Could a Heffley family vacation ever be anything but a series of escalating tribulations that would test Job's resolve? In this ninth Diary of a Wimpy Kid outing, Kinney detours from the more episodic nature of the earlier books to trace the family's doomed-from-the-start road trip, spurred by Greg's mother's subscription to Family Frolic ("There must be something wrong with our family," Greg muses, "because we can never measure up to the ones in the magazine"). Kinney maintains his knack for getting the details of family life just right (naturally, the only available lounge chair at a wildly overcrowded waterpark is the one with several broken straps). But between the inadvertent acquisition of a pet pig, an attack by a flock of seagulls, Greg getting medical attention at the vet, and baby brother Manny managing to knock the parked family car into drive, there's more out-and-out absurdity in this installment than in previous books. Readers won't care, though, and their own family vacations will look downright blissful by comparison. Ages 8-12. Agent: Sylvie Rabineau, RWSG Literary Agency. (Nov.)
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