Study Guide

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life Chapters 36 - 40

By James Patterson & Chris Tebbetts

Chapters 36 - 40

Chapter 36

What Now?

  • Rafe spends the rest of the day trying to come up with some plan to get the notebook back. The trouble is, he knows none of them will work.
  • That means he needs to earn enough money to get the notebook back page by page from Miller. That means selling Zoom at lunchtime again.
  • Leo is thrilled because this mean Rafe's back in the game. Too bad he lost one of his remaining lives being normal and lame. Now he's down to one.
  • Rafe claims he's only trying to sell sodas to get the money he needs to get back his book.
  • He's not breaking any new rules right now. Leo isn't so sure about that.

Chapter 37


  • One night, as Rafe's stealing soda out of Bear's secret stash, Georgia spots him.
  • We all know that Georgia doesn't have the best track record for keeping secrets.
  • Rafe knows she doesn't like Bear though, so she doesn't care that he's taking it. She just wants to know why he's shoving so much soda into his backpack. Plus, she loves soda, too.
  • Rafe offers to share it with her. Whatever he takes he'll give her some. But she has to promise not to tell.
  • Truth is, Rafe knows Georgia is a wild card here. She might tell and she might not. But she's seen him and this is the only chance he's got.
  • You play with fire, you might get burnt.

Chapter 38

The Dark Ages

  • So Rafe's hard at work selling Zoom on the side and trying not to get caught because he can't afford to get in more trouble.
  • He's got Wednesday detention with Mrs. Donatello every week and all she wants to do is talk for the entire hour. (Shmoop side note: does that sound like detention to you? Or counseling sessions?)
  • Miller is being a real jerk about this book. By Thanksgiving, Rafe's only managed to buy back eighteen pages of the Operation R.A.F.E. manual. Only about fifty more pages to go.
  • The crazy part is, Rafe seems like a totally normal kid at this point because he's trying so hard to stay out of trouble.
  • Everyone thinks he's turned over a new leaf, but he's totally stressed out with everything that's going on.
  • This kid has a lot on his plate.

Chapter 39

Jeanne, Jeanne, Jeanne

  • One person in particular has noticed the new Rafe—Jeanne Galletta.
  • She comes up to Rafe the Monday before Thanksgiving and tells him that he seems to be playing by the rules lately. By the way, what's he doing after school Wednesday?
  • Is Jeanne Galletta asking Rafe out?
  • Kind of. She's asking him to help work during a bake sale to help raise money for a needy family for Thanksgiving. Maybe his mom could bake something and he could stop by?
  • Um, yeah. Of course.
  • Before she goes Jeanne tells Rafe that she likes him like this—normal Rafe—and she won't tell anyone his secret. Aww, shucks.

Chapter 40

Charity Case

  • So Rafe feels pretty good because people don't usually ask him to help out with things. Go, Rafe.
  • He shows up with a pie and then puts $10 in the donation jar ($10 from his Zoom sales that probably should have gone to pay for his notebook pages, but who's counting, right?).
  • Jeanne asks Rafe if he wouldn't mind dressing up as a huge orange falcon—the school mascot—and directing people towards the bake sale.
  • Okay, this isn't the romantic in that Rafe was looking for, but he makes the best of it. Besides, people can't see who he is in that costume, so what does it matter if he kind of looks silly.
  • Afterwards, Jeanne thanks him and Rafe invites her out for pizza.
  • And that's when Jeanne takes it into the friend zone. Look, she thinks Rafe is nice, but she doesn't want to give him the wrong idea. She thought it might be good for him to join in and do some school stuff.
  • Rafe is kind of offended. What is he, her little project?
  • That's not really what she meant. She's gotta go off with her real friends right now though, so she'll talk to Rafe later, okay?
  • And Rafe is left standing there dressed like a giant turkey…er, falcon.

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