Authors: James Patterson
Tags: #Young Adult, #Adventure, #Humour, #Childrens, #Juvenile Fiction / Family - Multigenerational, #Juvenile Fiction / Lifestyles - City & Town Life, #Juvenile Fiction / Comics & Graphic Novels - General, #Juvenile Fiction / Social Issues - New Experience
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ell, who’d have thought so much could change in one summer? Not me, that’s for sure. Not my best buddy, Leonardo the Silent.
Probably not the folks at Airbrook Arts Community School either. That’s where I was supposed to start seventh grade in the fall.
You caught that, right? There’s a reason my last book was called
Middle School, The Worst
of My Life
. Sixth grade was only the start. I’ve got a whole lot more to tell you about. But first I should introduce myself.
Anyway, I guess I should have seen it coming. It’s like every time things start to look okay in my crazy life, something always comes along to change it. It’s like it just falls out of the sky.
changed on the day Swifty’s Diner burned to the ground.
Here’s what happened. See, there’s this thing called a grease trap over the grill at the diner, where Swifty (also known as Fred) cooked about fifteen dozen greasy burgers every day. If you don’t clean out the trap once in a while, it turns into a giant fireball, just waiting to go off.
And guess what?
I didn’t get to see much. I was in the storage room in the back, just passing the time and waiting for Mom to finish her lunch shift. Then all of a sudden, I heard this giant
People started yelling, the fire alarm started blaring, and I could smell smoke.
A second later, Mom was there.
“Come on, Rafe,” she said. “We have to go—right now!” And she hustled me out the back door.
Nobody was hurt, but flames were coming through the windows and up through the roof before the Hills Village Fire Department even got there.
By the time the firefighters finally put out the fire, Swifty’s Diner looked more like Swifty’s Big Pile of Ashes. Everything was all black and smoking, and the restaurant was just—gone.
And that’s not all.
No Swifty’s meant no job for Mom.
No job meant no money to pay the rent on our house.
No house meant we had to pack up all our stuff and get out.
(See what I mean about everything changing?)
The only place we could go was Grandma Dotty’s. She told Mom we could come stay there as long as we wanted, which was really nice of her and everything, but the problem was, she lived in the city, about eighty miles away. In other words, way too far for me to even think about going to Airbrook anymore. Now I was going to be starting seventh grade at some big-city middle school, where kids like me get turned into chopped meat every single day.
So there you have it. Chapter 1 isn’t even over, and I’m already starting a whole new life. Try to keep up if you can. This is only the very beginning, where I say—
Good-bye, Hills Village!
Good-bye, lucky breaks!
And hello, seventh grade!