cover image Hard Luck

Hard Luck

Jeff Kinney. Abrams/Amulet, $13.95 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4197-1132-9

Is Greg Heffley%E2%80%99s self-absorption catching up with him? Maybe so, since he spends much of the eighth book in Kinney%E2%80%99s bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series bemoaning his lack of friends. Rowley, his former right-hand man/doormat, is occupied with his new girlfriend, and Greg is so desperate for companionship that he even tries befriending class weirdo Fregley. %E2%80%9CI could mold him into exactly the kind of friend I wanted,%E2%80%9D says Greg, who%E2%80%99s basically looking for someone to lug his schoolbooks around and %E2%80%9Cscout ahead for dog poop%E2%80%9D on the sidewalk. Clashes with Greg%E2%80%99s extended family also figure in, as does Greg%E2%80%99s discovery of a Magic 8-Ball. Kinney once again gets in plenty of funny jabs at pop culture and everyday kid life, from poster board science fair projects (%E2%80%9CDoes It Float?%E2%80%9D) to Greg%E2%80%99s rediscovery of his flannel %E2%80%9CBody Blankie,%E2%80%9D which, while supremely comfortable, proves to be a liability during gym class. With Kinney sticking to the same school- and family-based brand of situational humor that made the previous books so popular, his legions of fans will likely devour this eighth offering as well. Ages 8%E2%80%9312. Agent: Sylvie Rabineau, RWSG Literary Agency. (Nov.)