Surprisingly, this was not that bad. Not over-the-top hilarious, as some of the juvenile readers at my library have said, but not cringingly (is that a word?) bad like those of Patterson's other books for a younger audience that I have read. (I would read more of this series; I have absolutely zero interest in reading more of the "Witch and Wizard" or "Maximum Ride" series.) Patterson does have a tendency to rely a little too heavily on stereotypes - the "dragon-lady" teacher, the good-for-nothing stepdad, the bratty kid sister, the no-neck bully - but he threw in a few good curveballs as well. (The truth about Leo's identity - did not see that coming!)
Rafe is a brand-new 6th grader, and he's decided (with Leo's help) that he's going to break every rule in his middle school's rule book by the end of the school year. Not because he's a "bad kid"; just because school is boring, and things are bad at home. Scattered throughout the book are illustrations, cartoons really, seemingly drawn by Rafe's best friend, Leo. The cartoons, while not integral to the story, make it more enjoyable and, since they resemble the kind of artwork a lot of us drew in class ourselves, add a sense of middle-school authenticity to the story.
If - like in a lot of other books of this sort - the mission was to teach kids that it's good to be good, and that truancy never pays, I think Patterson fell short. While Rafe does suffer some consequences for his actions, in the end his situation is vastly improved. All in all, this was an enjoyable book, but nothing earth-shatteringly great.