by James Patterson
Rafe Khatchadorian has enough problems at home without throwing his first year of middle school into the mix. Luckily, he's got an ace plan for the best year ever, if only he can pull it off: With his best friend Leonardo the Silent awarding him points, Rafe tries to break every rule in his school's oppressive Code of Conduct. Chewing gum in class-5,000 points! Running in the hallway-10,000 points! Pulling the fire alarm-50,000 points! But when Rafe's game starts to catch up with him, he'll have to decide if winning is all that matters, or if he's finally ready to face the rules, bullies, and truths he's been avoiding.
This story is funny and touching at the same time. Rafe's life isn't easy, and as a reader I realized that he was lonely and trying to do everything he could to fight it. It made me sympathetic to his character in a way that wasn't cheesy or sappy. For example, he cares a great deal about his sister, but still teases her like a brother would and tells her to get out of his room. There were even a few twists that kept the story from being stale. I was surprised that I enjoyed this book as much as I did.