...and inventive, to be sure, but I had a difficult time with the level of violence and ignorance portrayed; especially as this is a middle-grade read.
First, I had difficulty discerning the era in which this took place because of the fact the principal readily, and a little to eagerly, paddled students, plus the journal found by the main character was written in the late 40s, but apparently was still in good enough shape to be handled and read frequently.
Then I ran across the use of Photoshop and realized this is a present-day story, which only heightened my disgust at the level of violence portrayed. Again, the principal not only paddled students, but made them do other "chores" as punishment for behavior that wasn't always proven as fact. So, taking the word of bullies over a new student, accusing a student of lying without evidence...what principal would actually do this? What adult? Are you telling me that we're supposed to believe that this principal knows a new student better than an obvious bully who's been there far longer? Not buying it. The bully was able to really abuse the new kid without anyone finding out, without anyone believing the new student (not even the mom, apparently).
Anyway, then there was the journal which read more like a novel than someone's journal, with full on dialogue and everything. So even though it was a more entertaining element than the actual story, it wasn't a journal. I don't know. Like I said, it was well-written, but, personally, I wouldn't let my middle-schooler read this.