Saturday, June 9, 2012

Kid Konnection: Middle School Get Me Out of Here!

Every Saturday, I host a feature called Kid Konnection -- a regular weekend feature about anything related to children's books. This week, I'm going to review the latest in a cute middle grade series from James Patterson.

Summary: James Patterson's winning follow-up to the #1 New York Times bestseller Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life--which the LA Times called "a perfectly pitched novel"--is another riotous and heartwarming story about living large.

After sixth grade, the very worst year of his life, Rafe Khatchadorian thinks he has it made in seventh grade. He's been accepted to art school in the big city and imagines a math-and-history-free fun zone. Wrong! It's more competitive than Rafe ever expected, and to score big in class, he needs to find a way to turn his boring life into the inspiration for a work of art. His method? Operation: Get a Life! Anything he's never done before, he's going to do it, from learning to play poker to going to a modern art museum. But when his newest mission uncovers secrets about the family Rafe's never known, he has to decide if he's ready to have his world turned upside down. (Includes over 100 illustrations.) -- Little Brown

Just a little less than a year ago, I featured a very cute book by by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts and illustrated by Laura Park called MIDDLE SCHOOL: THE WORST YEARS OF MY LIFE. I enjoyed this fun novel and I was sure that even reluctant readers would appreciate it. So I was very excited to see that the second book in the series MIDDLE SCHOOL GET ME OUT OF HERE! is now available.

MIDDLE SCHOOL GET ME OUT OF HERE! picks up right where the last book left off. Rafe scraped by sixth grade and was fortunate enough to be accepted into an art school. He was hoping that life would be better now (less academics, more art, etc.) when his mom loses her job and the entire family has to move to the city and live with his grandma. Fortunately, Rafe is accepted into another art school in the city, but he quickly learns that this school is no walk in the park. Rafe decides that he needs to live his life differently so he can have inspiration for his art, and he creates Operation: Get a Life! With the help of his "friend" Leo, Rafe sets out to accomplish something he's never done before every day until his final art project is due. Not surprisingly, Rafe learns a lot about himself, his family, and life in general!

I think James Patterson has created another winner in Rafe and this MIDDLE SCHOOL series. Once again, this book has it all. It has an interesting story, and it is cute and heart-warming too. It has over 100 illustrations that are incredible and extremely funny, and I do believe this book will have major appeal for late elementary and early middle grade readers.

For those of you who don't know, Mr. Patterson is more than just a huge best-selling author. He is also a huge proponent for getting kids to read. He has created, a website devoted to helping parents, teachers, and kids find books that kids are guaranteed to "gobble up!" You really need to check out this fantastic website. There are so many recommendations for kids of all ages as well as all genres.

And while I did laugh a lot at MIDDLE SCHOOL GET ME OUT OF HERE, it's also surprisingly sweet and touching. I love that this book is so entertaining, but it also deals with some very real and relevant issues that many kids face. For example, this book deals with broken families, single moms, bullying, and unemployment. But it also features many of Rafe's personal issues such as his inability to stay out of trouble, his overactive imagination, his insecurity, and his poor grades. Furthermore in this book, Rafe begins to learn about his family and his past, namely his MIA father.

I was thrilled to discover that there is an educators guide available for this book. In fact, there is an entire website devoted to this book that is a must-see. There is a section that gives more information about the book's characters along with a preview for a future book in the series. In addition, there is a cute video of the week. However, it's the educators guide that really captured my interest because it is outstanding! There are so many ideas for teachers including how to incorporate this book into the class curriculum. There is also a section for thematic connections which asks some pertinent questions about family relationships, making choices, motivation, adversity, and bullying. And finally, there are some excellent discussion questions for classroom and/or book club use.

I truly adored MIDDLE GRADE GET ME OUT OF HERE! and I think kids will too! It's a wonderful book for parents and kids alike, and I love how it encourages thought and discussion.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.

If you'd like to participate in Kid Konnection and share a post about anything related to children's books (picture, middle grade, or young adult) from the past week, please leave a comment as well as a link below with your name/blog name and the title of the book! Feel free to grab the little button too!


Sebastian Clouth said...


I am the Books editor at Before It's News ( Our site is a rapidly growing people-powered news platform currently serving over 3 million visits a month. We like to call ourselves the "YouTube of news."

We would love to republish your blog's RSS Feed in our new Books section. Every post would have a description of your site and a link back to it. Our visitors would love to read your content and find out more about you!

You could also publish excerpts of your books if you'd like :), along with links back to pages where they are for sale.

It's a great opportunity to spread the word about your work and reach new readers. We don't censor or edit work.

We will be featuring and promoting content and book excerpts across the web.

Looking forward to hearing from you!


Sebastian Clouth
Books Editor, Before It's News

Billy Burgess said...

I have both the Middle School books but I have not had time to read them yet.

bermudaonion said...

I really want to try Patterson's middle grade books - they sound like fun!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I don't know if you have seen the American Girl books for middle graders - they are great, but I think boys wouldn't want to touch them! So there is such a need for middle grade books for boys but I have to admit being reluctant to feed the James Patterson money machine!

My Kid Konnection today is another entry for National Caribbean-American Heritage Month.

Alex said...

Kid Connection was recommended by Mandy Boles ( in her talk at this week's BEA, so here I am and happy to particpate.

Beth F said...

Sounds like Patterson has another winner.