Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Messed Up” as Want to Read:
Messed Up
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Messed Up

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  580 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
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  580 ratings  ·  89 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Messed Up
Sean L
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, fiction, young-adult
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 late he finds earl in the b
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 had an epiphan
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 she crafts th
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 life's obstac
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. the officer asked some questions about the character during the way
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
Yoselin Castillo
Jan 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chapter-books-4
This book deserves an infinite amount of gold stars! I stumbled across during my weekly to the library many years ago. The image on the cover is what caught my attention. Once I started reading, I could not put it down. Through this book, I saw life through the eyes of a Mexican American teenager who had no real parents and suffered the loss of the only person that cared about him. It made me realize that there are actually other children that go through these hardships and have to fend for them ...more
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 take care o
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 grandmother abandones
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 to keep R.D. out of tro
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
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
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
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."

"Then I see her, farther back, Desiree leaning against a pole, wat
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 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
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
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
Jul 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ya
R.D.'s mom is in jail, he doesn't know his dad, and now his grandma left him with her ex-boyfriend, Earl, to go off with her new boyfriend. R.D. is just trying to get by in his third year of eighth grade until he turns 16 and they have to move him up to high school. Then Earl dies and R.D. is alone. He doesn't even know how to cook. He has to learn how to survive , mature and make it on his own. I really liked R.D. and want to know more about him. Although his dad was mentioned, I'd love a seque ...more
May 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
R.D. is Mexican-American-Native American, from the poor side of town, and two years behind in school (15 and still in junior high!). But he's not really a bad guy. He knows how to stay out of serious trouble and has some respect for his "grandpa," Earl. But when things start to fall apart in R.D.'s life, he has to make some big decisions. Is he smart enough to make it on his own? Does he have to be on his own?

This book was a "Best Books for Middle Schoolers" choice and I have to agree. It's well
« previous 1 3 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Like Sisters on the Homefront
  • Tyrell (Tyrell, #1)
  • Golden Arm
  • After The Shot Drops
  • Calico Joe
  • Gutless
  • Broken China
  • Say What You Will
  • Stranger Than Fanfiction
  • The Housekeeper and the Professor
  • Guy in Real Life
  • Kids of Appetite
  • A Step Toward Falling
  • A List of Cages
  • The Edge of Everything (The Edge of Everything, #1)
  • Mosquitoland
  • The Safest Lies
  • The Year I Turned Sixteen (The Year I Turned Sixteen, #1-4)
See similar books…
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

News & Interviews

As dedicated readers already know, some of the best and most innovative stories on the shelves come from the constantly evolving realm of...
34 likes · 10 comments
No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »