Getting ready to start middle school? Well, you'll need to know what to expect. Get to know every person you'll meet and how they can help (and who to stay away from!).
"Mahoney authentically captures the universal indignities of middle school, the challenges of self-discovery, and the joy of making true friends." --Publishers Weekly, Starred Review
You've been asking and asking about what middle school is like, but I just thought they were annoying-younger-sister questions. Even though I am almost done with my first year, I can still remember when I thought middle school was a mystery, so I'll try to give you a leg up. I know middle school is a lot to figure out. But since I still haven't worked it all out yet, I'm happy to help as much as I can. That's what big sisters are for.
Discover the ins and outs of middle school in this guide from an older sister to her younger sister. From tackling a new building to meeting new people like the assistant principal, the class pet, the Huggers, the renegade, the tomato kid, your old best friend's new best friend, this is a must-read for everyone starting middle school.
With wit and warmth, Kristin Mahoney, author of Annie's Life in Lists, delivers heartwarming, pitch-perfect advice, ideal for anyone nervously approaching middle school.
An Excerpt fromThe 47 People You'll Meet in Middle School
I wish I could tell you that the first person I saw on the first day of school was someone I knew. It was not.
I made Dad drop me off two blocks from school that morning. This was partly because I wasn’t sure what the routine was in middle school, and I didn’t want to be the only kid whose parent took them right to the front door. But this was mostly because Dad’s car was in the shop again and--as you may recall from the first day of school, Lou--he had borrowed the radio-station van to drive for a few days. Some people’s parents have a clean, fancy company car to drive for work; lucky us that our dad gets a bright green van that actually has wold: your favorite oldies painted on the side in orange letters. For first-day-of-school arrival? No thank you.
As I rounded the corner by Meridian Middle, I saw a crowd of kids who were all complete strangers. They also all looked way older than me. And they seemed like they all knew each other. I knew that more than half the kids at Meridian Middle were coming from a different elementary school than ours, but it still seemed like I should know someone. I started wondering if I was in the right place.
Turns out, I was not. And apparently I had I am in sixth grade--please help me written on my forehead, because a teacher holding a clipboard actually pointed at me and yelled across the heads of the other kids, “You! Glasses! Blue backpack! Sixth grade?”
You wouldn’t think that “glasses” and “blue backpack” would be sufficient identifiers. I mean, other kids had glasses and blue backpacks. But I guess this teacher’s pointing was laser-sharp, because about a hundred kids turned and looked right at me after he yelled.
“Um, yes?” I answered, almost in a whisper (and still wondering where the heck everyone I knew was).
“What was that?”
“Yes. Sixth,” I said, slightly louder.
“Back door!” the teacher yelled. “Didn’t your parents get the email?”
By this point the teacher was making his way over, clapping students on the back, saying hello, and telling some of them to spit out their gum. He was wearing a golf shirt with the school logo on it. The shirt strained over his belly and was tucked snugly into his khaki pants. I wondered how he got his shirt to stay tucked so tight, especially with a big belly. Did he buy extra-long shirts?
“Did your parents get the email?” he asked again.
“I’m not sure?” I said. Since the weekend before school started had been one of our weekends at Dad’s apartment, it was possible I wasn’t operating with complete information. (You know he’s not so great about reading emails thoroughly.) I began to wonder what else he’d missed.
“Well,” the teacher explained, “this is the eighth-grade entrance. Sixth graders go to the back.”
“Oh, okay.” That seemed pretty inhospitable to me, making the new kids go to the back door. But I wasn’t going to argue. I turned and started walking down the path that wound around to the back of the building.
“Heeey, Little Gus!” I heard someone call. I knew it had to be a kid from our neighborhood, since he was calling me Gus and not Augusta. I turned and, sure enough, there was Rob Vinson, talking to some other eighth-grade boys. Even though Rob is kind of dopey, he’s usually an okay kid. He’s always been Mom and Dad’s first choice to walk Iris when we’re gone on a day trip somewhere, and he was never jerky to us like some of the other older neighborhood boys were. So hearing his familiar voice on the first day of school was simultaneously comforting and embarrassing. (Why did he have to call me Little Gus in front of everyone else? Ugh.)
“It’s my neighbor!” Rob announced, not that the boys he was with seemed to care.
“What are you doing on this side of the building, Little Gus?” he asked.
“I got the entrance wrong. That teacher told me to go around back,” I said, pointing to the man with the super-tight tuck-in.
“That’s not a teacher, Gus,” Rob said. “That’s an assistant principal. Mr. Wyatt. You don’t want to tangle with him.”
“I didn’t tangle with him,” I said. “He just told me I had the wrong door.”
“Okay, well, watch yourself with that one. If he told you to go to the back door, you’d better go fast. Why are you still standing here?”
“Because you’re still talking to me!”
“Nah, you better go, Little Gus!” Rob shooed me away like I was a pesky dog, never mind that he had been the one detaining me.
I rolled my eyes and went around to the back of the building. And that’s where I saw all the kids I knew. All the kids whose parents had read the email properly.
That night I got in a fight with Mom because I told her she needed to make sure Dad read his emails all the way through. And I may have said something like, “If you guys still lived together, we wouldn’t have these problems.” And then Mom felt like dirt, and so did I.
I don’t know if you remember that fight, Lou, or if you even heard it. You were standing at the kitchen sink making one of your “potions.” (This one contained olive oil, flower petals, and dish soap.) It seemed like you were in your own world. Until you announced that the potion was going to be a special doggy-fur conditioner for Iris, and Mom took one look at it and said there was no way you were going to rub olive oil on the dog.
That’s when you snapped back into our world and asked what we were talking about, and I just said, “School.” That was the first time you asked me to tell you what middle school was like. That was the first time I said, “It’s fine, whatever,” and went upstairs to my room.
Anyway, now you know a little. Sixth graders go to the back door. And don’t tangle with Mr. Wyatt. He was the first person I met in middle school. And unfortunately, I would meet him again.