Sunday, July 24, 2011

Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson

Middle School, The Worst Years of My LifeMiddle School, The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Goodreads: Rafe Khatchadorian has enough problems at home without throwing his first year of middle school into the mix. Luckily, he's got an ace plan for the best year ever, if only he can pull it off: With his best friend Leonardo the Silent awarding him points, Rafe tries to break every rule in his school's oppressive Code of Conduct. Chewing gum in class-5,000 points! Running in the hallway-10,000 points! Pulling the fire alarm-50,000 points! But when Rafe's game starts to catch up with him, he'll have to decide if winning is all that matters, or if he's finally ready to face the rules, bullies, and truths he's been avoiding.

Blockbuster author James Patterson delivers a genuinely hilarious-and surprisingly poignant-story of a wildly imaginative, one-of-kind kid that you won't soon forget.

My take: I simply can't say much about this book because there are surprises I didn't see coming that were truly game-changing. It's not a life-altering book or a literary masterpiece. It's a story about a 13 year old boy trying to navigate the terrifying and uncertain path of middle school which, for the record, I believe should be outlawed, anyway.

Rafe has a rebellious streak and, with the coaxing of his one friend, Leo, he comes up with the brilliant idea of systematically breaking every rule by the end of the school year. There are 112 of them. He assigns them points and makes a goal. The antics are disturbing to the educator in me, defeating for the parent in me, and hilarious for the latent adolescent in me.

Then a curve ball. Interesting.

In the meantime, the reader understands Rafe's need for attention albeit negative given his mother's chosen addiction; a low-life guy taking up space on the sofa, yelling at her kids and collecting unemployment checks. His sister, Georgia, seems to be the kind of daughter that plays by the rules. Although Rafe is irritated by her very presence, he is also protective of her in a way a big brother can be in the face of an unpleasant future stepfather. Rafe's mother works double shifts to pay for her two children and no-good fiance.

Themes are appropriately addressed for the target audience. There is nothing horribly disturbing about any of Rafe's activities or the behavior by any of the other characters although there is a little violence which contributes well to the story.

I can't believe I just wrote that last sentence.

Then another curve ball. Followed by a real doozie of curve ball.

Satisfying read.

Sex: None
Language: None
Violence: Moderate
Dialogue: Clean

View all my reviews

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