Title: Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life (Middle School #1)
Author: James Patterson
Publisher: Cornerstone Digital
Genre: Children’s / Middle Grade
Description: 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, if he can pull it off. With his best friend Leonardo the Silent awarding him points, Rafe tries 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.
My Review: ‘Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life’ is book one of the Middle School series. I’ll have to start by being honest and tell you that I’ve never picked up a James Patterson book before so I wasn’t really sure what I was going to get with this book, but I decided to give it a try given how well known the author is, the hundreds of positive reviews and the fact that this story has now been turned into a Netflix film – apparently.
Rafe Khatchadorian has just started middle school and hates it already so he turns the whole school experience into a game, trying to amass points for every rule he breaks with the help of his friend Leo. Although the basic story idea is fun and I’ve read a lot of children’s/MG books, I just didn’t like this one.
The book had a really slow start for me. Although the story itself happens fast and is made up of a lot of short chapters with fun pictures in between, I just wasn’t interested at all when the story started. Being the persistent kind I like to keep reading on to see if a book gets better and it did, a little bit, but not enough to keep my attention in reading it. I kept having to remind myself to get back to reading the book rather than wanting to.
The basic plot is pretty predictable which bothered me a little bit but there’s a twist to the story some way in, along with another twist right at the end of the novel. These twists are actually really good and I didn’t see either one coming. It’s only when the first twist, about a certain character, is revealed that I got a little more interested in reading this.
The book has some fun images throughout that all look like drawings and they’re all very fun and silly which definitely add to the humour. But some chapters have so many fun pictures with others having such long text I would have preferred more images in the large block text sections.
The ending was good and the twists are what make the story worth reading, but the whole story had a very predictable feel to it. Even with children’s fiction I still expect to be surprised every now and then and this book just didn’t for me. Maybe it’s the fact I’m from the UK and not from the US, where the book is set, or maybe it’s something boys will prefer reading to girls? I don’t know what it is but this story just didn’t grab me like I hoped, which is a real shame as I was expecting so much more.
-Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a free copy.
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