Diary of a Wimpy Kid 13: The Meltdown

diary of a wimpy kid the meltdown cover book 13
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Art: 8/10

Still fun for kids

Diary of a Wimpy Kid stories are better when there is more of a wrap-around payoff

Book Info

Book Title:  Diary of a Wimpy Kid 13:  The Meltdown

Publisher:  Amulet Books

Writer:  Jeff Kinney

Artist:  Jeff Kinney

Release Date:  October 30, 2018

diary of a wimpy kid 13 the meltdown electronic toilet greg heffley

The future is now!

Greg Heffley isn’t too worried about global warming.  Despite claims of rising temperatures, Greg’s neighborhood is caught in a deep freeze.  The bitter rivalry between Upper and Lower Surrey Street is raging and epic snowball fight is building.  With alliances being tested, Greg and the kids of his streets must defend their kingdom and lands…with winter at stake!

Written and illustrated by Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid 13:  The Meltdown was released on October 30, 2018.  The young-adult novel is a follow-up to Diary of a Wimpy Kid 12:  The Getaway.

I thought Diary of a Wimpy Kid was quite clever when it launched.  Greg is an imperfect character with self-survival and his own goals being in the forefront of his mind…much like every middle-schooler.  As the series has progressed, the simple and fun aspect of the original novel starts to become a bit lost in the monotony of a book coming out every year.

diary of a wimpy kid 13 the meltdown malta report greg heffley

Everything you wanted to know about Malta but were afraid to ask!

The books can generally be broken down into books with an overarching plot and those which are vignettes of childhood.  This book falls more into the vignette style of Wimpy Kid books.  The book has lots of little stories inside of it that range from fun to quasi-set-up for the final battle…but it doesn’t feel like there is enough payoff at the end.

I kept thinking Kinney was going to bring it together more.  Stories about the missing pig and the goat-man I thought would tie together (like the pig would be mistaken for the goat-man because of its tracks), but the pig is still missing and the goat-man never pans out.  Other mini-stories include Greg and Rowley’s ransacking of Greg’s grandmother’s home and Greg’s failed report on Malta.  I just thought that they would factor in more at the end.

diary of a wimpy kid 13 the meltdown greg heffley rowley snow fort

The end is near!!!

The story instead invests more of its time with the battle for Surrey Street.  This would be a kid thing which is why I can’t say the series still doesn’t find ways to identify with younger readers.  I can remember always planning for epic snowball fights (they didn’t really happen for me, but we were always ready).  Kinney dips into the popularity of things like A Game of Thrones and epic movies like Gladiator and Braveheart for story material (he also spends a lot of pages developing the other kids on the block…something that is tough to do in a quick read).  While the fight is fun the ending is rather blasé and left me wanting more.

Jeff Kinney really tries to bridge the gap between young readers and adult readers.  Much of Greg’s anxiety and actions feels based on childhood memories of Kinney, and these shared memories by adults can find fun in the Wimpy Kid novels.  Primarily the series is for kids, and kids might even be tiring of it by now…the original audience are young adults now and it will remain to be seen how it is passed down or rediscovered by younger kids.  Authors like Beverly Cleary and Judy Bloom have managed to survive the decades, and we’ll have to wait to see if Jeff Kinney will survive as well.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid 13:  The Meltdown is followed by Diary of a Wimpy Kid 14:  Wrecking Ball.

Preceded By:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 12:  The Getaway

Followed By:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 14:  Wrecking Ball

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @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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