The Misadventures of Max Crumbly 1: Locker Hero

Book review by
Terreece Clarke, Common Sense Media
The Misadventures of Max Crumbly 1: Locker Hero Book Poster Image
Fun middle school adventure perfect for reluctant readers.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 8+
Based on 3 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Intended to entertain, not educate, but the fun, engaging story should entice kids to read, even reluctant ones.

Positive Messages

Treat others kindly, and do the right thing even when it's tough.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Max acts without thinking but learns from his mistakes and grows in bravery in confronting tough situations including with his bully. Additionally, there is an alert school administrator who picks up on the fact that something is wrong with Max and alerts the principal. Max's crush also encourages him to talk to someone the first time he's locked in a locker.


Several bullying situations, shoving, and a kid gets locked in a locker twice, in one case for an entire weekend. One kid talks about becoming a zombie and ripping his ear off and giving it to someone. A kid sets his book on fire to impress a girl; no one gets hurt. An adult threatens to rip a kid's face off. A kid's shoe hits a man in the face. 


Typical boy-girl situations for middle schoolers, including a boy admitting a girl is cute, having crushes, some jealousy in competition for a girl's affections, and so on.


Mild name-calling, including "weird" and "barf."


Mostly made-up brand names, but Michael Jordan-brand sneakers mentioned.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Misadventures of Max Crumbly 1: Locker Hero is the start of a new illustrated series by Dork Diaries series author Rachel Renee Russell. It's mostly about middle school hijinks, with main character Max, an eighth-grader who's been homeschooled up until now, dealing with the school bully, asthma, and panic attacks. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 6 and 9-year-old Written byraisingboysisgreat June 28, 2018

If you could give it zero stars...I would...Really, don't bother.... EVER....

What a horrible book! First, it is tedious and taps into every canned stereotype and riddled with the main character's horrible decision making. Bully cra... Continue reading
Parent of an infant, 3, and 8-year-old Written byJanet P. December 29, 2017

Max Crummy (pun intended)

My daughter was scared and cried for days because she didn't know what happened to Max and if the burglars hurt him or not. I'm begging you Rachel, pl... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byEva_cloud9 May 17, 2017


Okay. I think the jokes in this book were forced a little. I honestly prefer dork diaries as there are way too many stereotypes for girls in Max Crumbly. Every... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old April 7, 2020


Good story! BUT YOU HAVE TO BUY ANOTHER BOOK!! This book is one of them Part one and Part two books! If you don't want to waste money don't buy this... Continue reading

What's the story?

Max Crumbly has been homeschooled by his grandma forever. This is his first chance to go to a real school, and eighth grade has gotten off ot a rocky start, with Max facing a bully, throwing up in gym class, and being trapped in his locker for a three-day weekend. It only gets worse when Max discovers robbers are trying to steal the school's new computers. How will he get out of this mess?

Is it any good?

This book is an easy read about some funny and not-so-funny misadventures of an eighth-grader who's trying to find his way. He's more vulnerable than many male leads in children's literature, as he has panic attacks and asthma -- a nice touch by author Rachel Renee Russell. It's perfect for fans of the Dork Diaries and reluctant readers, and it ends on a cliffhanger, so readers will be eager to find out how Max's adventure ends. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how to deal with bullies. Do you have an adult you trust to help you navigate tough situations?

  • How do you think this book compares with books in the Dork Diaries series? How are they similar? How are they different? Do you think you'll stick with this series?

  • Max is desperately trying to find his identity, but sometimes he misses the things that are cool about him as he is. What are the favorite things you love about you?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love middle school books and graphic novels

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