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Also by James Patterson
I Funny series
I Funny (with Chris Grabenstein)
I Even Funnier (with Chris Grabenstein)
Middle School series
Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life (with Chris Tebbetts)
Middle School: Get Me Out of Here! (with Chris Tebbetts)
Middle School: My Brother Is a Big, Fat Liar (with Lisa Papademetriou)
Middle School: How I Survived Bullies, Broccoli, and Snake Hill (with Chris Tebbetts)
Middle School: Ultimate Showdown (with Julia Bergen)
Middle School: Save Rafe! (with Chris Tebbetts)
Treasure Hunters series
Treasure Hunters (with Chris Grabenstein)
Treasure Hunters: Danger Down the Nile (with Chris Grabenstein)
House of Robots series
House of Robots (with Chris Grabenstein)
Daniel X series
The Dangerous Days of Daniel X (with Michael Ledwidge)
Watch the Skies (with Ned Rust)
Demons and Druids (with Adam Sadler)
Game Over (with Ned Rust)
Armageddon (with Chris Grabenstein)
For more information about James Patterson’s novels, visit:
Or become a fan on Facebook
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Published by Young Arrow, 2015
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
Copyright © James Patterson, 2015
Illustrations by Laura Park
Excerpt from House of Robots copyright © James Patterson, 2014
Illustrations in excerpt from House of Robots by Juliana Neufeld
Middle School™ is a trademark of JBP Business, LLC
James Patterson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs
and Patents Act 1988 to be identified as the author of this work
This novel is a work of fiction. Names and characters are the product of the author’s
imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead,
is entirely coincidental
This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not,
by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out,
or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior
consent in any form of binding or cover other than that
in which it is published and without a similar condition,
including this condition, being imposed on the
subsequent purchaser
First published in Great Britain in 2015 by
Young Arrow
Random House, 20 Vauxhall Bridge Road,
London SW1V 2SA
Addresses for companies within The Random House Group Limited can be found at:
The Random House Group Limited Reg. No. 954009
A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library
Hardback ISBN 9780099596288
Trade paperback ISBN 9780099596295
The Random House Group Limited supports the Forest Stewardship
Council® (FSC®), the leading international forest-certification organisation.
Our books carrying the FSC label are printed on FSC®-certified paper. FSC is the only
forest-certification scheme supported by the leading environmental organisations,
including Greenpeace. Our paper procurement policy can be found at:
Printed and bound in Great Britain by Clays Ltd, St Ives Plc
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For Serena Wetmore,
Jamie’s biggest fan
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Finally, the Finals!
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i! I’m Jamie Grimm, and it’s great to be back in
front of an audience. This way, when I die in three
days, at least I won’t be alone.
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Let me explain.
I’ve won a few rounds in something called
the Planet’s Funniest Kid Comic Contest—the
local, state, regional, and semifinal competitions.
Now, in three days, I’ll be in THE FINALS out in
I’m trying my best not to freak out.
Unfortunately, everybody keeps reminding me of
my impending doom.
My friends at school.
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The cafeteria lady.
Teachers, strangers—even the billboards in
Times Square!
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My whole life has become this wild NCAA
tournament of comedy. I’ve made it past the Sweet
Sixteen all the way to the Elite Eight, where I’m
hoping for a shot at the Final Four.
Oh, in case you haven’t heard, that shot comes in
But don’t worry—even if you don’t live in the Los
Angeles area, you can watch me die. Live. On cable
TV’s YUX channel.
By the way, dying onstage is what comedians
call it when they flop, tank, or bomb so badly
they’re blasted with boos and pelted with weekold produce. It’s what I’ll probably be doing in, oh,
So cue the Olympic fanfare music.
It all comes down to this, like they say on
ESPN. It’s now or never. Do or die. This is for all
the marbles, even though nobody actually plays
marbles anymore. In three days, there will be no
tomorrow, so who cares about the four-day forecast?
Yep. This comedy gig is about to get superserious. And, like I said, for this final Hollywood
round, there are only eight of us still standing.
Actually, the seven other kids will be doing all
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the standing. Me? Not so much.
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m a stand-up
comedian who doesn’t exactly fit the job description.
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ter 2
eet the Smileys.
That’s what I call my aunt, uncle, and cousins.
I’ve been living with them in Long Beach, a suburb
of New York City, ever since I left the rehab hospital
I went to after the horrible car accident. The crash
where I lost my parents and sister, not to mention
the use of my legs, feet, and toes.
See how excited the Smileys are about the big
comedy contest coming in three days? Believe me,
for them, this is excited.
“Be sure you pack an extra pair of clean
underwear for Hollywood,” says Mrs. Smiley.
“And a toothbrush,” adds Mr. Smiley. “But don’t
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roll it up in your extra pair of underwear. I did that
once and regretted my decision later.”
Have you noticed that the Smileys don’t smile
very much? That’s why I call them that. Even their
dog, Ol’ Smiler, is gloomy. The last time he wagged
his tail, it was to swat a fly.
I roll out of my bedroom in the Smileys’ garage
(it’s where they park all the stuff with wheels—
lawn mower, wheelbarrow, snowblower, me) and
head off to school. Since it’s pretty early in the
morning, the sidewalks are full of dogs walking
their people.
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Oh, sure—you might think the people are
walking the dogs, but that’s not the way I see it.
Come on, if two creatures are walking side by
side and one is picking up the other’s poop, who do
you think is in charge?
The leash? That’s how dogs make sure their
humans don’t wander away.
I’m actually thinking about getting some dogs.
Alaskan Malamutes. Six of ’em. They make such
excellent sled dogs, I figure I could get to school
a whole lot faster if I hooked up a sled team and
yelled, “Mush!” Of course, with six dogs I’d probably
need to carry a jumbo-sized pooper scooper.
A couple of the dogs give me a sniff when I roll
by, but most of the people are so well trained, they
don’t even notice me.
I’m sort of the Invisible Kid on the streets of
Long Beach, where no one seems to be all that
excited about the big comedy contest on cable TV in
less than THREE DAYS!
But at school, things are different.
Way different.
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