Wrecking Ball
by Kinney, Jeff






When an unexpected inheritance gives Greg Heffley's family a chance to make big changes to their house, they soon discover that renovations may not be worth the effort.





Jeff Kinney is the #1 USA Today, New York Times, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series and a six-time Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Award winner for Favorite Book. The Meltdown, book 13, was published in October 2018, and was a #1 bestselling book. His latest book, Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid: Rowley Jefferson’s Journal, was published in April 2019. Jeff has been named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People in the World. He is also the creator of Poptropica, which was named one of Time’s 50 Best Websites. He spent his childhood in the Washington, D.C., area and moved to New England in 1995. Jeff lives with his wife and two sons in Massachusetts, where they own a bookstore, An Unlikely Story.





The Heffley family's house undergoes a disastrous attempt at home improvement. When Great Aunt Reba dies, she leaves some money to the family. Greg's mom calls a family meeting to determine what to do with their share, proposing home improvements and then overruling the family's cartoonish wish lists and instead pushing for an addition to the kitchen. Before bringing in the construction crew, the Heffleys attempt to do minor maintenance and repairs themselves—during which Greg fails at the work in various slapstick scenes. Once the professionals are brought in, the problems keep getting worse: angry neighbors, terrifying problems in walls, and—most serious—civil permitting issues that put the kibosh on what work's been done. Left with only enough inheritance to patch and repair the exterior of the house—and with the school's dismal standardized test scores as a final straw—Greg's mom steers the family toward moving, opening up house-hunting and house-selling storylines (and devastating loyal Rowley, who doesn't want to lose his best friend). While Greg's positive about the move, he's not completely uncaring about Rowley's action. (And of course, Greg himself is not as unaffected as he wishes.) The gags include effectively placed callbacks to seemingly incidental events (the "stress lizard" brought in on testing day is particularly funny) and a lampoon of after-school-special-style problem books. Just when it seems that the Heffleys really will move, a new sequence of chaotic trouble and property destruction heralds a return to the status quo. Whew. Readers can still rely on this series to bring laughs. (Graphic/fiction hybrid. 8-12) Copyright Kirkus 2019 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.






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