The book’s hero Rafe returns to his old middle school, Hills Village, after being kicked out. The condition of his return is that he will be in a special classroom getting extra academic help. He starts playing football so that he won’t get bullied by Miller the Killer. Rafe’s passion is art and he finds a way to express this in his school. The major theme in the book is finding creative ways to deal with bullying and learning to accept yourself and your talents.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. The reader spends part of their time laughing and part of their time feeling compassion for this character. This book works better if you’ve read other books in James Patterson’s Middle School series. While the book works as a stand-alone, the other books provide helpful background into the character’s motivations and history. “Just My Rotten Luck” is a great book to read when you are a little stressed. It’s a fun journey that reminds us to use our creativity in innovative ways.
My favorite moments in the book are when Rafe is in action as Operation S.A.M. He posts a version of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” and tells readers that he likes Munch’s name as much his art. In these episodes in the book, Rafe channels James Bond pretending that the janitors are cyborg guards.
Reviewed by Aidan, Grade 6, Gayton Library