- Age Range: 8 - 12 years
- Grade Level: 3 - 7
- Series: Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Book 11)
- Hardcover: 224 pages
- Publisher: Harry N. Abrams; ana edition (November 1, 2016)
- Language: English
- Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.2 inches
At the beginning of the book, Greg Heffley talks about how he thinks his life is a reality TV show. He believes his brothers, his parents, and all the other people in his life are just actors and robots. He also tries coming up with a catchphrase and doing amusing things to make sure people keep watching. Greg then talks about how his deceased relatives are watching him from heaven.
Greg's mother, Susan, gives him money to buy books at the school book fair, but is disappointed when Greg spends the money on everything except books. She makes him return the trinkets he bought and buy books instead; however, Greg buys books that she doesn't approve. Greg then writes about how his mother is always saying that if he reads and is creative, he'll discover new talents. Greg continues, "That's a nice idea and all, but every time Mom's tried to get me to step out of my comfort zone, I've fallen flat on my face." He then talks about times he tried writing poems and failed an advanced placement test. Greg concludes with "I guess EVERY parent thinks their kid is special, even when they're not."
Greg buys Spineticklers horror books. Greg is reminded of last year, when his older brother Rodrick bought a noisy, electronic, plastic witch, which got put in the basement. Greg then talks about some aggressive geese that have flocked to the neighborhood, and the family's pig, which has been getting smarter and is learning how to communicate. Greg thinks the pig can help him search for Halloween candy, which Susan has hidden somewhere in the house to prevent everyone from eating it.
Greg's school has a Balloon Brigade. If a student's balloon travels far and is brought back to its owner, the student wins a giant jar of candy corn. Greg writes an overly dramatic letter to ensure that his balloon is returned and attaches it to his balloon. While the other balloons get stuck on a cell phone tower, Greg's balloon is weighed down by his letter and flies further. Greg then discusses the Cheese Touch from the first book and how the kids try to bring it back, but the teachers always catch them doing so.
Greg starts to regret reading his Spineticklers books, explaining that they give him nightmares. He picks a Spineticklers book for a school assignment, and it turns out that all the other kids in his class did as well. Parents then complain to the school, saying that Spineticklers books should be banned.
The kid who finds Greg's balloon, Maddox Selsam, comes over for a playdate. As Maddox hasn't played video games or watched TV, he goes crazy when Greg pulls up a computer game. After Maddox leaves, Greg realizes that he forgot to get the balloon, and he can't claim the candy corn until he brings his balloon to school. The next day, Susan says that she wants to take Greg to Maddox's house for a "get-together." Greg, realizing that he can get the balloon back, agrees. The playdate ends with Maddox noticing one of his LEGO bricks on Greg's shoulder as he leaves, and believing he stole it. Susan is disappointed, thinking that Greg would've liked Maddox and that he would've been a good role model. Greg concludes, "But if Mom wants to connect me with someone I'll actually look UP to, she's gonna have to try a little harder."
Susan decides to go back to college and finish her master's degree. While she's gone, the pig vomits from eating Greg's candy corn. Susan has a talk with Greg about his "pattern of deception" and punishes him with extra chores. Greg then points out that everyone in his family lies, even Susan herself. Susan takes Greg to visit her college, but he doesn't end up enjoying his visit.
Greg joins the school band in order to get invited to a Halloween party. He settles for a French horn, but his dad tells him that he has to practice every night. Greg then plays some online videos of a girl practicing her French horn to make it sound like he's practicing. He realizes that he may not get into the party due to not being experienced with his instrument, so he decides to go with his friend Rowley as a two-headed monster. Susan decides to come to the party as well, and starts setting up some party games. Surprisingly, everyone ends up enjoying the games, even Greg.
Greg starts to lose interest towards being in the school band, due to the party being over. He asks his dad if he can quit the band, due to the Fall Concert coming up, with his dad attending it. During the concert, Greg and Rowley accidentally get locked in the music room, and Greg ends up ripping his pants and trying to cover it up with a binder. Greg's dad gets mad at him for messing around instead of performing and declines Greg's explanation. Greg is then grounded and is sent to his room to practice his French horn.
Greg gets hungry and searches for candy. He finds an off-limits bag of chocolate chips and eats the whole thing, before realizing that he'll get in trouble. He calls Rowley and asks him to bring over some chocolate chips, but the geese make him late and cause the chips to melt in his hands. As Greg goes to clean up a mess Rowley leaves, he finds gummy worms in the laundry room. He then comes up with the idea to make a horror movie.
Greg and Rowley work on the opening scene and storyboard it, then decide to film what they've wrote. However, after Greg spreads gummy worms in the yard for a scene, he sees the pig eating the gummy worms in the house. Then, Rowley notices a flock of geese in the yard, and the two come up with an idea to scare them off. Greg remembers a wolf mask Rodrick wore while trick-or-treating, and decides to get it from the basement. Down there, Greg accidentally triggers the electronic witch. It startles him and he grabs on to the shelf, which falls down. Rowley sprints out of the house and climbs up a tree, which is when Greg's dad comes home.
Rowley gets on the news and becomes famous, and doesn't even show up to school because he's busy being on talk shows. Greg is annoyed that Rowley hasn't said anything about him, writing, "I guess that's what fame does to a person. All I can say is, you'd never see ME making of fool out of myself to get a cheap laugh from the people watching at home."
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