“Middle School – Escape to Australia” by James Patterson and Martin Chatterton is about a boy named Rafe Khatchadorian. Rafe is in middle school and is obsessed with things like zombies. He thinks that his vice principal at school is a cosmic fortune teller. One thing that is pretty cool about Rafe is that he is an artist and likes to sketch. He entered an art contest to try and win a 3 week trip to Australia which he won! As a prize he went to Sharks Bay in Australia. I won’t tell you all that happens, but everything is a disaster in Australia. The mayor’s children are jerks, Rafe tries to surf (to impress them) and manages to break the surfboard, and his swimsuit gets ripped up! Fortunately a person on the beach helps him. He becomes friends with her and her group as he discovers that they are a lot like him. A lot of adventure lies ahead for Rafe.
With his idea of everyone being aliens, he has gotten into a lot of trouble. For example, he tried to pull off the mustache of his gym teacher. He believes that if he had done that on a normal day, his teacher would have turned into a black hole of vengeance.
Rafe had a twin brother at birth, his name was Leo. Sadly, he died shortly after birth. He often imagines about his twin brother and gets guidance from him. Of course, the guidance that his ‘twin’ gives him is pretty funny!
Rafe lives in Hills Village. Sharks Bay, where he visited, is much different than Rafe’s hometown. Sharks Bay is a surfing city that has many beaches and lots of sharks. The people living in Sharks Bay are not actually zombies, they are real people. However they are a bit on the gullible side which we learn when they manage to get scared by an animatronic rubber toy. The people formed a giant mob. One particular person then managed to make the town believe that their reaction was caught on tape so then they were concerned about being humiliated. Reading about how they got scared and reacted was one of my favorite parts of the book.
This book was funny and easy to read. There are a lot of characters, and you get to know them rather well. My favorite character was Rafe’s brother Leo.