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|Middle school, the worst years of my life|
Author: Patterson, James
When Rafe Kane enters middle school, he teams up with his best friend, "Leo the Silent," to create a game to make school more fun by trying to break every rule in the school's code of conduct.
Middle School Novels, 1
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 4.0 Quiz: 144983
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 9.0 Quiz: 55002
Common Core Standards
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 3 → Reading → RL Literature → 3.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
School Library Journal (11/01/11)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (09/11)
Full Text Reviews:
Bulletin for the Center... - 09/01/2011 Rafe Khatchadorian is already bored out of his mind on the first day of middle school, so he and his friend Leonardo the Silent decide that Rafe’s task for the year will be to break every rule in the school handbook. As aficionados of video games, they raise the stakes by assigning point values to each rule, adding bonus points for special projects, and limiting Rafe to three lives that can be lost by wimping out on rule-breaking. The game gets complicated by Rafe’s nascent crush on a girl who doesn’t share his outlaw spirit, a bully intent on besting Rafe for the title of baddest kid in school, a teacher who recognizes talent even when it’s couched in lawlessness, and guilt over disappointing his hard-working, long-suffering mom. Rafe has Leo supporting and abetting him, though, so success may well be within his grasp. Lively illustrations rendered in a credibly tween cartoonish fashion pepper the text and augment the comic hyperbole of Rafe’s assessment of the torments of middle school, placing this squarely in the mixed textual/visual style that has come to dominate the genre. There is substance as well as appeal here, though: Rafe is understandably suspicious of his mother’s new boyfriend and disappointed by her lack of insight into his character, and both his talent and his acting out have recognizable antecedents. His almost plaintive requests for a sympathetic reader hit their mark, as Patterson deftly manages the pace of revelations that take readers deeper into Rafe’s fragile trust. Especially nice is the inclusion of perceptive adults who see through the naughty behaviors to the possibilities they augur. Readers ready for something in the same vein but more substantive than Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid (BCCB 6/07) or Peirce’s Big Nate (BCCB 5/10) should be introduced to Rafe. KC - Copyright 2011 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.
Booklist - 09/15/2011 Sixth-grader Rafe’s first day of school is horrendous. Friendless except for his imaginary pal, Leo, he zones out during the recitation of the school’s code of conduct, setting himself the goal of breaking every rule before the end of the year. The mostly unrepentant recounting that follows reads like a middle-school manifesto for bad behavior; Rafe describes pulling fire alarms, streaking, painting graffiti, and fighting, as well as thwarting bullies bent on extortion and failing most of his classes. Eventually he is expelled, leading everyone to realize that Rafe might be more successful in an alternative arts school. The author of the Maximum Ride series channels here the graphic style of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2007). Subplots involving Mom’s deadbeat (and abusive) boyfriend, Rafe’s crush on a popular girl, and Leo’s true identity lend gravitas to this otherwise anarchist story. Short chapters and numerous cartoon illustrations make this quick read suitable, as Patterson says, for “all of you in need of AR points.” - Copyright 2011 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 11/01/2011 Gr 5–8—The first 20 pages of this novel seem to be a blueprint for classic middle-school rebellion. As the story continues, Patterson's ability to hog-tie his target audience into a sympathetic relationship with Rafe, the sixth-grade protagonist, becomes clear. Along with his friend Leo the Silent, Rafe concocts a plan to break every rule in the Hills Village Middle School Code of Conduct by the end of the year, creating palpable tension between him and every adult character in the book. As Patterson artfully weaves a deeper and more thought-provoking tale of childhood coping mechanisms and everyday school and family realities, readers are drawn into a deeper understanding of and compassion for the main characters. Taking the best of the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" (Abrams) formula, he successfully melds it with an emotional and, at times, unexpected journey. Hand this book to misbehaving, socially awkward, or disengaged boys and girls who are willing to take it. It might help them believe that there is a place for them in the world, no matter how dire times may seem in the present.—Colleen S. Banick, Tomlinson Middle School, Fairfield, CT - Copyright 2011 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.