The Worst Years of My Life
The Worst Years of My Life

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Series: Middle School Vol. 1   

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Annotation: 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.
Catalog Number: #50649
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition Date: 2012
Illustrator: Park, Laura,
Pages: 281 pages
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 0-316-10169-9 Perma-Bound: 0-605-49688-9
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-316-10169-1 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-49688-0
Dewey: Fic
LCCN: 2010022852
Dimensions: 20 cm.
Language: English
ALA Booklist
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."
Horn Book
This story of outcast Rafe Khatchadorian's sixth-grade year is recounted by him and illustrated by Leo, his imaginary friend. The protagonist comes up with Operation R.A.F.E. (Rules Aren't For Everyone) in which he breaks every rule in his school's handbook. It's hard to feel much sympathy for Rafe--until his emotional scars are revealed. Entertaining black-and-white cartoons keep things light.
Publishers Weekly
Patterson turns from the governmental oppression of his Witch & Wizard series to a more everyday form: the social and academic confines of middle school. Emboldened by his friend Leo, newly minted sixth-grader Rafe Khatchadorian embarks on a plan to break every one of his school's rules, frustrating his teachers, causing his grades to suffer, and landing him in detention. Things aren't any better at home, due to the constant, unpleasant presence of "Bear," who Rafe's mother is dating. Park's cartoons are pitch-perfect and do their share of storytelling, sometimes betraying the gap between Rafe's version of events and reality (in one scene, a teacher, portrayed as a dragon, screams, "I don't want to eat you. Just talk to me"). The subject matter gets surprisingly dark, particularly regarding Bear's emotional abusiveness and two twists involving Rafe's relationship with Leo, though the latter arrives so late its impact is weakened. But the book's ultrashort chapters, dynamic artwork, and message that "normal is boring" should go a long way toward assuring kids who don't fit the mold that there's a place for them, too. Ages 8-12. (June)
School Library Journal Starred Review
Gr 5&11;8&12; 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.&12; Colleen S. Banick, Tomlinson Middle School, Fairfield, CT
Word Count: 30,992
Reading Level: 4.5
Interest Level: 4-7
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 4.5 / points: 4.0 / quiz: 144983 / grade: Middle Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.3 / points:9.0 / quiz:Q55002
Lexile: 700L

Discover the #1 bestselling middle-grade comic that inspired a major motion picture: Children's Choice Award winner James Patterson has never been more hilarious and heartwarming.

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: 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.

James Patterson's debut middle-grade novel addresses some of middle schoolers' biggest issues: bullies, first crushes, and finding out what makes each of us special, all with a hilarious main character and fantastic in-text illustrations that are sure to have young readers begging for more!

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