Diary of a Maxed-Out Kid – Spotlight & Review


How do you find the strength to fight for what’s right?

Set against the backdrop of everyday life in the Soviet Union, this humorous coming-of-age story is both a young man’s journey of discovery, and a glimpse at this fascinating period of Russian history.

The year is 1983, and the Cold War between America and the Soviet Union is escalating again. In the small Soviet town of Belsk though, a young Russian teenager has bigger things on his mind, matters much more pressing to a boy in the seventh grade.

Maxim Lapin has a crush. And not just any crush. Maxim is head over heals for a girl named Tanya Nosova, and it’s just his luck that Tanya is too ambitious and independent to even acknowledge his advances. As if that wasn’t enough, Maxim and his friends are being bullied by a gang of older boys, led by angry, frightening Tolik Smirnov.

Maxim is too intimidated by beautiful Tanya Nosova to try his luck again, and too afraid of his own blood to stand up to Tolik and his gang. To Maxim, it seems that life is more complicated the older you become, and he’s not sure he likes it at all.

Then, Maxim’s grandfather begins to tell him stories about WWII, when he fought the Nazi invasion. Maxim listens, rapt. His grandfather faced incredible challenges; and just like Maxim, there were times when he was afraid. Through his grandfather’s insights, Maxim starts to rethink his situation. Maybe he does have the strength to face his challenges after all, maybe he will find the courage to stand up to his fears. Maybe, just maybe, he can solve both of his problems at the same time.

A novel for middle grade children or young adults, this book weaves action and adventure with a poignant story of a young man on the brink of adulthood.

At once funny and heartfelt, Diary of a Maxed Out Kid is a historical novel sure to engage and inspire.




“Diary of a Maxed-out Kid” is a very funny story and at heart, a very inspiring one.

Set in Russia during the Cold War era, it is the coming-of-age tale of Maxim who, as most teenagers, has to overcome the struggles that come with growing up. While having to confront peer pressure and bullying, Maxim has a crush on Tanya who, needless to say, does not return his attentions.

But just when it all seems too difficult for Maxim to handle, his grandfather steps in and starts telling him about his years during World War II and his fight for survival. Through these stories, and learning how his grandfather overcame his fears during the darkest of times, Maxim looks for new inspiration to overcome his own ordeals.

As a background to the plot, there is a lot of historical background of Russia, set in 1983, which really adds much depth to the story, together with the stories of the grandfather.

Although this book is for teenagers, young and old of any age will surely enjoy it as much as I have.

Good to know that there is already a second book in the series waiting to be read.



Max Candee is a dad of three curious kids. He writes books for children together with twelve-year-old Ivan, seven-year-old Naomi and five-year-old Maya, who all share their passionate opinions and creative ideas. They even draw in Max’s manuscripts, and they love it when professional illustrators build on their suggestions.

In fact, Max only publishes those books which his children loved and wanted to share with their friends.



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