Diary of a Wimpy Kid 8: Hard Luck

7.0 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Art: 8/10

Still love the illustrations, some good laughs

Predictable story

Book Info

Book Name:  Diary of a Wimpy Kid 8:  Hard Luck

Publisher:  Amulet Books

Writer:  Jeff Kinney

Artist:  Jeff Kinney

Release Date:  November 5, 2013


Author Jeff Kinney and his creation

Greg Heffley is still trying to survive middle school.  When his friend Rowley gets a girlfriend named Abigail Brown, Greg finds that Rowley doesn’t have time for him anymore.  Now, alone and looking someone to hang out with, Greg finds himself searching for a missing family ring and discovering his mother’s secrets to parenting…all with help from a Magic 8-Ball.

Written and illustrated by Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 8:  Hard Luck follows Diary of a Wimpy Kid 7:  The Third Wheel in 2012.  The series continues to be a massive success and is printed in record numbers.

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series has been interesting.  I read the first one when it was released and enjoyed it enough to keep picking up the other titles.  Sometimes the stories have real flow and other times the story seems very segmented and not much overarching plot.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid 8:  Hard Luck is the latter.

The story for this volume feels very much one event to the next with a highly predictable ending involving a ring and Rowley.  Despite this, there are some fun thing within the book and the book still gets me with a certain facet of the writing…Greg has little redeeming qualities.


Maybe Greg brings it on himself?

In this book, you see him using his friends Rowley to avoid dog poop, write his homework, and carry his books.  He breaks into his mother’s closet and finds her secret stash of parenting tips and uses it against her.  Sure, when faced with cheating on a science project by buying work, he makes the right decision, but the end of the novel has him finding a family heirloom and hiding it for his own use later on…not the best qualities for a kid.  Is it a good lesson for kids?  Probably not, but it is more realistic.

The art for Diary of a Wimpy Kid does a great job telling the story with its simple style.  Despite being simple in style, the art does manage to be rather expressive.  It has to be remembered that it is allegedly Greg Heffley’s illustrations of himself and his perceptions of his friends and family…that goes a long way with the storytelling and Greg’s character himself.

The minor problem I continue to have with these stories is that Kinney does write Greg too young.  It has been stated that he is in middle school, yet he sometimes acts as if he’s in third or fourth grade more than a middle schooler.  This is a difficult time for kids who are stuck “in-between”, but I think Kinney does de-age Jeff (and definitely Rowley) for the age he’s supposed to be.

I enjoy the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series as an adult, and I know I would have enjoyed them as a kid.  Each story has had really positive aspects and faltered in places, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 8:  Hard Luck is no different in that respect.  With such success and such a ripe period of time in a kid’s life, I suspect that Kinney will keep pumping these books out yearly.  It will remain to be seen if he can keep up the stories and the laughs.

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Related Links:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 6:  Cabin Fever

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 7:  The Third Wheel

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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