My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Goodreads: James Patterson's winning follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestsellerMiddle School, The Worst Years of My Life--which the LA Times called "a perfectly pitched novel"--is another riotous and heartwarming story about living large.
After sixth grade, the very worst year of his life, Rafe Khatchadorian thinks he has it made in seventh grade. He's been accepted to art school in the big city and imagines a math-and-history-free fun zone.Wrong! It's more competitive than Rafe ever expected, and to score big in class, he needs to find a way to turn his boring life into the inspiration for a work of art. His method? Operation: Get a Life! Anything he's never done before, he's going to do it, from learning to play poker to going to a modern art museum. But when his newest mission uncovers secrets about the family Rafe's never known, he has to decide if he's ready to have his world turned upside down. (Includes over 100 illustrations.)
My thoughts: Last year we met Rafe in the 6th grade as he raised all kinds of H-E double hockey sticks. He also had a friend named Leo that kept ratcheting up the ante which didn't help at all. Turned out that Rafe had a lot of past pain he had to work through and needed to be addressed. Leo turns out to be an interesting character, indeed.
This year Rafe moves in with his grandmother in the city and has to start all over in a new school. Fortunately, he gets into another art institute for the artistically gifted and, surprisingly, makes a friend, Matty the Freak. Unfortunately, he also makes some enemies. In this book, Rafe deals with more difficult stuff but very pertinent. The question is addressed - Who is a good friend? What happens when you find out the good friend is not who you thought he was? Also, Rafe finds out what happened to his father as his Rafe's mother decides he is old enough to know more.
Interesting characters that either make an encore appearance or the reader is introduced to in this one include Rafe's grandmother, Scary Hairy, Matty the Freak, and sideline characters. Another well written, fun but then relevant book about social situations and dealing with difficult issues.
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*I received a free copy of this book from publishing company in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.