Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts and Laura Park

I can honestly say that I was very pleasantly surprised by this.  The only James Patterson I’ve ever read was a story I hated, and it was one of his adult books.  I know his books for kids have been really popular but I haven’t read any of them.  In this story Rafe  having a tough time of it in middle school.  At home his mother’s boyfriend is a horrible bear of a guy who lives with them, doesn’t work, yells, and is a total loser.  At school there is a dreadful bully, Miller, who torments him.  Egged on by his friend, Silent Leo, Rafe decides to spice up his year by attempting to break every rule in his school’s Code of Conduct book.  This definitely gets him noticed by the other kids, sometimes in a good way, sometimes not.  And it definitely gets the attention of school administrators. Rafe’s year really is a terrible one.  It’s definitely funny, but you can watch as he gets into more and more trouble, unable to stop himself.  The adults in the story can see something is wrong and try to help Rafe, but without much success.   The story is told through words and pictures and the pictures were great and very natural.  I really felt for the kid and I liked the hidden surprise depth to the story.   The resolution was not 100% satisfying for me because  the bully did not got enough of a comeuppance for me, but I did like this.

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