Gr 5-7--Rafe Khatchadorian is artistic, uber creative, and prone to embellishing stories. In James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts's hilarious sequel (2012) to Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life (2011, both Little, Brown), Rafe relates his adventures during the seventh grade. When his mother loses her job, the family is forced to move into the city with grandma. Her house is tiny and crowded, and she keeps calling Rafe by the wrong name. Rafe is accepted into the prestigious Cathedral School of the Arts, and he makes his first "real, live human friend" since starting middle school. Things are looking up, but not for long. The trouble begins with a couple of bullies at school and continues when Rafe decides to embark on a mission to "get a life." What ensues is a tale of things broken--families, water balloons, artwork, and trust. Bryan Kennedy perfectly voices Rafe, expertly navigating his ups and downs. Have the book available so students can peruse Laura Park's illustrations. This fast-paced tale of middle school mishaps and mayhem will appeal to reluctant readers and students who enjoyed Jeff Kinney's "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series.--Lisa Hubler, Charles F. Brush High School, Lyndhurst, OH[Page 56]. (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr 3-6--Rafe Khatchadorian and his younger sister, Georgia, here engage in a series of rants about bullies, school dances, dress codes, and other middle school concerns. However, this work is not simply about rants. It centers on a showdown between the siblings--with listeners acting as judges. Included on the CD is a 66-page PDF offering. Listeners who print it out can vote, draw, play, and create, adding their own opinions to Rafe's and Georgia's. Narrators Bryan Kennedy and Cassandra Morris make it easy for listeners to follow the inevitable disagreements between the siblings. Morris, as Georgia, is likable, confident, and youthful. Kennedy's Rafe is perfect for the wisecracking troublemaker, but he suffers from the lack of character depth in the showdown format. Listeners not familiar with his character from other books in the series will find him shallow and arrogant. While considerable adaptations were made for the audiobook format, the necessity of printing and constantly referencing the lengthy PDF will likely limit this audiobook's appeal to book group facilitators and die-hard fans of the series.--Lisa Taylor, Ocean County Library, NJ[Page 64]. (c) Copyright 2014. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.