After a heavy weight like Desert Angel, I'm sure you won't blame
me for reviewing a more humerous book. I really enjoyed reading
Middle School The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson and Chris
Tebbets. From kids who find this promotion from primary grades to be
a change for the worse to their peers who soar through the transition,
I think most young scholars will find something to relate to.
The cover gives you a pretty big clue. Rafe, the hero, is
surrounded by inanimate objects with attitude: a clock declaring him
tardy, a school bus snarling, "outta my way"... The drawings
scattered throughout the book perfectly compliment the text and are a
delight in their own right. There's one where an unseen teacher
(Dinatello the Dragon Lady) is represented as a word bubble of blah,
blah... and Rafe has morphed into a bobble head. A cafeteria scene
where three cackling lunch ladies stir something in a cauldron reminds
me of MacBeth. Rafe dressed as a giant orange falcon with a super
hero cape...ya gotta read the book to get that one.
Anyhow, Rafe starts out by offering friendship to you, the
reader. He hopes he can trust you. His life is full of untrustworthy
characters: his dragon lady English teacher, his controlling vice
principal, his bratty tattletale kid sister... The only one he can
count on is his best friend, Leonardo the Silent.
On Rafe's first day in middle school the student code of conduct
has him in despair. He'll be getting in trouble all year. Leonardo
sees this as a chance for Rafe to become a legend by breaking every
rule in the book. They turn it into a video game like challenge with
a points system and extra lives. Rafe embarks on this journey by
pulling a fire alarm.
There are surprises. When Rafe tries to convert to goodness,
much to his surprise, it's not all smooth sailing. Leonardo is not
who he would seem to be. Even kids not exactly drawn to reading will
give this amusing and, in the end, surprisingly poignant book a chance.
On a personal note, I have more than enough poems for a first book.
Now it's a matter of selecting which ones to include, getting them in
order, naming the baby, and raising the money to start publishing on
Amazon. Like Rafe, I'm about to take the scary step of trusting the
readers with my creation.
A great big shout out goes out to my literary co pilot, Leah, whose
graphics take my poetry to a whole new level. You go, Girl!
Julia Emily Hathaway
Sent from my iPod