New York Times Best Seller's List – Children's Chapter Books July 2011
Rafe Khatchadorian enters sixth grade at Hills Village Middle School, also known as the prison to Rafe.
Rafe and his "friend" Leo come up with a plan for Rafe to get points for breaking every one of the rules in the school handbook. At home, Rafe wants to please his mother but despises his lazy step father.
Rafe begins his quest by pulling the fire alarm at the assembly, revising Shakespeare in English, and denying to his Mom that Leo had anything to do with his getting detention.
Leo realizes he is in danger of failing sixth grade. After realizing his mom is still disappointed in him after trying to please everyone, Rafe decides to finish what he started and draws a giant mural on the school to break a big school handbook rule for maximum points. The cops catch Rafe.
When they get home, Bear (stepfather) is waiting and Rafe's mom ends up with a broken wrist after a physical confrontation Bear is kicked out of the house, and Rafe explodes at the bully Miller on the way to meet with the principal.
Rafe, his mom, the principal, and Mrs. Stricker meet to decide punishment. Just as Rafe is expelled from school for the rest of the year, Mrs. Stricker suggests that art school is where Rafe belongs and that he needs to put together a portfolio. Rafe's mom shows the notebook page copies that she now has and they agree that it is a good beginning of a portfolio. Next year, Rafe can hopefully look forward to attending the art school after serving is expulsion time. Rafe admits that Leo is not "real"; he is his twin who died when they were three from pneumonia. He and his mom agree that Leo will continue to be "in spirit".
Patterson begins that story with a flashback that comes together in the last few pages of the book. His use of dialogue fleshes out Rafe's character and helps the reader relate to the energetic sixth grader. Patterson also uses music in language when Rafe mimics the Shakespeare for laughs during his English class.
Patterson , J. (2011). Middle school the worst years of my life. New York: Little, Brown, and Company.