Middle School - The WORST Years of My Life by James Patterson/Chris Tebbetts
Published by Random House
This book hooked me from the beginning with descriptive writing that perfected the image of the story inside my mind as I read. This book has a winning bonus of being infused with wickedly funny illustrations by Laura Park throughout the book, adding yet another layer of clever humour.
The story centres around an 11 year old boy named Rafe Khatchadorian, who calls himself a tragic hero. He gives us an inside view of being the newbie at Hills Village Middle School as a 6th grader - the school that he also refers to as a prison.
His very first introduction to middle school, and his very first incident, is a run in with the school bully, Miller the Killer, in homeroom. The unpleasant Miller returns again and again throughout the book, with Rafe having to dodge or outwit Miller in creative ways.
Also on the first day of middle school is the usual school assembly, where Rafe is handed a book of school rules, and that is when his best friend, Leo the Silent, his friend who communicates in pictures, plants an idea into his mind - to break every rule in the book before the year's end. From that moment, Operation R.A.F.E. (rules aren't for everyone) kicks in, and the story is action driven right up to very last page.
While the fictional story is fast paced and hilarious with Rafe's lies becoming so twisted and tangled until there is no turning back, there are at least three bombshell revelations that will change your outlook about Rafe. And then as the story all clicks together, you will understand why Rafe acts the way he does. You will also understand perfectly why Rafe Khatchadorian calls himself the tragic hero.
This is definitely a book for middle school readers (including reluctant readers) who are looking for a mix of action, humour, short chapters, detailed hilarious drawings, and love a good revelation or two to blow you out of your comfort zone of thoughts, making you think twice about that kid who is rebellious.
CKT Book Reviewer
Author: James Patterson/Chris Tebbetts
Illustrator: Laura Park
Title: Middle School - The WORST Years of My Life
Publisher: Random House
Published: April 2012