119 of 130 people found the following review helpful
on July 1, 2011
I am a mother of a 10 year old. I try to find books that will keep her intrested in reading. Personally I love any book from James Patterson for myself. Then when I saw he was writting a childs book I had to get it. I per-ordered it and got this book the day after it came out. My daughter can't put it down. She is laughing while reading and can't stop telling me about what is happening in the book. As a parent this is what you want for your young child or pre-teen. This is a most have and your kids will thank you.
55 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2011
I'm a middle school teacher. When I saw this advertised I just had to get it to see things from a kids perspective. VERY fast read. Funny as heck. I could actually put some faces (teachers, students, bus drivers, lunch ladies, etc) on the characters in this book. My daughter (high school student) is reading it now and laughing and talking about it to her friends...now if she'd only read her A.P. summer reading assignments...
98 of 114 people found the following review helpful
on November 26, 2012
I purchased this book based on great reviews - I was totally floored when I read this book after my 10 year old son finished it, as the book details countless inappropriate situations for a child that age.
Let me say I'm a young parent and I don't consider myself a prude by any means - I'm not overly protective of the material my child reads (I've seen parents give books bad ratings for using the word "suck" - come on now).
However, this book is THE ONLY book I've ever actually blushed while reading. The fact that Rafe calls his step father "Bear" because he's as mean as the animal was certainly disturbing to me at first. I was waiting for that "ah-ha!" moment when Rafe realizes Bear isn't such a bear after all, but that moment never comes. They depict the step father in this story as a jobless loser who is mean to his step children and sits on his behind all day watching TV while his saint of a wife (Rafe's mom) works double shifts at the local diner. And IF ONLY Bear would just get a job, poor mom wouldn't have to work so much. At one point in the book, Rafe's mom admits that she "doesn't always make the best decisions", referring to her relationship with Bear. Towards the end of the book, Rafe's mom and Bear get in an argument and he "accidentally pushes" her - he then leaves a message on their answering machine later that evening to let them know he's staying at a buddy's house and is thankfully Rafe's mom didn't press charges. WHAT?!
Beyond that - the premise of the book is that Rafe's imaginary friend Leo urges him to break all of the rules in this new middle school's Code of Conduct manual. Mischievous and not entirely offensive at first - but Rafe becomes obsessed with acting out and eventually gets expelled from school because of his behavior (the last straw was an act of vandalism). Still - I kept waiting for the "ah-ha!" moment when Rafe would realize breaking the rules and seeking negative attention wasn't the best use of his time and energy - but nope, no such moment ever comes. In fact, his mother seems to make excuses for his behavior by revealing that his imaginary friend Leo is a manifestation of his dead twin brother. Again- WHAT?!
While reading the book I often felt as though I was reading a creative writing piece that a disturbed teenager wrote. There was no moral to the story. It was simply the rantings of an unhappy middle schooler and a chronology of his distructive behavior. I realize there are children in the world who live with step parents they don't like, or have parents who work so much they rarely see them; however, this book made no attempt to identify with the plight of those children and offer hope. It simply told a disturbing story with a very unhappy ending.
I would not recommend this book for a child under the age of 12 at least based on content - and even then a reader over age 12 would truly be wasting their time reading this.
55 of 64 people found the following review helpful
on July 5, 2011
Starting middle school can be rough on anybody, but for Rafe Khatchadorian, the sixth grade escalates into an absolute nightmare. First of all, his middle school resembles an ancient, high security prison. Secondly, it's staffed with angry monsters, like the dragon lady who teaches English, the three witches in the cafeteria, the ogre gym teacher, and the principal named the Lizard King. Thirdly, there's a nine-foot-tall troll of a sixth grader called Miller the Killer who is out to get him.
Things aren't much better at home, with a bratty younger sister, a mom who works all the time, and a soon-to-be stepfather who sits around the house hogging the TV and is as much of a bully as Miller the Killer. At least Rafe has his best friend, Leo, who doesn't say much but has a great imagination. In fact, Leo is the one who gave him the best idea ever. To spice things up, Rafe creates a game with the goal of breaking every rule in the middle school's code of conduct handbook. He assigns points to each rule, with bonus points available for creativity, getting laughs and being witnessed by the cutest girl in the class, Jeanne Galletta.
Life definitely gets more exciting, but Rafe also starts spending a lot more time in detention, and his mom is very disappointed in him. Then the trouble and heartache start mounding up so heavily on Rafe's shoulders where even his best friend can't help much. When the police get called in, Rafe finally crumbles. Then he gets some help from a very unexpected someone, and life promises to continue being interesting, but in a different, more positive way.
James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts team up for this amazing adventure about one boy's attempt at surviving middle school. The first thing that stands out is how absolutely hilarious the book is. Rafe is a very likable character, and readers will love laughing along with him. His rule-breaking game is incredibly imaginative and dives headfirst into the danger zone again and again. Rafe does have to face the consequences of his actions, though he does attract the attention of someone who helps him find a way to work through his issues.
This unique and fast moving storyline also has a couple of surprise bombs dropped along the way that make it even more compelling. Also noteworthy are the intensely detailed illustrations of Laura Park. They support the story line as they are the work of Rafe's friend, Leo, plus they add even more humor to the story. Patterson, Tebbetts and Park make a great team, and the proof is right here in MIDDLE SCHOOL, THE WORST YEARS OF MY LIFE.
--- Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman
103 of 125 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2011
As a Middle School teacher and fan of James Patterson, I thought this would be a great book for my class library, and possibly as a read-aloud selection. I was very disappointed. I notice that there are two authors listed for the book and wonder if Patterson just put his name on it so that it would be a best-seller, as it is certainly not the caliber of writing one would expect based on his past books for adolescents.
The book glorifies breaking rules with the intent to be humorous and entertaining, of which it is seldom either. The boy ends up flunking 6th grade and is expelled, but seems ok with that, as he will probably transfer to an "art school" where he will presumably flourish. However, there is no reason to believe that he has learned any lessons, or that he will now be motivated to follow the rules.
All in all, this seems to be a quickly written book. The moral of the story seems to be, you can have a lot of fun breaking rules - and everything will turn out ok in the long run - and, if you're name is James Patterson, you can make a lot of money publishing just about anything.
35 of 41 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2011
With my son about to enter middle school, when I saw that James Patterson wrote a book about a boy's travails in middle school I knew I had to pick it up and read it--and then hopefully pass it onto my son. And I am glad I did! To start with, you really have to read this book from the perspective of a middle school student. If you read it with the mindset of 39 year old man like I am, you may be slightly dissapointed. But from my son's perspective, I am sure it will be great. The story follows Rafe Khatchadorian who enters middle school and goes through the same challenges as many other boys his age--attraction to girls, bullying, homework, grades, etc. The book uses an interesting twist--a point contest--to take you through Rafe's days in school. Rafe quickly goes from being a loner to popular and back to a loner again and then finally in a lot of trouble. You will also be mystefied by his imaginary friend Leo. A good book for grades 6-8 and to be honest even adults will enjoy this as well. Great cartooning is a real bonus!
37 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2011
I was in a remote cabin on Lake of the Woods, reading a James Patterson book that my mom had loaned to me when the morning news came on and there was James Patterson himself! He was talking about this new book written from the point of view of a middle school student. As a middle school principal, I couldn't have been more excited! I jumped on the Amazon site and ordered several of them for our middle school teachers to read and enjoy. When I returned to school, I was the first to open the Amazon box, and I even took a vacation day to enjoy this read---Patterson AND middle school---can't beat it!
I was so extremely disappointed! James Patterson is one of my very favorite authors, but on this book, he completely missed the mark! Throughout the chapters he perpetuates every cliche and stereotype that adults THINK it is like in middle school. Yet, age fades a memory, and I wish Patterson had actually visited a real middle school and spent time talking to young adolescents. If he had, the story would be much different. Middle School students don't intend to be rude, disrespectful and gross---it just happens to them. They are awkward, nervous and they want people to like them. So they try too hard and act on impulse which usually leads to some random act that gets them in trouble. They crave acceptance and want their teachers to love them---even in all of their messiness.
Patterson missed all of this and clung to the norm. He owes us a second try----after doing his research!
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on December 27, 2011
This review contains spoilers.
This book started out good. It was fast and witty and I found myself liking Rage... for about 40 pages.
After he decides to break the rules I'm like, cool, this is going to actually be different, not just a middle schooler trying to fit in. It's going to be awesome and covert, he's gonna have to come up with smart ways to break these rules and not get caught. It's gonna be sweet.
Rafe is an idiot. He thinks he's a good guy. When he broke the first rule it was cool... but you gotta realize that's still bad. You can like bad characters. They're fun, witty, and just interesting. So I figured he would be a "bad boy" character... only he doesn't see himself that way. He sees himself as some victim of the rules, some person who the rule-makers personally want to hurt. What? Where did that come from?
Random spoilers from here on.
His friend, Leo, is the only likable character. He knows what they're doing is wrong. But he doesn't try to hide that. I liked him... and then he got an interesting twist. He's Rafe's imaginary friend.
So... you have an imaginary friend... but he has different values than you? Huh? And then he says how Leo is interesting, always comes up with things he would never think of, is his only friend... wow, Rafe is an idiot.
Then about half way through the book, he gets a smack in the face. He's failing middle school. Oh no! How could this happen? Wait... maybe because he's been trying to get in trouble and not giving a crap about his grades all year? But no, it must be something else.
Rafe decides to be good. He feels bad that he's giving his mom a hard time- hello! Did ya really think you're mom would think it's awesome that you're a freakin' brat in school? His stupid mom who needs a review all by herself at how stupid she is; she stays with a guy who abuses her kids and she can't even stand, who's a totally unbelievable character. Seriously. He would do things and I'm like, really? Did that really just happen? Rafe's mom is a moron.
But anyway, back to Rafe. He's good for about two months. His grades still suck. He still gets in trouble because of his rep. So everyone must be picking on him, right? I mean, he randomly was a brat and troublemaker, but he's been good for two months, so everyone should bow down to him and love him now, right? Oh, wait, this is reality and everyone doesn't do what you want? Well, I guess it's time for him to get into trouble again, since his two freakin' months of being good didn't help any. Like, is he really that stupid? He thinks two months will take away all his problems? What an idiot.
The one kid that was awesome, though, was Miller, who's supposed to be the "bad guy" of the story. Even though he was the only likable character. He was a bully, but he knew it. He knew what he was doing and that it was wrong and he didn't pretend otherwise. He kept Rafe's notebook and blackmailed him; Rafe had to buy each page for a dollar. Go, Miller!
But then the end came. The horrifying, ugly, despicable, hateful end. Rafe gets expelled for drawing all over a school wall. Finally the kid has to pay for something! And I'm talking really get in trouble, not these sissy detentions.
But wait... oh, never mind. Sure, he got expelled... and then he gets rewarded! Can you believe that? He gets rewarded for being the school troublemaker! He gets sent to his special art school. So... let's get this straight. For the whole year(minus two months) this kid has been a brat, has broken the rules - and not only broken the rules, but tried to break them all - and you're going to say, "Bad kid! That wasn't very nice of you. Want to have a scholarship to this cool art school and never be bored in school again?" WHAT?!
This book... wow. SO. AWFUL.
P.S. Something I forgot to mention. Rafe? A male version of Maximum Ride.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on December 7, 2012
My daughter hated reading until I got her to read this one. I couldn't get her to put it down.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 23, 2011
I purchesd this book for my 13 year old twin Grandchildren. My Grandaughter loved it and finished it in 2 days. My Grandson has not read it as yet.
Based on her reaction I would recommed this Book.