Eighth-Grade Superzeroby Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
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In this terrific debut, a Brooklyn middle-schooler finds the superhero within himself thanks to old friends, new dreams, and a pair of magical "Dora the Explorer" sneakers. Ever since a deeply unfortunate incident earlier this year, Reggie's been known as "Pukey" McKnight at his high-intensity Brooklyn middle school. He wants to turn his image around, but he has other things on his mind as well: his father, who's out of a job; his best friends, Ruthie and Joe C.; his former best friend Donovan, who's now become a jerk; and of course, the beautiful Mialonie. The elections for school president are coming up, but with his notorious nickname and "nothing" social status, Reggie wouldn't stand a chance, if he even had the courage to run. (CONT.)
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Reggie would like nothing more than to spend all of his time with his best friend, Joe C., working on Night Man, their super-hero comic. The story ideas are all Reggie's and the artwork is Joe's. They are sure it's going to be spectacular. Something always seems to interfere with Reggie's plans. He somehow gets roped into acting as campaign manager for one of the most annoying girls at school. Vicky has him passing out flyers and putting up posters wherever there's a smidgen of empty wall space. Reggie has also started attending his church's youth group meetings. He's not really sure about the whole "God" thing, but he is finding the community service work surprisingly rewarding. The group is visiting a local homeless shelter and interviewing people about their experiences. Reggie is shocked to see a kid from his school using the shelter, and he finds himself connecting with him both there and at school whenever he gets a chance. His interview with an older homeless man inspires him to present the idea of more community service involvement at school. However, when he mentions his idea as a possible direction for Vicky's campaign, she is less than thrilled. Maybe Reggie should just run his own campaign. He thinks this stuff is important, but would it be possible to convince others of its importance? 8TH GRADE SUPERZERO offers a refreshing look into the world of middle school. There are the typical self-centered students, the bullies, and the jocks, but Reggie is an example of a misfit who just might have found a way to shine.