Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts is a book that I predict will be very popular in our classroom. It is reminiscent of the tween angst found in the series of The Diary of A Wimpy Kid and Amelia's Notebook, coupled with the great illustrations found in My Life as a Book, My Life as a Stuntboy, and Origami Yoda.
The angst comes from the main character, Rafe Khatchadorian. His last name alone leaves him open to the unkindness of some classmates. Rafe is the narrator of the multiple stories he has to tell - there is always the real story, and then there is the "Rafe" story - the latter will amuse many of the boys in my room.
Rafe's plan to make himself memorable in middle school is to break every rule in the student handbook as a 6th grader. Again, many students will enjoy his quest to break the rules. And the quirky illustrations by Laura Park that go with the story and Rafe's imagination are a hoot - full of detail and creativity. I envision an entirely new style of writing will take place in our writer's workshop after students read this book.
Rafe often talks directly to the reader, and there is one surprise layer that is added to this story that brings more compassion to Rafe's character, but there will be no spoilers here.
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life is the type of book that might not win an award, but will most definitely be one of the most checked-out books in our classroom library. I can't wait to see who gets it first!!