Middle School: Just My Rotten Luck

Book review by
Barbara Lawrence, Common Sense Media
Middle School: Just My Rotten Luck Book Poster Image
Rafe goes back to Hills Middle School in fun seventh book.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

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

Educational Value

Kids learn about learning differences, and there's also some good information on cyberbullying and its consequences.

Positive Messages

Nice guys do finish first. Rafe stays true to himself and finally manages to have friends and be on the football team. He returns to Hills Middle School and is put in a "special needs class" with learning-challenged students. His embarrassment morphs to feelings of friendship when these classmates stand up to the school bullies and help him.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Rafe is a good, average middle schooler. He's fair and a good friend. Back at Hills Middle School, he has learned a lot about his learning style and also has gained more confidence in himself. He still has his imaginary friend, Leo, but he realizes talking with Leo is simply a way of working out his problems. He no longer lets his problems rule his behavior. When he sells his classmates short, he regrets it and tries to do better. He breaks a few rules when he posts an anti-bully campaign that gets the whole school talking. Rafe's friend Flip is a true friend who's a big shot on the football team and a student in the special needs class, a nice guy who treats everyone fairly. 


Since Rafe is now on the football team with his main tormentor, Miller the Killer, there's very little bullying in this installment. Miller and his friends hassle some of the kids in the special needs class by not letting them pass, but there aren't the bullying episodes of the previous books in the series.



Two classmates share a first kiss.


As in the other books in the series, there are middle school words such as "butt," "buttwipe," "fart," and "poop."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Middle School: Just My Rotten Luck, by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts, is much lighter than the other books in their Middle School series. Rafe has established a truce with bully Miller the Killer, and there's a hint of a friendship brewing because now that they're teammates on the school football team. Rafe has come to grips with some of his angst and has accepted himself and his considerable art talent. He even has a best friend. 

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent Written byLisa F. May 18, 2018
Every stereotype that should have died with Biff from Back to The Future is alive and well in this pathetic trash. Any child who reads it will be damaged. If pa... Continue reading

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

In MIDDLE SCHOOL: JUST MY ROTTEN LUCK, Rafe is back at Hills Middle School, but the evil principal puts him in the special needs class. Worse, Miller the Killer is still lurking the halls. Happily, Rafe finds his first best friend, Flip, in that class. Flip, a star football player, persuades Rafe to play on the team along with Miller the Killer. Rafe finds that his new friendship with Flip makes him part of the popular crowd. This has its advantages, such as being invited to a boy-girl party, but also disadvantages, such as when he turns his back on his classmates to look cool. With some soul-searching, Rafe designs a campaign to change the bullying culture at Hills Middle School. 

Is it any good?

This is a fun, light read. Gone are the terrible bullying and circumstances that plagued Rafe earlier in the series, and he finally learns to trust himself and be himself. He also figures out a way to share his considerable art talent with his classmates and develops an online presence. He's a member of the football team, has a best friend, and launches an anti-bullying campaign, making MIDDLE SCHOOL: JUST MY ROTTEN LUCK quite a happy twist in this series.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how all kids learn differently. Rafe is placed in a special needs class at Hills Middle School because he needs extra support. Can you think of kids who learn differently from you?


  • Rafe walks away when his classmates are being bullied because he doesn't want to seem uncool. Have you ever been in a situation where it was really hard to do what's right? Would you stand up for others even if it would be embarrassing?

  • Rafe has a crush on one girl, and another girl has a crush on Rafe. Crushes can be exciting and fun, but feelings also can get hurt. What does it mean to have a crush on someone?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love books about school and freindship

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate