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Middle School: Get me out of Here by J. Patterson and C. Tebbetts

Patterson, James and Tebbetts, Chris. Middle School: Get me out of Here. Illus. Laura Parker. New York: Little, Brown Company, 2012. Print.

Middle School: Get me out of Here is an illustrated novel, the second in a series, about Rafe Khatchadorian, a mischievous middle school student.  Rafe has survived the worst year of his life and is now looking forward to seventh grade.  But when Swifty’s Diner burns to the ground and his mom is left without work, Rafe and his family are forced to move to the city to live with Grandma Dotty.  Cramped quarters at Grandma’s finds Rafe sleeping on a couch in the living room. Could life get any worse?  As Rafe struggles with his newfound situation, he is unexpectedly accepted to attend Cathedral Academy, an art school in the city. Rafe jumps at the chance.  But when his first art critique goes horribly wrong Rafe begins to think that perhaps he is not quite talented enough for the Academy.  Enter Matty the Freak, Rafe’s first real live friend.  Matty helps Rafe turn his boring life into inspiration for his artwork. The plan, Operation: Get a Life, to do 195 new things before the spring art show, only 195 days away.  But Rafe just can’t seem to stay out of trouble! Will Operation: Get a Life be a bust or will Rafe be able to create a masterpiece and get his life back on track?  

Authors Patterson and Tebbetts have created a cast of likeable characters that will appeal to the target audience and particularly resonate with male readers.  The first person narrative draws the reader into the story and helps add credence to Rafe’s struggles. Along with humorous narrative, zany artwork by Laura Park helps propel the reader through the text. Park’s attention to detail is flawless and her sketched illustrations bring the story to life. This book would be a great addition to any middle school library.

Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars
Reviewer: Kelly Boyd

Kelly Boyd is a teacher-librarian and Social Studies teacher at Summerside Intermediate School in Summerside, PEI.  She loves to read and sharing this passion with her students is one of the highlights of her job.  She is excited to make selections and recommend books that will hook reluctant readers and open the world of reading to them.