I found this book very much like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. This was a nice variation of James Patterson's talents.
Basically Rafe has made it to the 7th grade but that is the least of his worries. His mom looses her job and they are forced to move in with their grandma who lives in the city. Luckily Rafe is able to get into a nice art school there. But getting in is the easy part, Rafe has to find a way to stay in the school, which means his previous record might haunt him in his new environment. He finds himself the target of the school bullies but also finds a friend who feels the same way about the bullies that he does. With Matty by his side, he feels he can overcome whatever the bullies shell out, but will this really help him keep a low profile?
Rafe also finds he is dealing with questions about where his dad is and why he left. Even though the entire book has a lighthearted air, it does deal with some emotional issues as well. Rafe also spends some of his time talking to his imaginary friend; his deceased sibling. Sometimes this "friend" can get him in as much trouble as Matty, other times it seems that Rafe is smart enough to overcome the pull these two have on him. Either way, Rafe has a lot of decisions to make, and learns a lot about growing up in the process.
A nice addition to any middle school library!