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Messed Up

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  568 ratings  ·  89 reviews
A fifteen-year-old Mexican American has experienced a series of tough breaks before finding himself completely on his own. He decides to try to keep his lack of a home a secret from his school while working hard and staying out of trouble.
Hardcover, 250 pages
Published March 1st 2009 by Holiday House
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Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  568 ratings  ·  89 reviews

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Sean Lynch
Feb 15, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A pitch-perfect account of becoming a young adult and the fear that comes with actually gaining the independence you so desire as a young person.
Nov 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, young-adult, fiction
Aww, I loved this book.

R.D. is a 15 year old Mexican-American kid starting 8th grade for the second time. His father is out of the picture and his mother has long been gone away, serving time in prison for a drug offense. He is taken in by his grandmother, but she leaves him with her boyfriend Earl to go off with another man, a biker. Earl is a kind man, a Vietnam veteran with "Agent Orange" who eventually cares for R.D. in his grandmother's absence until he dies unexpectedly one day while R.D.
Allison, Kawalec.
i Chose to read this book because when are teacher showed it too us and told us a little about it , it sounded really good.
The setting took place in Lemoore.
The genere is basically realistic fiction.

This book is about a book about a boy name r.d who failed the 8th grade and is now taking it again.
He is known for getting in trouble and lives with his step granpa earl. His grandmother rose left them to be with a guy named hairy. One, day when r.d comes home from school lat
The students have been asking me to read this book for months. I bought a hardbound copy off of eBay because I thought I might want it in my classroom library since it's so popular. Having begun the book, I have to say it won't go in my gen. ed. classroom; it's too... dirty, disrespectful, ugly for my gen. ed. room. Parents would raise a fuss if they read the opening chapters. However, it will go in my struggling readers class library. They'll relate.

Last night as I lay reading, I ha
Sep 08, 2010 rated it it was amazing
R.D. is stuck in limbo in the San Joaquin Valley school system. He's repeating 8th grade again and is sick of seeing the same old crap day after day. He’s neutral but there are those who wear red or blue find and fight for no reason at all. Being Mexican and Cheyenne doesn’t help him at all. R.D. lives with his grandmother's boyfriend Earl, who takes really good care of him while Grandma is off with her new boyfriend and his mom is in the State Pen. One thing is for sure, R.D. has got a great he ...more
Deanna Day
Jul 28, 2009 rated it really liked it
Realistic fiction, identity, middle school, family.

R.D. (Richard Diaz) seems to mess up at everything. He is repeating eighth grade while living with Earl (his grandma's ex boyfriend). He returns from school one day and finds Earl dead and is unable to call Earl's sister, best friend or his grandma. He ends up living on his own for 3 months before everyone finds out.

One of my favorite things about this book is R.D.'s slang talk. Lynch really knows how middle school homies talk and s
Jenna Jones
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book is about a boy named R.D, he always gets in trouble so he had to repeat 8th grade. He lives with an old guy (he calls his best friend) names Earl. Earl starts to get sick so R.D wanted to start getting better grades, staying out of trouble, etc. All R.D ever wanted was to stay away from the CPS. (child protective services) once Earl got too sick to live, he ended up passing away and R.D kept it a secret from all of Earl's family. R.D ended up sending Earl's body to a college to do expe ...more
Feb 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
See Sean's review. I was frustrated that R.D. didn't always explain situations and so was unfairly punished, but I guess that's realistic. I felt it showed how he grew from self-centered, lazy teenager to a mature, responsible young man. And he had built more solid relationships, or just come to see that he had them all along because he called upon those people to help him and get involved.
Stephanie Pieck
Sep 03, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: braille
This YA novel tells the story of R.D., a 15-year-old eighth grader. His life was sort of messed up before, with his grandma gone and his mom in jail. But at least he still has Earl, his grandma's ex-boyfriend.
But when Earl dies, R.D.'s problems get a whole lot bigger.
Told in the first person, the story is suffused with R.D.'s unforgettable voice. In the course of the novel, he realizes just how much he doesn't know--and just how much he has inside of him that will help him overcome l
Feb 03, 2011 is currently reading it
the writer is talking about the fight between some girls.

2-7-2011 Mon "4 sentence Summary"

Teachers was asking what happened about the fight. Teachers asked different people opinion and ideas. the main character gave his opinion about the school. also, i found out that the charater is not very good kids in school

2-9-2011 Wed "5 sentence Summary"

the officer Mendz comes to Mr.Bowan's office to take the character home. t
Rori Christina Simmons
May 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such a great book!! I felt like I was in the story; if this book was a movie, I would go see it 10,000 times
Jacob Cushman
Mar 01, 2017 marked it as to-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Gina Anne
Feb 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
A great MS book and compelling for many readers I would imagine. It's related to some work we are doing at school and was recommended to me, and I can see how it is valuable to us as we learn more about the subject of incarceration, though that's a kind of minimal detail in this story. It's a minimal detail but also, it actually drives the storyline. I liked the language and the main character, R.D.
Kate McMurry
An abandoned teen cares for himself

R.D. is a fifteen-year-old Mexican-American boy with Cheyenne ancestry who's had a very rough life. His father abandoned him. His mother is in prison. His grandmother has recently deserted him. And to top it all off, his grandmother's longtime boyfriend, Earl, who has continued to care for R.D. after her departure, suddenly drops dead. To avoid being sent to a group home, R.D. pretends his grandmother is still around to care for him and struggles to
Daniel Gomez
Mar 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
What would you do if your gardian died and you had no one to take care of you? You could find out what R.D. Mitchell did when his step grandfather died in the realistic fiction book "Messed Up". This book was really good. I couldn't stop reading it.

"Messed Up" is about a 15 year old boy named R.D. Mitchell. He lives with his grandparents in an old house in a dangerous neiboorhood. R.D. is always getting in trouble in school.He even gets held back in the 8th grade. When his grandmothe
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

R.D. never knew his father, and his mother is in prison. He was raised by his grandmother, but she up and left him with her boyfriend, Earl, so she could run off with a hairy truck driver. R.D. has promised to clean up his act and get through the eighth grade this year for sure, but it's the first day of school and things aren't starting off very well since he's suspended for fighting by lunch time.

Earl tries
Feb 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The book messed up got my attention since the main person in the book was a Mexican kid who had a rough time growing up his parents left him so he lives with his grandparents. The book first starts off with chick fight in the school and he was in trouble for taking a video of the fight. He was a "bad boy" in high school always gotten in trouble and gotten thrown out of school. I could connect to that since in middle school I honestly did not car about anything and did anything I wanted. My paren ...more
Asia Nkanang
Aug 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I think this book is very awesome!! I recommend this book to 13 years and older. It's just Realistic and it shows and tells you that people have a messed up life. R.D is the main character who just doesn't know how to get his life together. My favorite part of the book is when, R.D took Jeanette to the dance. Once they walked in Jeanette saw Sterling,her crush, dancing with his girlfriend. Jeanette was so upset she ran to the carpenter room. R.D ran after her to figure out what was wrong. When h ...more
May 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I thought it was a great book! So different from anything else I've read in teen fiction. So 'boy'.
Teen boys' brains supposedly rewire and make them feel a bit lost. The book lets us see how lost R.D. is. He doesn't know why he does the things he does. You feel his confusion throughout the book. I'd especially recommend it to a boy. It shows that learning survival skills like shopping and cooking might be a good thing to do. Otherwise his potatoes might taste like dirt!
The writing style was fr
Michelle Stimpson
Jun 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book had me at the first line:

"Cat fight - about the only good thing that can happen the first day of school."

And kept me going with lines likes these:

"He don't get sent to Merit Reform like other kids cuz like I sez, he don't have regular anger, he's got 504 Anger."

"Miz Trueblood don't see any of this, that's how new teachers are. They're so busy smiling and teaching their shiny new lesson plans that they don't see nothing."

Jan 06, 2010 rated it liked it
I would give this one 3.5 stars. Based on all of the hype, I expected to like it a lot more. I usually like urban teenage books, but this book's slang felt a bit forced for me. For example, the author uses "alot" and "sez." These aren't pronounced any differently verbally, so why spell them differently if the book isn't written in a journalistic format? I also found many of the characters to be very archetypal, particularly Mrs. Trueblood and R.D.'s friends.
I liked the plot line. It reminded me
R.D. is a "messed up" kid who can't quite get what life is about. He is now repeating 8th grade for the 3rd time, lives with his grandmother and grandfather, Earl because mom is in jail and dad, long gone. He gets in fights, skips school so he doesn't have a good rep at school with administration or the police. On the first day of school, R.D. stops a fight between 2 girls and helps a new teacher but he still gets suspended for three days. His grandmother has deserted RD and Earl for another guy ...more
Laura Aase
Oct 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was in the head of 15-yr-old, flunked and still in 8th grade RD. Mom's in jail. He lived with his Grandma and her boyfriend, Earl, until Gram took off with a new boyfriend. Earl is caring, but very sick due to Agent Orange. RD has floated through life, a victim of his circumstances and completely unmotivated. As a reader and a teacher, I was saddened that he was always blamed for everything, even if he was trying to be helpful because he was that unmotivated, impulsive kid. When he finds Earl ...more
Laura Rangel
Nov 20, 2010 rated it liked it
What would you do if you were 15 and on your own? This was the case for R.D. R.D. was part Indian and part Mexican and had no one to turn to. His mother was in prison and his father was an illegal immigrant that was no where to be found. He lived with his grandmother and her long term boyfriend Earl. When Earl died his grandmother left and he was now alone. He did not tell anyone that he was alone because he did not want to be placed in a home. He forged signatures, cashed Earl's checks, and did ...more
Nov 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
My favorite thing about the main character was his ability to learn. He quickly learned to change behavior, imitate common decency, and appreciate what others did for him--even if it was too late to thank them. There are lots of cultural references in this book that would make it fun to teach. I didn't like the editing of this book, however. The text is written in slang as the main characters voice. I can appreciate and understand slang but I think the editors made a bad choice with misspellings ...more
Sep 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Skyler
R.D.'s dad is out of the picture. His mom was sent to prison when R.D. was little. His family consists of his grandma and her boyfriend, Earl, until she meets a guy who makes her feel younger and she runs off with him. R.D. and Earl have a relationship of understanding. R.D. gets in trouble at school often (he is repeating the 8th grade), and Earl doesn't bug him about it. But then Earl dies and R.D. has to figure out to survive without being sent to foster care. At the same time he loses old fr ...more
Mel Raschke
R.D. never knew his father, and his mother is in prison. He was raised by his grandmother, but she up and left him with her boyfriend, Earl, so she could run off with a hairy truck driver. R.D. has promised to clean up his act and get through the eighth grade this year for sure, but it's the first day of school and things aren't starting off very well since he's suspended for fighting by lunch time. Ever since R.D.'s grandmother left, Earl has been having more frequent attacks that leave him gas ...more
Feb 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
R.D.'s biological grandma left him with her ex-boyfriend, Earl, to go trucking with her new boyfriend. If R.D. had to be left with anyone, he's glad it's Earl, although Earl's health has been noticeably declining and it isn't long before Earl is dead on the bathroom floor. R.D. has never been very successful in school and his neighborhood is rough but now that he's on his own, he realizes that having his independence is what he needs to take control of his life, even if it is kind of lonely livi ...more
Aug 23, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: rmsel-8th-grade
Book Review
Chase Bouck

Messed Up is a Realistic Fiction book about a fifteen year old boy named R.D. R.D has been through a lot in his life and is about to have another unexpected turn for the worst. R.D's father left him when he was but a little boy and his mother is in jail for drug trade. R.D is now living with his grandma and her boy friend Earl in a house that they only half own. Can things get any worse for 15 year old R.D? Will Earl be able to survive with his cancer? W
Mrs. Tongate
Jul 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: teen, hispanic
RD, 15 years old, lives with his step grandfather. He never knew his Dad, his mom is in jail, and his grandmother ran off with another guy. RD is a tough guy, but really he seeks to be loved. RD is in the 8th grade for the third time! He really wants to be good this year. Everything is going OK until something happens to hia grandfather. Now RD has to step it up and take care of everything. This book shows how some students have so much going on at home, that we can't imagine. RD is a great char ...more
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Janet Nichols Lynch’s most recent novels are COMMIE PINKO, about the McCarthy era and teen life in Berkeley, CA, in the 1950s; WHEEL OF FIRE, about a teen trying to free another teen from a destructive cult; MY BEAUTIFUL HIPPIE, about growing up in San Francisco in the late 1960s, and RACING CALIFORNIA, about the Amgen Tour of California. She is the author of the novels ADDICTED TO HER, MESSED UP ...more
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