Middle School- The Worst Years of My Life
By Claire Kowalec 10-22-12

I read the book “Middle School- The Worst Years of My Life”. The book was based on a boy named Rafe Khatchadorian who was in sixth grade at Hills Village Middle School (HVMS). He and his imaginary friend, Leo, create a ‘game’ for Rafe, titled Operation R.A.F.E, which stands for Rules Aren’t For Everyone, and spells Rafe. The point of the game is that Rafe gets points from Leo for breaking rules in his school’s rule book, the HVMS Code of Conduct. He goes through the year breaking rules, encountering both good and bad things, calling time-outs in the game, and many other things throughout the book.

The main character in the book is Rafe Khatchadorian, the boy who actually plays Operation R.A.F.E. He is labeled troublemaker at his school for breaking lots of rules in the Code of Conduct. His grades consist of mostly F’s and D’s. Some obstacles that Rafe encounters are: being bullied by Miller the Killer (the bully), serving detentions and lots of other things as he tries to complete the game.

Another main character is Jules Khatchadorian, Rafe’s mom. She is in quite a few scenes in the book: when it is a holiday, when she speaks to Rafe about why he is getting into trouble, and simply when Rafe returns home. Jules is caring, upset when Rafe gets into trouble, and kind.

Leo is Rafe’s imaginary friend. He is daring, bossy, smart, and quiet. Leo is also known as Leonardo the Silent because he is very quiet, since he is imaginary. He acts as Rafe’s coach for Operation R.A.F.E. Rafe imagines Leo as an imaginary friend, but Leo is actually Rafe’s brother who got sick and died when they were both three.

Ms. Donatello is Rafe’s English teacher at Hills Village Middle School. Rafe got many detentions with her, and gave her the nickname The Dragon Lady. Ms. Donatello is kind and smart.

Jeanne Galletta is Rafe’s crush at HVMS. She was his tutor for math, and is very optimistic, smart, and caring. Her favorite expression is one her dad told her: Buck Up. Buck up means to get tough and go through it when you are having a hard time.

I would not recommend this book to other kids because I did not like the storyline that much. Breaking the rules in the Code of Conduct was pointless, in my opinion, because I don’t understand why Rafe would want to get into trouble and break rules on purpose. I also cannot connect with Rafe at all. It is harder to understand when I don’t have similarities with a character. The book’s topic was not that good, and it did not capture my interest at all. I was also confused when Rafe had a detention with Ms. Donatello. He would go off into a fantasy world. It was confusing to the reader because it was hard to understand the following dialogue and actions of the characters harder to understand because some of the important things to the story were existing in the part where Rafe concealed with fantasy.

The book was about Rafe starting Middle School in sixth grade. During an assembly at the beginning of the year, Rafe receives the HVMS Code of Conduct, the school’s rule booklet. Leo and Rafe create Operation R.A.F.E. Rafe can earn points by breaking rules in the HVMS Code of Conduct.

Throughout Operation R.A.F.E, Rafe encounters some problems, that include bad grades, detentions, suspensions, talks with the principal, getting grounded by Jules, getting in fights with Bear (Jules’ fionce, his actual name is Carl), Georgia (his sister) telling on him, fights with Leo, and much more.

To sum up my thoughts and opinions, the book Middle School- The Worst Years of My Life was not a good book; it’s content was confusing and hard to understand. The book was pointless, in my opinion. I would not recommend it to kids. I liked the characters but the theme wasn’t interesting. I wouldn’t recommend this book. I read Middle School- The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson, and about Rafe’s adventures throughout Operation R.A.F.E.