Middle School: The Worst Years Of My Life!
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life is a realistic fiction novel by James Patterson that serves as the beginning of Patterson's Middle School series. Published in the United States by Little, Brown and Company on June 27, 2011, the book follows sixth grader Rafe Khatchadorian as he begins middle school and “copes with the awkwardness of adolescence: crushes, bullying, family issues as he attempts to break every school rule and collect the most points any student's ever been given. The book received critical acclaim from most reviewers and went on to spawn its sequel, Middle School: Get Me Out of Here!.
The story begins when Rafe Khatchadorian enters sixth grade at Hills Village Middle School. Rafe dislikes his new school saying, “I think it was a prison for Pilgrims back then, but not too much has changed. Now it’s a prison for sixth, seventh, and eighth graders.”
Rafe is bored with sixth grade at first, but he and his friend Leonardo the Silent invent "Operation R.A.F.E.", a challenge to break every rule in his middle school handbook. He also deals with strife at home. His mother constantly works double shifts at a diner and barely gets to see Rafe and his sister, Georgia. He has a verbally abusive stepfather-to-be named Carl (aka Bear), who 'watches' over him when his mother is not home. He finds consolation in Jeanne Galletta, who is skeptical of Operation R.A.F.E and encourages him to work on his schoolwork.
Rafe's consequences increase rapidly, including many detentions with his English teacher, Ms. Donatello. This causes a lot of tension between Rafe, Bear, and Rafe's mother. After having a fight with Bear about how Leonardo is a bad influence on Rafe, it is revealed that Leonardo is Rafe's imaginary friend. In about the middle of the book, Rafe starts selling Zoom out of his locker, to get some extra money and also to get some pages back from Miller, who took his Operation R.A.F.E notebook.
Rafe's actions cause him to get horrible grades, get suspended, and be tutored by Jeanne Galletta, whom he is trying to avoid since he found out she doesn't like him. Finally, Miller sends all Rafe's Operation R.A.F.E details in the mail. Rafe, his mother, and Bear get to talking, then yelling, then Bear pushes Rafe's mother down the stairs. So Bear has to pack his stuff and move out. Rafe also gets expelled from middle school for drawing graffiti on the school walls, but Ms. Donatello sees the potential in the art he has been making. He is sent to an art school instead of middle school, and in the final part of the book, Leonardo is revealed to be Rafe's real twin brother, who died as a toddler, rather than a figment of pure fantasy. Rafe apparently lives happily ever after at his art school.
· Rafael "Rafe" Khatchadorian The protagonist of the story who is a sixth grader at HVMS.
· Leonardo the Silent Rafe's imaginary friend who gets Rafe into trouble. He is based on Rafe's real twin brother Leonardo who died of meningitis when the twins were three years old.
· Georgia Khatchadorian Rafe's annoying little sister who occasionally quarrels with her brother and often acts as the family tattletale whenever she hears a secret.
· Jeanne Galletta One of Rafe's only friends in HVMS. She also tutors Rafe.
· Miller, AKA Miller the Killer. The school bully. He thinks Rafe is using Operation R.A.F.E. to threaten his status as the biggest trouble-maker in school. He eventually pushes Rafe to a point where he beats him up.
· Julie, "Jules" Khatchadorian- Rafe and Georgia's mother whose ex-boyfriend is Carl "Bear". A protagonist who is optimistic and finds solutions to problems accompanied by the teachers at HVMS to solve Rafael's problems.
· "Bear" - Jules' abusive former fiance and lazy person every
· Mrs. Donatello "Dragon Lady" - A teacher of HVMS who seems mean to Rafe at first, but turns out to help him.