On the heels of her bestselling Dork Diaries books – the series boasts 20 million copies in print worldwide – Rachel Renée Russell is preparing to launch The Misadventures of Max Crumbly, a new series to be published under Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing’s Aladdin imprint.
Illustrated with black-and-white comics and aimed at readers aged 8-12, the new series will follow the everyday ups and downs of Max Crumbly, a boy who has begged to attend public middle school after being homeschooled his whole life. The transition isn’t entirely smooth, as Max keeps getting stuffed in his locker by a fellow student. The inaugural title, The Misadventures of Max Crumbly, will hit shelves in April 2016. A second book is scheduled to follow in spring 2017.
Mara Anastas, v-p and publisher for Aladdin and Simon Pulse, acquired rights to the project from Daniel Lazar at Writers House. The new books will be shepherded by Russell’s longtime editor Liesa Abrams, v-p and editorial director of Simon Pulse and associate editorial director of Aladdin. The series will be released simultaneously by Simon & Schuster U.K and Simon & Schuster Australia, and the audiobook recording of the first title will also be published in spring 2016.
Anastas notes that Russell’s creation of a boy protagonist for her readers is a natural progression for the author. “Like Nikki Maxwell and her Dork Diaries friends, Max Crumbly is an enormously funny and likeable character sure to endear himself to Rachel’s existing fan base as well as a whole new audience of fans,” she said.
In a statement, Russell said she is excited about introducing a new hero for kids “to root for and laugh with, as he navigates the pitfalls of middle school and the secrets that literally hide behind a NOT so ordinary locker!”
Lest Dork Diaries diehards be concerned, Russell hasn’t forsaken that series at all. Dork Diaries 9: Tales from a Not-So-Dorky Drama Queen will debut at #1 on the New York Times series bestseller list on June 21, and Dork Diaries 10 is set for an October 20, 2015 pub date. And a Dork Diaries film is currently in development at Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment, the studio team behind such book-to-movie adaptations as the Twilight saga, the Hunger Games trilogy, and the Divergent series.