The Kids Beat

Middle-School Crisis

Books: "Middle School, the Worst Years of My Life"

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The newest book from Hinesburg resident Chris Tebbetts is in its sixth week on the New York Times bestseller list. True, it helps that James Patterson's name is on the cover of Middle School, the Worst Years of My Life. The bestselling mystery writer hired Tebbetts as a co-author after seeing his four-part fantasy and adventure Viking series. Patterson sent Tebbetts a detailed outline of Middle School, which the Vermont author fleshed out. Middle graders are likely to relate to the book's narrator, Rafe, who sets out to break every rule in his school's official regulation book, abetted by his only friend, "Leonardo the Silent." Leonardo's irreverent, cartoon-style drawings (actually by Laura Park) adorn the pages. Working with Patterson has "been a wholly positive experience for me," says Tebbetts, who's been writing for kids since 2002, and is currently preparing Middle School's sequel.

'Middle School, the Worst Years of My Life': by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts, with illustrations by Laura Park. Little, Brown, 284 pages. $15.99.

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