Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Middle School, the Worst Years of My Life
by James Patterson
I’ve been reading James Patterson’s “Middle School, the Worst Years of My Life,” with one of my students. Patterson’s book is geared toward middle school boys and doesn’t disappoint. The main character, sixth grader Rafe Khatchadorian experiences bullying on his first day of middle school. He decides that it’s only going to get worse. So he sets up a personal challenge with the help of his silent friend, Leo. He plans to disobey every rule in the school’s Code of Conduct, for the sheer satisfaction of showing he can. For even greater motivation, Leonardo will award higher points for level of difficulty.

On the surface, a story about a sixth grader determined to break a lot of school rules aimed at boys would seem to be a book that couldn’t or shouldn’t be recommended. But there’s more to this near graphic novel than a misunderstood kid who is bullied, breaks a lot of schools rules, and seems to be a loner at his new school. Rafe also deals with his parents’ divorce, his mother who works double shifts, her job-less live-in boyfriend Bear, who may become Rafe’s stepfather, a silent friend named Leo, and a little sister Georgia whom Rafe needs to protect. 

It’s a funny, entertaining book, with great illustrations. It shows the trouble a middle school kid can get into, but also shows that there are consequences for bad behavior--worse than detention and bad grades, and there may be unlikely friends in even in bad situations. Highly recommended for middle schoolers, ages 8-12.

Information on author James Patterson at www.jamespatterson.com

Reviewed by:
Penelope Anne Cole
Award Winning Author of Magical Matthew and Magical Mea 
and Mágico Mateo (Spanish)
New: Magical Mea Goes to School
For Halloween: Ten Little Tricksters
Web:  http://www.penelopeannecole.com/ 

Middle School the Worst Years of My Life, James Patterson, Rafe Khatchadorian, Leo, Miller, Georgia, Jeanne, breaking rules, code of conduct, middle school students, problems, games, challenges, family, little sister, mother, Bear, stepfather, boyfriend, girlfriend, consequences, detention, getting in trouble.

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