch with him at the diner. They went and got to know each other rally well. They walked to the diner and when lunch was over it was raining. They had to walk back to school in the rain and they were both late for class. The next day they decided they were going to eat lunch at school. They both got done early and left to go look at the yearbook. They ended up making out and a teacher walked in while they were doing it. A few days later Matthew asked he to go to the dance with him. Of course Kim said yes and they went together with their whole group of friends.

For the dance all of Kim's friends rented a limo to take to the dance. One of the girls and her date replaced sparkling cider with vodka and tried to trick everyone else that was riding. Before they got to the restaurant Cesar to,d them that he wasn't going to put up with this kind of behavior. At the restaurant Kim and Matthew had to sit with those people and Kim got them drinking a drink that made them drunk. When they were all done eating they went outside and the kids that were drunk, Marisa and Roberto, ended up having to leave in a cab because Marisa ended up getting sick. Everyone ended up having a great time at the dance. A few weeks later Kim's mom started feeling bad. She kept telling everyone that it was going to be ok they were just cramps, but it turned out being worse. A few tests has to be run and it turned out that Kim's mom has ovarian cancer.

This was a great book and I recommend reading it. I would recommend this book the the ages of 12 and older. One reason why I think y'all should read this book is because many teenagers are going through the same things that a bunch of other people on this book are going through. Another reason why I recommend this book is because it talks about different religions. Kim went through hard times because she was trying to figure out what she truly believed in. The last reason why I would recommend this book is because you kind of get an idea about what high school is like. There were party's, alcohol, and driving that got mentioned in this book and Kim has to make a choice on what she was going to do based on consequences.
Profile Image for Maya Zauberman.
14 reviews22 followers
April 4, 2013
The good thing is that main character Jamie has not succumbed to marysueitis- an affliction that unfortunately affects many literary heroes and heroines. She actually had faults- she lied, she doubted, she disappointed the expectations of herself and others half the time. She even became a slight hypocrite at times- telling a girl to get over a girl's death, while clearly not being over it herself. And the writing wasn't terrible (despite the constant telling not showing) though the tense was erratic. In one chapter, Ms. Carlson writes in a clear, adult language- yet in another paragraph, she writes in "teen-speak".

But unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. That includes this review. We are, unfortunately, about to venture into the land of the Terrible Things About This Book. Strap on your backpacks, compasses, tents and sleeping bags, and any can of Anti- Terribleness you have- we are about to meet The Truly Awful Things About This Book.

First off, this book was PREACHY. The entire time I spent reading this, I felt like I was listening to a lecture on how God was the greatest thing to happen to the planet. The constant praising of Him, the constant of religion being the most fulfilling thing in the world was just- over the top. And it's not just in this book either. This seems to be a constant theme in Ms. Carlson's novels. Don't mistake me. Religious themes can be good in novels, if done well. Problem is, it was not done well at all.

I also hate the fact that Tiffany's death was glossed over. The character's death saddened the characters, but seemingly only for a month, since we never see the characters get affected by it after Jamie's breakdown. Which, by the way, happens about a week or two after the funeral. We are told that the characters are affected for longer, yet we never actually see that happening.

Due to the over-religious tones, and the big amounts of telling and not showing, I will only read Ms. Carlson's next work with cautiousness, since I believe in giving all writers the benefit of the doubt.
Profile Image for Gabrielle.
8 reviews6 followers
July 21, 2014
This book was about Kim Peterson, her parents said that she could get a car on the condition that she keeps a clean driving record. She gets a ticket for going 72 in a 55 mile zone, so she makes a deal with her dad. He doesn't tell her mum that she got a ticket in exchange with her writing the teenage advice column for her dad's newspaper. So Kim become's 'Jamie' for the Just Ask Jamie column answering everyday questions about simple things like parents, drugs, depression. Nothing Kim can't answer. Until a classmate is killed, then the questions all turn to the meaning of life, what happens when you die. Then she can't answer them, she doesn't know who to turn to for the answers. She questions herself wondering if she has any of the answers. What about her parents Christian faith? Or the Buddhism of her Korean heritage?

Wide Reading Questions:
1. I decided to read this book because I've read some of the other 'Diary of a Teenage Girl' books.
2. My favourite character is Kim because even when she wants to blurt out to her friends that she is Jamie, when they are putting it down she doesn't. She finds what the answers are and what they really mean to her.
3. My favourite quote is: "You're not afraid?" She considers this. "Well, I can't say I'm not afraid. But I trust God. I know that I'm in His hands. I know that He's watching over me. I have this deep sense of peace inside."
I like this quote because she putting all her trust in Him even when she may die, she feels that He is the one who will lead her, He gives her a sense of peace.
4. I learnt that you should just enjoy life while you still are alive, you never know when it is your last day so you should live like it's your last.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Addie.
1 review
January 11, 2019
Kim Peterson, is a teenage girl going through the struggles of high school and other hardships. When Kim starts to save up to get her own car she receives a speeding ticket, leading her father to lay down a deal. If Kim agrees to write an anonymous teen advice column for his newspaper, she will get the car she’s been saving up for! Kim took up the offer and decided to become “Jamie” of “just ask Jamie” for the column.
Kim begins to persevere through answering basic questions “Jamie” gets asked, like piercings, dating, depression, and drugs. Kim has no troubles until one of her classmates got murdered. The questions “Jamie” started to receive became more intense and difficult to answer. Questions about life, death,and why things happen. Kim begins to not know who to turn to.

“Just Ask” was certainly one of the better books I have encountered. The book shows real life problem and the struggles kids in high school actually go through. The book explains Kim’s emotions and how she felt about everything. Kim used “Just ask Jamie” as a coping mechanism, always asking herself what she would say if someone had asked what she was asking. Real life events occured in this novel which made it enjoyable to read. I understood what was going on in her life and making it a journal made it better.

One of the main things I disliked was how she used her Christian believes to cope with everything, since at the beginning she totally despised wasting her time at church with her family, and wanted her best friend to stop preaching to her all the time.
Profile Image for Andrea.
787 reviews12 followers
July 2, 2008
This book was not what I expected at all. In true young adult literature, it has to contain high drama and angst. However, I wasn't expecting the God angel. In this book the main character starts writing an advice column at her dad's paper for teenagers. While dispensing advice she struggles with her religious beliefs, ends up having a conversion experience, and then turns her column into a religious platform. I appreciated some of the questions that the book brought up - I could relate to a lot of them. And to be honest, I could relate to how the main character was once she "embraced" God. I think I was a lot like that in high school (and am really not like that now) so in a way it was a little disturbing. I thought I was going to reading a typical teen book about the issues they deal with; I was prepared for that. I wasn't prepared for a book with such an agenda about what is the true way - although I did appreciate the honest doubts and questions that the character raised. In that way it wasn't completely in your face, because the author admits that there are questions, even encourages them (as long as the end result is embracing God, of course).
Profile Image for Jerry.
4,630 reviews57 followers
July 13, 2014
Kim's parents told her they'd buy her a new car...as long as she refrained from getting any traffic tickets. When her father finds out that she was clocked going well over the speed limit, he cuts her a deal: she can get the new car as long as she does an advice column for the local paper. So, Kim adopts the pen name of "Just Jamie", and dispenses the usual teen-friendly advice. However, when a classmate is killed in a car accident, Kim gets asked serious questions about life, death, and what it all means. She went to church with her adopted parents growing up, but has been looking into Buddhism online. Which one has the answers?

My Review
Much like the series premiere of a TV show, this one sets up the story quite well. Reading Kim's advice to teens actually was quite fun. However, the events of the last chapter imply that later books in this series will take a much more somber tone.

Score: 3.5/5
March 7, 2013
Just Ask by Melody Carlson is about a 17 year old Kim ,who was adopted, starts writing an advice column in her dad's newspaper because she wanted to keep her speeding ticket from her mom.she would've been able to get her own car if she got one ticket so her dad made a deal with her, she would have to give advice in his newspaper to attract a younger crowd. Everything goesn well for a while until one of her classmates is killed and everything in Kims life turns upside down. She feels like she cant truely answer any of the questions she is getting because she doesnt think she has all the answers. She wants to know all about her Korean heritage and where she came from but cant find the answers. Can Kim find the answers everyone is seeking for or will she break?
1 review
May 23, 2014
In the book Diary Of A Teenage Girl Just Ask by Melody Carlson its a coming of age book. This book is about a Asian teenager that was adopted and she writes a column in a newspaper. She doesn't tell her friends so she has to take all the bad comments they make about her column and all the criticism they have about the column. The book also talks about how she changes over time not only the way she is but her religious point of views also change. I made quite a few connections with this book but the one I like the most was when she got a makeover and she felt really good about herself. I recommend this book to anyone who likes coming of age books or books in that category, books that talk about a regular everyday teenager.
Profile Image for Melissa.
34 reviews
September 8, 2008
After reading that last book in this Kim series (That Was Then), it prompted me to read the first one.
In Just Ask Kim secretly becomes "Jamie" for an teen advice column. As Kim reads letters and emails from teenagers with numerous problems, Kim realizes just how great her life is-but something is still missing. Kim takes her own advice as she once again finds God-and just in time for some BIG news.
You can't help but fall in love with Carlson's likable and relatable characters. I can't wait to read the rest of the Kim books and I'm even thinking about the Catlin and Chloe books too.
Profile Image for Books and Literature for Teens.
96 reviews63 followers
June 16, 2009
This Diary of a Teenage Girl was different from the Kim or the Chloe series (haven't read the Caitlin series yet).
It was still good, but pretty edgy.
Sure, lots of girls have Maya's problem (in fact I know one), but I hear about it so much that I don't like to keep reading stuff about it.
Anyways, Maya's mother is an drug addict,her father's away on tour, and Maya wants to live on her own. But in doing so, she gotta learn the art of being humble.

It was a bit slow at times, but finishable (can I make-up that word?). Hopefully the second one, It's a Green Thing will be better.
Profile Image for Madeline Parise.
10 reviews
November 30, 2013
Just Ask is a super hilarious book that really makes me want to keep reading, no matter what time of day (or night!). I love Kim's character, and it's so funny to read about how confused she gets on the subject of life and death. I really liked reading her Just Ask Jamie letters and responses, and seeing how they changed as her opinions about the meaning of life developed and evolved. My advice to readers- Enjoy the first Kim book as much as is possible. Because after that book, it gets kind of... depressing. Then it gets really depressing. And then you wonder how it went from being a lower-teen book to a higher-teen book that quickly. So... yeah. BRACE YOURSELVES.
Profile Image for Meadow Frisbie.
679 reviews21 followers
November 13, 2009
It was...ok. Kim is having a hard time finding what she belives in. When she speeds on the road....again....her dad said she could make up for it by writing a column on his paper. Kim is thrown quesions about everything you can imagine. But when a schoolmate is killed, questions about life, death, and life after death are handed to the confused Kim.

It was pretty good. She had an atitude and lives a mainstream christian life, of dating...ect. Which I don't so I couldn't really relate to Kim.
Profile Image for Jessica.
27 reviews9 followers
February 12, 2012
This book was suggested by two of my close friends and I was in great appreciation for that. This book is now one of my most treasured stories because of it's true to life characters and situations. Kim, who is the anonymous "Jamie" for a newspaper column, has a spiritual battle in her mind. Her journey leads from here to there, bringing the reading to thinking about his or her relationship between God. This light-hearted book deals with some heavy subject that the author tackled very well. I suggest this book because it's not only worth reading, but worth remembering.
8 reviews
November 20, 2015
I think this had a great plot and I really got interested in this book after I read the blob, how this girl got the job to write solutions for people who has trouble or needs a solution in their lives. I actually thought it would be really fun if I got to take that job like the main character here did. She really had a lot of thoughts about her actual heritage, where she's from, what her religion should be, etc. She seemed very careless about the problems people post, and she normally just writes the solution that is only fair for one point of view.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
6 reviews
November 20, 2009
The book was the first book of a series. It was about a girl named kim who wanted a car. Her dad wouldn't let her get one unless she wrote the JUST ASK JAMIE column in his newspaper. At first Kim didn't want to, but learned to love it. SHe would always pic a letter that had to do with how she was feeling, what she was going through, or something else that related to her. The book was kind of slow though. So i rated it a 2
Profile Image for Morgan.
134 reviews
March 29, 2010
this book was really great for me to read. the girl in this book (kim) is really lost spiritually and needs to find the Lord. she struggles for a while asking a lot of questions i know that i think sometimes but gets changed and moved by her best friend and some others. at the end of the story kim is challenged greatly by God; her mom is in the hospital with cancer and only has a few months to live. the book ends there but her story continues in book two.
27 reviews
October 15, 2010
I really liked this book. It caught my attention when I saw the title. It just hooked me right then. I think that anyone who read this would like it. I recomend you read it.
In this book it is about this teenage girl. She has to write these advise column in her dads newspaper. Throughout this whole thing she has to go throgh the struggle of her life. Throughout it she loses a friend. She gets a car. You shoiudl read it!
Profile Image for Sharla.
47 reviews
December 18, 2007
Sad great great book. This book goes throught the life of a young girl asked to write a advice colum in a news paper. She strugels with a question of Christianity and strugels against Christ. In the end she cant strugle any more and accepts Jesus now her life in Chirst is growing and shes learning...
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