Middle school student Greg Heffley takes readers through an academic year’s worth of drama. Greg’s mother forces him to keep a diary (“I know what it says on the cover, but when Mom went out to buy this thing I specifically told her to get one that didn’t say ‘diary’ on it”), and in it he loosely recounts each day’s events, interspersed with his comic illustrations. The hero’s utter obliviousness to his friends and family becomes a running joke. For instance, on Halloween, Greg and his best friend, Rowley, take refuge from some high school boys at Greg’s grandmother’s house; they taunt the bullies, who then trash her house. Greg’s journal entry reads, “I do feel a little bad, because it looked like it was gonna take a long time to clean up. But on the bright side, Gramma is retired, so she probably didn’t have anything planned for today anyway.”
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Love is in the air—but what does that mean for Greg Heffley?
A Valentine’s Day dance at Greg’s middle school has turned his world upside down. As Greg scrambles to find a date, he’s worried he’ll be left out in the cold on the big night. His best friend, Rowley, doesn’t have any prospects either, but that’s a small consolation.
An unexpected twist gives Greg a partner for the dance and leaves Rowley the odd man out. But a lot can happen in one night, and in the end, you never know who’s going to be lucky in love.
Matilda is an extraordinarily gifted four-year-old whose parents, a crass, dishonest used-car dealer and a self-centered, blowsy bingo addict, regard her as “nothing more than a scab.”
Life with her beastly parents is bearable only because Matilda teaches herself to read, finds the public library, and discovers literature.
Also, Matilda loves using her lively intelligence to perpetrate daring acts of revenge on her father.
This pastime she further develops when she enrolls in Crunchem Hall Primary School, whose headmistress, MissTrunchbull, is “a fierce tyrannical monster . . . .”