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Illustrated by ALEC LONGSTRETH

Little, Brown and Company New York • Boston

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This book would not have been possible without the help of Frank Nicolo, Ned Rust, Lindsay Cliett, Gregg Wasiak, and Chris Grabenstein. Many thanks for all your hard work in making this book come together. —J.P. This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is coincidental. Copyright © 2014 by James Patterson Illustrations by Alec Longstreth Excerpt from I Funny copyright © 2012 by James Patterson Illustrations by Laura Park Excerpt from Treasure Hunters copyright © 2013 by James Patterson Illustrations by Juliana Neufeld All rights reserved. In accordance with the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, the scanning, uploading, and electronic sharing of any part of this book without the permission of the publisher is unlawful piracy and theft of the author’s intellectual property. If you would like to use material from the book (other than for review purposes), prior written permission must be obtained by contacting the publisher at permissions@hbgusa.com. Thank you for your support of the author’s rights. Little, Brown and Company Hachette Book Group 237 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Visit our website at lb-kids.com Little, Brown and Company is a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc. The Little, Brown name and logo are trademarks of Hachette Book Group, Inc. The publisher is not responsible for websites (or their content) that are not owned by the publisher. First Edition: March 2014 First International Edition: March 2014 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Patterson, James, 1947– author. Ultimate showdown / James Patterson and Julia Bergen ; illustrated by Alec Longstreth. — First edition. pages cm. — (Middle school) Summary: Opinionated siblings Rafe and Georgia Khatchadorian debate a variety of topics relating to the ups and downs of middle school life and encourage readers to add their own contributions through write-in games and activities. ISBN 978-0-316-32211-9 (paper over board) — ISBN 978-0-316-32378-9 (international) [1. Middle schools—Fiction. 2. Schools—Fiction. 3. Brothers and sisters—Fiction. 4. Humorous stories.] I. Bergen, Julia, author. II. Longstreth, Alec, illustrator. III. Title. PZ7.P27653Ul 2014 [Fic]—dc23 2013028262 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 RRD-C Printed in the United States of America

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Don’ t Listen to Georgia— You’ ve Been Warned!

Welcome to the book version of a Doomsday Cage Match. My sister and I are going to go at it mano a mano, which, I’m told, means “hand to hand,” not “man to man.” Fine. Whatever. Thanks for the vocab lesson, Georgia. (Not.) She may have the book smarts in the family, but I’m way funnier. My point is, Georgia will lose this thing the second she opens her mouth. So over to you, Georgia Peach. 1

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Oops, I almost forgot something important. Georgia and I agreed (can you believe it?) that we want YOU to be in the story too. So you get to talk, draw, play a couple of games, do whatever you want. This is YOUR book. Plus, your whole class, your whole school, can join in if they’re in the mood. Even teachers!

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Please Listen to the Voice of Reason and Sanity In this book, Rafe and I will give our honest opinions on various aspects of middle school life. Like so many of my role models _Gandhi, Oprah Winfrey, Martin Luther King Jr., Hillary Clinton, Barbara Bush, and Mister Rogers _ I believe in the importance of friendly dialogue. In a good, fair debate, you respect your opponent’s intelligence, and you should walk away from the experience having learned something new about yourself…unless you’re “dialoguing” with an idiot like my brother. Then you just have to prove how unbelievably dumb he is. Talk about easy! And of course, I’m really looking forward to your opinions and anything you’d like to draw. That’s why there are all 3

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sorts of fun activity pages up ahead. Trust me, though: Rafe couldn’t care less what you think. Seriously. He won’t even understand most of it. By the way, I thought up the book’s title, though Rafe claims he did. What do you think? You don’t have to like it. I do.

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YOU CAN’T SPELL SCHOOL WITHOUT COOL

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My Year—in Grief The life of a middle schooler is really hard. Am I right? Most definitely. On a month-to-month basis, here’s what my year looks like. SEPTEMBER: Back to school, aka my worst nightmare.

OCTOBER: All memory of summer vacation has been stripped from my brain, thanks to nonstop 6

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teacher torture. Halloween candy helps, but only a little. NOVEMBER: Feels like forever until Christmas vacation. Plus, turkey is not my favorite food, especially when it’s served with Georgia’s jiggly cranberry jelly.

DECEMBER: Teachers load up on homework and tests before Christmas vacation. Mom listens to the “All Rudolph All the Time” radio station in the car. 7

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JANUARY: I stay up late to watch the New Year’s ball squash the very last of my vacation, and fall asleep in class for the next week. Teachers decide to yell their lessons for the rest of the year. FEBRUARY: HVMS gets all gooey over Valentine’s Day, and Mom makes me give out cards to everyone in my class. I get approximately two valentines back. MARCH: Spring break turns into “spring cleaning time,” which means if I sit down even once the whole vacation, I’m not “pitching in.” APRIL: Rain. No matter what I do— raincoat, umbrella, galoshes—I get soaked going to school and soaked coming home from school. MAY: Flowers everywhere make me sneeze. Also, bees. They’re after me. 8

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JUNE: FREEDOM!!! Except now there’s nothing to do and I’m stuck in the house all day with Georgia. JULY: Is it possible for a person to sweat to death? AUGUST: Wait in horror for school to start, while Mom and Georgia get way too excited about buying school supplies and dorky clothes.

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My Turn: The Only Calendar Worth Looking At Try a little optimism, Rafe! Here’s my calendar: SEPTEMBER: Hurray! Time to start learning and seeing my friends again! OCTOBER: Hurray! I’m getting used to my new classes! Can’t wait to put together my Georgia O’Keeffe Halloween costume, complete with awesome cattle skull mask! (Search for O’Keeffe’s skull paintings on the Internet if you don’t know what I’m talking about—it’s worth it!) NOVEMBER: Hurray! It’s Thanksgiving and I get to make delicious food with Mom! Everybody loves my cranberry jelly rings! DECEMBER: Hurray! Time for the holidays! Plus, I get to kick butt at end-of-semester tests! JANUARY: Hurray! Back to school after break! Get to write 10

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the new year’s number on all my homework! FEBRUARY: Hurray! Maybe I’ll get a valentine from Sam! MARCH: Hurray! It’s almost spring, which means cleaning out and color-coordinating my closet! APRIL: Hurray! Midterm reports show that I have all A’s! MAY: Hurray! Time to schedule summer enrichment programs and activities! JUNE: Hurray! Vacation is here, and I can finally get a jump start on summer reading so I’m extra prepared for September! JULY: Hurray! Fireworks and carnival food for Fourth of July! AUGUST: Hurray! Shopping for school supplies and new school clothes! Hurray, hurray, hurray! So…was that a little too much? Yeah, I thought so. 11

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Your Year

You heard our takes on the calendar. Now it’s your turn!

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Fill in the boxes with what you love and hate about each month.

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Middle School: Ultimate Showdown Free Preview