The Misadventures of Max Crumbly: Locker Hero

Rachel Renée Russell. Aladdin, $13.99 (320p) ISBN 978-1-4814-6001-9
Russell returns to the journal-style format of her bestselling Dork Diaries series as she introduces a hapless, comics-loving boy named Max who recounts many of his woes while stuck inside his school locker. Featuring the same doll-like black-and-white cartooning style and lined-paper backgrounds of the Dork Diaries books, the story strikes an awkward balance between slice-of-life underdog problems and over-the-top plot developments, shifting into the latter after Max escapes his locker and attempts to live out his superhero fantasies by foiling thieves who have infiltrated the school. Unfortunately, the book's comedy is forced and often misses the mark, weighed down by tired catchphrases ("Don't get it twisted!"; "That was just wrong on so many levels!") and gross-out gags, such as when Max imagines peeing on school bully Doug "Thug" Thurston in a fight-or-flight response. Early on, Max cautions that those who don't like "comic book cliffhangers" may not want to continue, but that caveat may not prepare readers for just how unsatisfyingly and abruptly Russell concludes her story. Ages 9–13. Agent: Daniel Lazar, Writers House. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/30/2016
Release date: 06/07/2016
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-1-4423-9380-6
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4423-9381-3
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