Middle School: From Hero to Zero: Middle School Series, Book 10

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Middle School: From Hero to Zero: Middle School Series, Book 10 Book Poster Image
Lots of heart in funny tale of Rafe's class trip to London.

Parents say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 5+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Provides overview of some popular tour of major attractions in London, including the Saatchi Gallery, the Globe Theatre, and the National Portrait Gallery. Illustrates how teams can capitalize on unique talents of individual members, and how getting involved in a creative project can bring people together.

Positive Messages

Strong message on importance of empathy in understanding and connecting with others. Emphasizes honesty, sincerity, and kindness. Shows how expressing feelings can relieve anxiety and emotional burdens -- even though it doesn't always lead to hoped-for outcomes.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rafe makes a great effort to be kind, even to people who don't show him the same consideration: He comforts a classmate who hates flying, gives up his good seat to others, and helps a shorter classmate get a better view. He shows great empathy for classmates, including some who've been mean to him. Jeanne is warm toward Rafe and willing to give him a chance. She takes note of his strengths and tries to be an honest, open-minded friend. She and a few other students stand up for Rafe when he's targeted by others. But teachers and other adults are not very understanding or patient.


Rafe has to room with a longtime bully who orders him to sleep in the bathroom and harasses him. A jealous classmate acts possessively toward his girlfriend and attacks and endangers Rafe.


References to Kleenex, YouTube, snack foods (Coke, Cadbury, Snickers, Walkers Crisps).

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Rafe continues to mature in Middle School: From Hero to Zero, the 10 book in the popular Middle School series by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts. While there's some ugly behavior by kids including ostracizing, threats, intimidation, and fighting, there are important moments of emotional vulnerability, connection, and loyalty. Rafe imagines his dead twin brother as a confidant and supporter. There's a little bit of gross-out humor, notably an epic incident of airsickness.

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User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 11 and 18+-year-old Written bypingas September 3, 2018


this book was HORRIBLE no missions and rafe wasn't even trying to be a troublemaker! his friend leo isn't even BEING himself and there just trying to... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written byIReadALot September 19, 2019

Stellar book is the best in it's series

Read it. Spoiler: Rafe finally asks Jeanne the question. Rafe sticks up for himself, and makes new friends along the way.

What's the story?

MIDDLE SCHOOL: FROM HERO TO ZERO finds Rafe on a class trip to London. He's excited, but worried because none of his friends is going. Rafe tries to win over classmates by being kind, but his efforts either backfire spectacularly or are ignored. The exasperated principal puts him in charge of the class project on the trip, putting Rafe in the awkward position of working with Jeanne, whom he has a crush on -- and her jealous boyfriend is furious. To top it all off, he's stuck rooming with his chief tormenter, Miller the Killer, who makes him sleep in the bathroom. Rafe gets blamed for sparking an epidemic of barfing, crashing into priceless treasures, and getting himself lost in London -- but he makes surprising discoveries about friendship.

Is it any good?

The latest in the funny, fast-paced Middle School series has Rafe feeling trapped with his greatest tormenters -- but he finds his way through it by being observant, kind, and emotionally courageous. Middle School: From Hero to Zero continues to show Rafe's growing maturity even as he stumbles awkwardly through misadventures only sometimes of his own making. Co-authors James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts pack in the laughs as they capture the everyday angst of a middle-schooler on the fringes of the crowd.

Much of the humor is in plentiful illustrations by Laura Park, showing how Rafe processes his worries and stress through exaggerated drawings and cartoons. Lots of fun and plenty of heart.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Rafe's difficulty getting past his classmates' expectations in Middle School: From Hero to Zero. How can kids overcome their reputations in school or other groups?

  • How do Rafe's creative talents help him connect with others?

  • Does your view of "Miller the Killer" change?

Book details

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