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Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck is a children's novel written by Jeff Kinney and the eighth book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.[2][3] It was released on November 5, 2013.[1] In this book, Greg's best friend Rowley ditches him, and Greg struggles to make new friends. On Easter, he finds a Magic 8-Ball and attempts to change his luck by using it to make decisions for him. Hard Luck received generally positive reviews from critics.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Hard Luck.jpg
First edition hardcover
AuthorJeff Kinney
IllustratorJeff Kinney
CountryUnited States
SeriesDiary of a Wimpy Kid
GenreChild, Young Adult
PublisherAmulet Books (US)
Puffin Books (UK)
Publication date
November 5, 2013[1]
Media typePrint (paperback, hardcover)
Preceded byThe Third Wheel 
Followed byThe Long Haul 



The book opens with Greg Heffley writing that his mother believes "friends will come and go but family is forever." Greg agrees with this statement, since his friend, Rowley, now has a girlfriend named Abigail, continuing from the events of the last book. Ever since then, Rowley has been acting different, such as refusing to hang out with Greg and agreeing with everything Abigail says.

Greg has been getting bored without Rowley, so his mother tells him to "branch out" and make friends with the kids in the neighborhood. He decides to become friends with a strange kid named Fregley. Greg tries to get Fregley to do funny things during lunch, and Fregley then becomes popular after the other kids find out that he can "chew" food with his belly button.

Greg's mother announces that her extended family will come to town for Easter. Greg then writes about some of his family members, including Meemaw, who organized egg hunts in the backyard. On Easter, the family notices a discrepancy between photos in an album; an image of Meemaw putting objects in eggs depicts her wearing the ring, although she is not wearing it in a later photograph. They realize that she hid her ring in an Easter egg and rush to find it, although the search is unsuccessful. Greg's mother hopes that nobody locates it, worrying that someone will sell the ring for money.[4]

Greg decides to join an after-school activity, and with the help of a Magic 8-Ball he found on Easter, he becomes a member of the Yearbook Club. The next day, Greg accidentally drops his Magic 8-Ball, and it breaks. Greg is called to the yearbook office to take yearbook photos of Fregley (Most Popular) and Rowley and Abigail (Cutest Couple). He then resigns from his position.

Greg throws his broken Magic 8-Ball into his grandmother's yard. At school, he learns that Rowley and Abigail have broken up. Greg wonders if he and Rowley should be friends again. He goes back to the Magic 8-Ball, hoping that it is still functional, and finds the plastic egg with Meemaw's ring. Greg is worried that his family will start fighting over the ring, so he hides the egg in his mother's closet, hoping that nobody will look in there.

Greg concludes that he has to make big decisions on his own, and reconciles with Rowley. He writes, "I know Mom's always saying that friends come and go and family is forever, and maybe that's true. [...] I'm sure me and Rowley will get in another fight somewhere down the road and then we'll go through this drama all over again. But for now, we're good."[5]


Teaser artwork for Hard Luck, depicting Greg Heffley holding an umbrella while Magic 8-Balls fall around him, was released in March 2013.[6] On August 8, 2013, the book's cover and official title, Hard Luck, were revealed, along with the release date of November 5, 2013.[7] Kinney also announced that he would begin a book tour that same month to encourage pre-sales of the book.[8]

Kinney later stated that he found it challenging to write for one of the book's characters, Rowley's girlfriend Abigail, as she was "meant to be a placeholder for a girlfriend rather than a fully developed character" and that "[i]t was a little tricky trying to figure out how to write for a character that hardly has any dialogue and not much of a personality. She's just a stand-in for a threat to Greg's and Rowley's friendship."[9]

On the subject of the book's cover, Kinney stated that he chose the color green because the book takes place in Spring and "the green in the Irish flag symbolizes the luck of the Irish."[10][11]


Hard Luck sold 1.3 million its first week.[11] It was the number one print bestseller of 2013,[12] with over 3 million copies sold.[13] However, it failed to reach the top 20 in eBook sales.[14] Hard Luck had a print run of 5.5 million copies in the United States,[11] and a printing of 800,000 copies in the United Kingdom.[15][16]

Hard Luck received generally positive reviews from critics. Booklist commented that "Kinney strikes his comic target in the bull’s-eye, exaggerating the trials of adolescence just enough to make them real while deftly exposing the insecurities behind Greg’s bravado with his super, simple drawings."[17] Publishers Weekly wrote that the book's formula was similar to Kinney's prior books and that fans of the series would likely enjoy this one as well.[18] Common Sense Media criticized the book for its use of toilet humour and gave it three out of five stars.[19] The Guardian gave the book a score of four out of five and described it as "hilarious."[20]

Irish Independent praised the book for its "laugh-out-loud scenes," such as when Greg worries about "get[ting] baked alive like a microwave burrito." They liked the book for "reflect[ing] children's real experiences," particularly "[t]he scenes where Greg struggles in school without a friend" for being "poignantly written" and that "Greg's predicament [about his family members fighting over Meemaw's ring] will resonate with all children (and their parents)." The reviewer concludes by calling Hard Luck "one of the funniest books I've read all year."[4]


  1. ^ a b c "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck on Amazon". Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  2. ^ "Diary of a Wimpy Kid 8 Announced". Archived from the original on 5 April 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013.
  3. ^ Reynolds, Christopher (November 9, 2013). "'Diary of a Wimpy Kid's' Jeff Kinney hits the middle school road". LA Times. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Friendship, onesies and microwave burritos! Wimpy Kid goes from strength to strength". Irish Independent. November 23, 2013.
  5. ^ Kinney, Jeff (November 5, 2013). Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck. Amulet Books. p. 216-217. ISBN 978-1-4197-1132-9.
  6. ^ "Abrams Announces Wimpy Kid #8". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 27 March 2013.
  7. ^ Minzesheimer, Bob (8 August 2013). "Narrator hits 'Hard Luck' in eighth Wimpy Kid book". USA Today. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  8. ^ Kellogg, Carolyn (8 August 2013). "Diary of a Wimpy Kid series: See the next book". LA Times. Retrieved 9 August 2013.
  10. ^ Minzesheimer, Bob. "Narrator hits 'Hard Luck' in eighth Wimpy Kid book". USA Today. Retrieved 15 February 2019.
  11. ^ a b c "'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' author Jeff Kinney talks about his astonishing success before huge book signing in Beaverton". The Oregonian. Retrieved 27 July 2019.
  12. ^ Shaw, Tucker. ""Wimpy Kid," Dan Brown, Bill O'Reilly lead list of 2013's best sellers". The Denver Post. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  13. ^ "Abrams Launches First Annual Wimpy Kid Month". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  14. ^ Kelly, Keith J. "Best selling print book of 2013 not in top 20 for e-book sales". New York Post. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  15. ^ Page, Benedicte. "Penguin's record print run for latest Wimpy Kid". The Bookseller. Retrieved 27 October 2013.
  16. ^ "Jeff Kinney's best friend is a 'Wimpy Kid'". Sacramento Bee. Archived from the original on 11 November 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  17. ^ "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck (review)". Booklist. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  18. ^ "Hard Luck (review)". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved 11 November 2013.
  19. ^ Wheadon, Carrie R. "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck". Common Sense Media. Retrieved 14 February 2019.
  20. ^ "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney - review". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 February 2019.

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