Kinney, Jeff. Hard Luck. (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #8)
November 5th 2013
by Amulet Books
Greg is upset that Rowley spends so much time with his girlfriend that he is not there to hang out with Greg. He's not there to warn Greg about dog poo on the walk to school, carry Greg's heavy backpack, or protect Greg from the kids who infest the woods. Not only that, but it's even hard to get him to do Greg's homework. Greg tries unsuccessfully to train other classmates to fill this position, but nothing works. Greg finds a Magic 8 Ball while snooping in his mother's closet, and for a while, uses it successfully to navigate his life, until it gets broken. Further complicating matters is a visit by his mother's extended family and a hunt for a missing diamond ring. Thankfully, Rowley breaks up with his girlfriend and can get back to helping Greg.
Strengths: Of course, students love the anecdotal format of these, along with the pictures. At this point, Kinney could publish a list of kinds of soup and kids would line up to prepurchase it. Has some funny moments.
Weaknesses: These could be decent books if more attention were given to plot arcs and character development. Wouldn't it be nice to have something kids wanted to read that was actually pretty good. I still vastly prefer Big Nate or Charlie Joe Jackson, because more attention is given to literary merit.
Tiwart, Vivek. The Fifth Beatle: The Brian Epstein Story
(Philip Simon (Editor), Andrew C. Robins (Illustrations), Kyle Baker (Illustrations)
November 19th 2013, Dark Horse
A graphic novel about the manager of the Beatles! What a great idea!
sadly, not for middle school. Drat. At least we know right away, when
the first page has a quote from John Lennon that includes the f-bomb.
Of course, there is also drug use, and a lot of exploration of Epstein's
It's a bit confusing, too. I'm glad I
looked at it, but obviously won't be buying it. Important to note that
it was, in fact, in the adult collection of my public library.