|Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown|
The book's official cover
Abram Books (Amulet Books)
October 30th, 2018
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Wrecking Ball (chronologically)
Dark Purple Gradient (Spine: Alternating colors of Dark Purple and Sky Blue)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown is the thirteenth book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. The book was released on October 30th, 2018. The cover features Greg as a melting snowman with a scarf. The Title has ice crystals-styled text.
- Greg Heffley
- Frank Heffley
- Susan Heffley
- Rodrick Heffley
- Manny Heffley
- Rowley Jefferson
- Safety Patrols (antagonist group)
When the schools get shut down because of a snowy day, the neighborhood transforms into a wintry battlefield. Some rival groups fight over territory, Some rival groups build massive snow forts, and some rival groups stage epic snowball fights. In the cross-hairs are Greg Heffley and his trusty-true to the end-best friend, Rowley Jefferson.
It's a fight for survival as Greg and Rowley navigate against alliances, betrayals, and warring gangs in a neighborhood meltdown. When the snow clears, will Greg and Rowley emerge as heroes? Or will they even survive to see another day? 
The story starts off with Greg saying how everybody is outside enjoying the warm weather except him, as it is January, normally the middle of winter. Greg then says that the whole planet is warming up, and humans are to blame. However, as he says that he shouldn't be one to point fingers to, as he only recently got onto Planet Earth (being born). He then hopes that it doesn't warm up too fast, or he would have to ride a camel to high school. He then says he heard that the ice caps are melting and the sea level is rising. Due to his fear, he's tried to convince his parents to buy a house higher up on their hill so that they can avoid the water for longer, but his parents aren't too concerned, further increasing Greg's worry, and wishing that his parents would do something. However, the rising sea level isn't the only thing on Greg's mind, as there could be prehistoric animals preserved in the ice caps, and since they are melting, they may end up roaming the earth once again. Greg then says that he saw a movie about a caveman that got frozen in ice, and thousands of years later, when the ice melted, he was still alive. Greg doesn't know if that could happen in real life and thinks his night janitor is one of them.
Greg has to participate in International Showcase Week as a History project. Back in November, when there was an International Showcase, he wanted to be assigned to Italy, though he didn't get it because it has been voted a lot. After a random draw by his teacher, it was given to the lactose-intolerant Dennis Tracton. As a result, Greg did his project on Malta. However, he forgot all about it and has now to make it for the following day. Since Rowley refused to switch with him, Greg says that he was on his own and hoped his project will be fine.
In order to push curious students away, he pretended to only speak Maltese. (accidentally speaking Spanish instead). However, a kid in his grade whose parents are from Malta takes offense to Greg's misrepresentation of their country. Fortunately for him, the rivalry between Brazil and Bulgaria flares up again, and the bell rings, dismissing school.
However, the situation worsens when Susan receives a letter that Greg has to redo his entire project. To ensure he makes up his project, she forbids him for screens until his work is finished. Greg predicts this to be just before the weekends, but he says that it won't matter because Susan forbids him from screens on the weekends as well as Rodrick and Manny, a system designed by Susan to improve the sons' social understanding between each other, though they all agree to misbehave on the weekends in order to prove to Susan that her "Screen-Free Weekends" aren't working.
Greg also says that his mom says that she wants him to make some new friends. But with the exception of Rowley, he has no chance to befriend another child. Sometimes, he even has to walk in front of Fregley's house, which is between his and Rowley's, something very difficult for him.
Greg then explains that the other kids in his street aren't good people for him to befriend, but the worst are the ones who live in Lower Surrey Street, as their half is flat, while Greg lives in Upper Surrey Street, which is on a slant. The kids at the bottom of the hill get to play in the streets all year but in the winter, whenever they try yo go sledding down the hill, Greg and the upper hill kids pelt them with snowballs as payback. The two halves can't stand one another and, if one's family moves to a different part of the town, that person will be stuck inside all year round, since their new neighbors will still consider them part of the other team and the person's original side will think of them as a traitor for moving, a fate that Trevor Nix got. Despite the war between the kids, the adults actually get along just fine with each other
Greg then talks about the pig, which was left at a kennel during their Christmas vacation, and when it gets mad about not going with them, Frank sends it to obedience school, but the person who runs the places calls him telling him the pig escaped. Greg's family puts up posters to find it.
Greg wonders if a human being or a pig can hibernate, finding temporary evidence in The Mingos, who don't show up in the winter. Because of this, Greg says that if they're NOT hibernating all winter, nobody knows what they're doing.
Greg then reminisces about the Safety Patrol, as he enjoyed it because of his access to hot chocolate. However, he got kicked out of Safety Patrol, so he can't have any. Ever since then, he has been filling a thermos with hot chocolate to recreate the feeling. He also explains how dirty his neighbors are. When he is sick, he receives some cherry lozenges for his throat which makes him popular among girls. However, the boys break into his locker to steal them for themselves.
Because of the cold, Greg and Rowley try to find a place where they could warm up. They finally manage to hide at Gramma's place while she is on vacation, but while they are drying their clothes off, they hear someone coming down into the basement and they arm themselves, thinking it's a burglar, but they end up almost attacking Greg's mother with a toilet plunger and a handbag.
To Greg's surprise, Susan isn't mad at him at all, even congratulating him for "using his imagination" rather than screens. Greg wishes she'd grounded him instead, not knowing what she thought they were doing.
Greg explains that the Safety Patrol is very strict on boys and reports anyone who dares to throw a snowball during a school day. They also allow girls to walk on the road but don't allow boys to do it.
Greg says that he has no qualms about snitching; in addition, due to the snow, students were tracking water into the school, resulting in their shoes being held in the headmaster's office. After a few kids started a fight with their wet socks, the teachers started ordering the kids to go barefoot, not improving the situation.
The next day, Greg tries vainly to invent a new way to walk in the snow, using pizza boxes with his shoes duct-taped to them after failing to warm up his winter boots, which end up melting into the bricks of the fireplace. However, his new idea fails, as he left leftover pizza in the boxes, causing the neighborhood dogs to attack. He also discovers that the janitor couldn't stand the sock smell and opens the windows to let some fresh air in, but forgot to close the windows at the end of his shift. Due to this, indoor temperatures drop to below freezing.
Because of this, the students try to keep warm any way they can, with one person even using a costume of a lion that was made for the school play. The principal then decides to dismiss school early after kids start eating hoards of food, even eating bugs from the Science Fair, thinking that they were going to be snowed in overnight. Since Rowley and Greg have to walk on their way home, they decide to the bus for Whirley Street. At first, they sit in there without being discovered until someone at the back throws a snowball and almost crashes the bus. This prompts the bus driver to stop the bus and refuse to start it again until the perpetrator admits they did it, going as far as to read a book for a solid hour. Greg looks in the back of the bus, hearing some kids whispering, however, an eight-grader realizes he isn't from Whirley Street, and all the kids on the bus blamed it on Greg, with the bus driver forcing him and Rowley to get off at once.
A few Whirley Street kids start running after Greg and Rowley, having believed the other kids on the bus lying about him throwing the snowball. They then decide to run from them, leading them into the woods.
Greg and Rowley are forced to run in the woods, where a mythical creature is known as the "Goat man" exists. Greg sees a light coming from a broken car, but he and Rowley then realize they're in the Mingos' camp as Greg finds Meckley Mingo's belt buckle. After getting close to a car, the hand puppet that Greg wears in place of a glove gets stuck on the door handle of the car, resulting in Greg abandoning him because of some unknown figures rising from the cars, which Greg and Rowley believe are the Mingo kids. He and Rowley then dash out of the woods, where Frank almost runs them over.
The next day, Greg has the house for himself, since Manny is at nursery, Rodrick is sleeping, and his parents are gone. But little does he know is Susan planned some chores for him by hiding the batteries in the TV remote around the house, but Greg found a way to get around it by watching in Mom and Dad's room's TV, which only uses one battery. He is unable to finish all of them and gets paranoid after Susan calls him. A group of girls try and extort money out of him in exchange for clearing his driveway, resulting in his parents telling him off until 8 o'clock, at which point, Rodrick wakes up to start his day.
The next day, Susan insists that Greg spends the whole weekend out in the snow to play like in the old days, even calling Rowley's father and advising him to do the same to prevent him from hiding in there. Without any option, Greg and Rowley build an igloo without a hole, which is quickly demolished by the neighboring kids. Frank tells them that the neighborhood kids have declared war and Greg and Rowley must fight back to reclaim their territory, so both boys build another fort but discover that almost every kid in town was inspired by their idea. After the Lower Street Kids are caught sledding down their hill, they all team up and build a double-layered wall across the road to stop them. After a raging battle, the lower kids send Trevor Nix over to split the hill kids up with decoys. After being double-crossed by Trevor, the Upper Surrey Street Kids snow wall gets demolished.
Then they hear the Safety Patrol, who came for revenge after being pelted with snowballs during the weekends. This results in the battle turning into the Surrey Street Kids (on both ends) versus the Safety Patrol, but some girls on Surrey Street switch sides, throwing the battle into confusion. The Whirley Street kids slide on the hill and join the battle. Then all the kids hear a horn going off, with Greg and Rowley realizing that it is the Mingo kids, looking like they woke up from a three-month nap. Greg realizes that he had Meckley's buckle in his pocket without realizing it, possibly revealing that Meckley Mingo, who has Greg's hand puppet from earlier speared on a pole, is after him. Since the kids hate the Mingo clan more than everyone else, they turn to fight them, catapulting the battle into a free-for-all. Greg decides he has had enough, and he and Rowley hide, worried that they won't survive. Then the ground shakes, though it turns out to be the snowplow driver, plowing through all the snow and ending the battle.
After the war, Greg can't remember what they started fighting over in the first place, and the weather drastically warms. There is still snow on the ground, so Mitchell Pickett uses a snowmobile he bought with all the money he made selling snow supplies. Trevor Nix gets accepted in Lower Surrey Street for his role in demolishing the Upper Surrey Street kid's snow wall. Greg just hopes that everyone will be grateful to him if he can make a good strategy that could allow human people to live with robots. Greg says he's glad that there are people like the hero type out there, but the world needs guys like him too. Greg says because if human beings are still around 500 million years from now, it's gonna be thanks to Greg Heffley's of the world who figured out a way to survive.
- When Greg talks about their Christmas vacation, on page 39, he is referring to their trip to Isla de Corales in The Getaway.
- This is the third book to not have the word "Diary" in yellow. The first two books are Dog Days and Hard Luck.
- However, this is the first odd-numbered book to not have the word "Diary" in yellow.
- This is the first book to use two different shades of one color. In the top half of the book, it is colored Blue-ish Dark Purple. While on the bottom half of the book, it is colored Red-ish Dark Purple.
- However, the overall color of the book is still Dark Purple, anyway.
- This is the first time the subtitle is 3D.
- This is the third time the spine uses these following two colors and they are Dark Purple and True Blue. The other two books are Double Down which uses these following two colors: Red-Orange and Yellow and The Getaway which uses these following two colors: Azure and Apple Green.
- Ironically, those books are in chronological order.
- This is the fourth book to include a reptile-skin design.
- This is also the third book to include the new Amulet logo.
- This is the sixth book to feature Greg's trademark frown. The others were: Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, Dog Days, The Ugly Truth, Old School, and The Getaway.
- There are references and parts of the book taken from Jeff Kinney's past books before The Meltdown, and all of them are listed here.
- The Safety Patrols reappeared since Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and it turns out it is now girls only, and the boys are kicked off because they decided to quit or break the rules.
- The Mingos and Meckley reappeared since Hard Luck, and it shows that they hibernate during the winter. Fregley also appears since Hard Luck as well.
- Flat Stanley is mentioned again since The Long Haul.
- The mention of the pig escaping because he was not happy about being excluded from the trip to Isla de Corales, so after misbehaving, Frank sents it to obedience school, and escaped.
- One of Fregley's quotes was mentioned in the Do-It-Yourself book.
- With Fregley being as a snowman and Manny running away, these were in the Poptropica Wimpy Wonderland island.
- This is the third book to have a resemblance to the story on the cover, after Dog Days. As purple and blue are "cool colors".
- In the UK variant of The Meltdown, the 13 on its spine is replaced with its picture for the front cover. (Greg as a snowman.)
- This is the sixth book to take place in winter. The first five books are Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Rodrick Rules, The Third Wheel, Cabin Fever, and The Getaway.
- This book marks the second time the Safety Patrol is seen. The organization hasn't been seen or mentioned since the first book.
- It's still unknown why Rowley was kicked out (or if he quit).
- This is the third time Greg screwed up a project without research.
- Fregley returns in this book. He hasn't appeared since Hard Luck.
- On page 164, Rowley and Greg come up with a name for their clan. Rowley suggests "Hufflepuff" which is a reference to the Harry Potter Hogwarts house, but Greg says he wants a more original name.
- Flat Stanley is mentioned on page 141. Greg says that he wants a TV on his ceiling, but he wants it installed by someone who knows what they're doing so he won't be "the next Flat Stanley."
- This also the second time Flat Stanley is mentioned. The first was from The Long Haul.
- This is one of few books in which Rodrick and Manny have much shorter roles and the second book after The Third Wheel in which except flashbacks, Rodrick does not bully Greg.
- Greg mentions on page 215 that the pig is probably "somewhere warm by now, having the time of his life." This probably means the pig will probably not return in Book 14, but it is unknown yet.
- 802 words are written in all capital letters in this book.
- This is the first book in the series to have pages with only drawings on them.
- Fregley's line, "Betcha I can find your 'tickle spot!'" was first used in his section in The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book.
- This is the first book to not have a specific main antagonist. She only appeared on one page.
- This is the sixth book to have two months each, books like Old School, Cabin Fever, and The Third Wheel.
- On page 57, when they're playing Museum, a boy can be seen doing a gesture resembling the 'dab'.
- This is the first and so far only time all three Heffley brothers agree on something. (their dislike of Screen-Free Weekends).
- This book reveals that there's a kid in Greg's grade at Westmore Middle School whose parents are originally from the country of Malta.
- When Greg mentions that Marcus Marconi's flag was from his dads sub shop that went out of business in page 174, you can see the sub shop with the closed sign at page 39 where Greg's family posts missing signs around the town.
- This has the largest drawing to be seen in the entire series, in taking over pages 208 and 209 altogether.
- This is the only book to have a full two-page drawing.
- The subtitle “The Meltdown” may be a reference to the second Ice Age movie which also had this subtitle with the full name being Ice Age: The Meltdown.
- On page nine, Greg says "Speaking of survival.", but in the sneak peek, it says "Speaking of unusually hot weather"
- This could've been a change, and also mean that Kinney was trying to drag in a continuity reference from The Getaway.
- Sweetie is shown to be not overweight, despite him being overweight in past books due to being fed too much by Gramma, as shown in Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck. However, it is possible he probably lost weight and got normal again.
- On the page where the kids are all in the snowball fight, Latricia Hooks has a different look.
- However, Greg doesn't know this and did mention he was just assuming.
- There is a kid all the way in the back on page 122 with a black jacket; however, on the next page, he is wearing a white jacket.
- When Greg talks about how last year, he wants to go to school fast by using a sled and dogs to his mom and dad, Greg is much shorter.
- On page 85, it says "pefectly normal" instead of "perfectly normal".
- On page 185, it says that Greg sent Rowley to get some hot chocolate, but a photo on the same page has Rowley in the wall.