National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society (NERDS Series #1)

National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society (NERDS Series #1)

4.4 55
by Michael Buckley

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NERDS combines all the excitement of international espionage with all the awkwardness of elementary school, and the results are hilarious. A group of unpopular fifth graders run a spy network from inside their school. With the help of cutting-edge science, they transform their nerdy qualities into incredible abilities! Their enemies? An array of James


NERDS combines all the excitement of international espionage with all the awkwardness of elementary school, and the results are hilarious. A group of unpopular fifth graders run a spy network from inside their school. With the help of cutting-edge science, they transform their nerdy qualities into incredible abilities! Their enemies? An array of James Bond–style villains, each with an evil plan more diabolical and more ridiculous than the last. Publishers Weekly raved: “Buckley has a flair for exaggerated humor.” School Library Journal said: “Funny, clever, and thoroughly entertaining.”

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Launching a new series, Buckley (the Sisters Grimm books) offers a charming and funny tale of underdogs saving the day. Jackson Jones, a cool kid at Nathan Hale Elementary School, suddenly finds himself ostracized when he's saddled with 14 pounds of highly magnetic orthodonture (“Friends turned their backs when he walked by. Teachers cowered in the lounge, hoping to avoid eye contact”). With no social activities to occupy his time, he starts snooping around school and uncovers its secret: it's the undercover hideout of NERDS, a secret group of underage spies. Even more shocking, the NERDS are the biggest outcasts in the entire school, their allergies and eccentricities turned into assets. Though the spy kids concept is a familiar one in print, TV and film, Buckley has a flair for exaggerated humor, throws in some nice touches (including a peevish security system that interacts with readers) and wisely presents the NERDS through the eyes of Jackson, who spends much of the book denying his own social ostracism. Even the more broadly drawn archetypes are fleshed out, making this a perfectly fun and clever read. Ages 8–12. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Erika Clark
Teachers thought of him as charming. The coach of his PeeWee football team admired his leadership, "best passing arm, best kicking leg, and best touchdown dance he had seen in twenty-five years." His name was Jackson Jones and was known as the most popular kid at Nathan Hale Elementary School, in Arlington, Virginia. All the students mimicked his every move and respected every thing he said. Jackson was following the footsteps of his father and older brother, both of whom had achieved great victories and reputations as Nathan Hale Tigers. Little did Jackson know, his reign as king would soon disintegrate into ashes when his orthodontist, Dr. Gupta, tells him he needs braces to help straighten his teeth. "Jackson found that by the end of an average school day his headgear had collected cuff links, belt buckles, hairpins, cafeteria trays, cell phones, and umbrellas...his popularity vanished overnight. Friends turned their backs when he walked by. Teachers cowered in the lounge, hoping to avoid eye contact. The classroom hamster buried itself under a mound of sawdust and pretended he wasn't there. Even his best friend turned on him." This feeling of alienation caused Jackson to notice peculiar characteristics about his friends, the faculty and staff, and others that have been overlooked for so long. Becoming a nerd helped him understand that some of the coolest people at Nathan Hale were the nerdiest, and that nerds in fact live adventurous and amazing lives. Access different levels of the top secret nerds case file and discover how a group of geeky nerds use their unique talents to save the globe from their spy headquarters—"the playground"—hidden in their elementary school.These misfit fifth-graders give a whole new meaning to word "nerd". An action filled adventure that, in particular young boys, will hook onto the fascination and interest of students in the classroom. Part of the "National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society" series. Reviewer: Erika Clark
School Library Journal
Gr 5–7—An action-packed, tongue-in-cheek take on the world of superheroes and villains. Jackson Jones, 11, transitions from Mr. Popular to complete loser in the time it takes to be fitted for braces with headgear. He soon happens upon the underground headquarters of a group of outcasts called NERDS, who, with the help of technology "upgrades," turn weaknesses like allergies into superpowers, fighting crime in secret until the age of 18. While trying to escape, Jackson himself is accidentally upgraded—his braces become equipped with tiny nanobytes capable of morphing into any object. Asked to join the NERDS, Jackson quickly learns that not everyone wants him around—especially those he used to pick on. Unity must come quickly, however, to foil the evil Dr. Jigsaw, whose mission to reunite the continents of the world will lead to massive destruction. The absurd story line humorously hits on some oft-ignored topics—what is the difference between a goon, a henchman, a minion, and an assassin anyway? Readers will delight in these unexpected touches. The pacing is quick and the action is plentiful—kids will almost hear the sound effects as they read. The book itself is treated as a top-secret NERDS case file, complete with increasingly ridiculous security-clearance requirements (thumbprint, saliva sample, money). Angular, black-and-white illustrations highlight main characters and pivotal moments. NERDS brings a worthy message to the fore—that uncool kids can grow up to be anything but. Funny, clever, and thoroughly entertaining, this title should be popular.—Travis Jonker, Dorr Elementary School, MI
Kirkus Reviews
Jackson Jones used to be the most popular 11-year-old at Nathan Hale Elementary, but now he's forced to wear hideous magnetic braces on his teeth. Dumped by his friends, he starts paying more attention to his surroundings and discovers that a small group of nerds vanishes regularly during the school day. He learns they're a group of super-secret, super-enhanced spies, and he accidentally gets enhanced himself. The five existing members of the National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society want nothing to do with the former "popular," despite the best efforts of their adult handlers. When the NERDS are captured by evil Dr. Jigsaw, can "Braceface" save the day (and the world)? Sisters Grimm author Buckley kicks off a new series with a passable origin story. Most characters aren't more than stereotypes, but the inventive details, story and made-up futuristic technology will keep pages turning. The length and level of language keep this from being a perfect package for its intended audience of reluctant readers. However, avid readers of humorous thrillers will be quite glad this is slated to be a series. (Thriller. 8-12)
Isaac Gabella
Jackson Jones is the focal point of Nathan Hale Elementary; as a star athlete and the most popular kid in school. He is struck down by middle school superficiality when he gets braces and a head harness: he loses his friends and even has to give up sports. During this time, Jackson finds consolation in learning all he can about other people. His curiosity leads him to a group of five "nerds" who have something to hide. Upon further investigation, he discovers that they are here to save the world. Michael Buckley tries to challenge common social perceptions while entertaining his reader. Though there are some intriguing aspects and cool details, the writer fails to execute the idea that the primary job of a book is to immerse the reader into a world that, although a product of the writer's thoughts, still needs coherent rules, laws, and consistencies. Reviewer: Isaac Gabella
ALAN Review - Christine Chau
Jackson Jones once lived the joys of being the most popular kid in school. He spent most of his days torturing nerds. As fate would have it, an unfortunate event occurred, and he became a social outcast. Not even the nerds wished to have him as a part of their group. Jackson accidentally discovers that five of the nerds he used to torture are actually spy agents, and he is invited to join their group. Jackson learns the difficulties of being an outcast, and desperately tries to gain acceptance amongst the NERDS. His interactions with the other members of the team help him overcome his superficial judgment of individuals, and appreciate people for their hidden potential. Jackson embraces his inner nerd, and the supporting characters learn how to put aside their personal prejudices to ensure the NERDS' success. Reviewer: Christine Chau

Product Details

Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
NERDS Series, #1
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

Michael Buckley is the author of The Sisters Grimm, a New York Times bestselling series and a Today Show Al Roker Book Club pick. He has also written and developed shows for such networks as the Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and Disney. He lives with his family in Brooklyn, New York. Visit

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National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society (N.E.R.D.S. Series #1) 4.4 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 55 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
By early morning school day, they're your classic nerd. They have allergies, braces, buckteeth, asthma, and more. By the end of the school day, they're NERDS - super spies. Using their nerdiness to their advantage, they'll kick butt, solve puzzles, end crime, and save the world. All before dinnertime. Jackson Jones was your typical jock and popular school bully. Then everything went downhill when he got braces. Now no one wants to be friends with him. Using his new nerd status to his advantage, he starts spying on kids in his grade, as well as on the teachers. All is fun and games until he falls through a locker into the secret lab of the NERDS (National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society). Now, his job is to save the world, keep his grades up, get his dad to accept him for who he is, and somehow get Mr. Dehaven, the principal, off his case about his sudden string of tardiness and falling grades. Will Jackson survive being a NERD with powerful villains for enemies - or will life get the better of him? This is a hilarious book that anyone who has ever been picked on will relate to. The plot is well-developed, the characters are entertaining, and the action is intense and fun to read about. Readers will enjoy the interactivity of the book from cover to cover - and will wish there was already a sequel to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a children's librarian in an elementary school in Arizona, and NERDS is by far the most requested book in my library. I booktalked it early in the year, and the crazy humor and fun characters have left the kids hooked. Girl readers, guy readers, avid and not so avid readers will love this new series, Turning kids on to reading is easy with books like this...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow! I read all of the Sisters Grimm books and really liked them (though he does leave you hanging!). My mom got me a copy of NERDS and it's not like anything I've ever read. First, there's these chapter sections that make you stop and prove who you are. Plus, the characters are super funny. My favorite is Flinch cause my parents tell me I'm hyper, too. Then I like Braceface, and then Wheezer. You will love this book The story is very exciting and you really think that maybe they won't be able to save the world. I'm still laughing and can't wait to read the next one in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book held my attention and kept me in suspense. I loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have to read book i recomend it for all readers
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I gave this bok to my son for chrismas and he read it in one day. Then he wanted me to read it so i read it. I thought it was very funny. He kept asking for all the books. I gave it to him and he spent almost the whole weekend reading the books. I would definetly reccomend this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book in the whole world
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hey i wear these awesome big glasses and everybody calls me a nerd but i just say "that means i'm smarter than you"
fortfive More than 1 year ago
my son (8) loved this book and the other two in the series...good humor and kept his interest!
TexRogers More than 1 year ago
Anyone who has ever been picked on in school will relate to this book. It is very funney in parts. The NERDS are cool. There is a team of NERDS that save the world from danger. They all have really funny superpowers. They ride a rocket ship called The School bus to get where they want to go. Since the rocket ship broke close to the end of the story, they turned a regular school bus into a rocket. One of the lessons of the book was to never, ever, judge somebody by what they look like and only judge them by what they really are. Jackson made that mistake when he judged the N.E.R.D.S. team by what they looked like and not by what they really are and paid the price for it by not getting accepted by the N.E.R.D.S. team at first. This book is an easy read and having been a reluctant reader, my teacher recommended it! Not my favorite; but, an easy read and it doesn't take long to read it! i think I will read it again a little slower! Tex
packratx More than 1 year ago
I'm a huge fan of the Sister's Grimm series, so when I saw this book coming out I had mixed feelings. Part of me was thrilled to watch Buckley try something new, but the other part of me wasn't sure what I would do without Puck and his crazy antics. But NERDS completely won me over. It's clever, laugh out loud funny, and an absolute joy to read. Even better, it's filled with positive messages and leaves you desperate to harness your own inner nerd. Highly recommended to anyone who likes to read and laugh.
Anonymous 4 months ago
This thrilling adventure includes many adventures of the nerds team! I reccommend this book to any kids who are interested! Oh and what the heck parents can read it too!
Anonymous 5 months ago
Nerds is an interesting book that takes place at Nathan Hale Elementary. Jackson Jones is the main character. He is a popular kid, who bullies nerds. One day, Jackson went to his dentist. He had two sets of teeth that were all out of order, upside down, side ways; it was so crazy. He needs...braces. Jackson thinks his life is over, he goes to school and his “friends” started to treat him as a nerd. Then, he started to notice differences about his friends by spying on them. After he got bored of spying on his friends, he observed the nerds all sneeze at the same time. The nerds got up and left the classroom, he looked out the window and saw them get into a locker. He followed them and he saw the school janitor. Jackson jumped into a locker and fell down through a series of tubes. He landed in a chair, got up, and walked into a room. A chair popped out of nowhere and strapped him in. Then seconds later, he heard a voice, “upgrades initiated”. Then, robotic spiders jumped on him and made his braces robotic. He panicked and saw the school janitor who gave him a note asking him to join the NERDS. Does Jackson join the NERDS? There’s only one way to find out, read the book! By: F.G 5th Grade Student
Anonymous 11 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is this the first book please answer soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful book with a mixture of humor and action wonderful book reccomend to anyone
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So am i
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Want to read the next one
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not sure how ot ends but is so far pretty good im only on like page 75 or something like that i recomond read it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awsomest spy book ever!!! (Kid spy book)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But i cant get the second
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was pretty good, pretty funny, and creative. But i think the author hates mental people because in the whole series there is usually something about screaming mental people. Other than that, the whole series were a good read, and time consuming.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read the whole series and I recomend it for boys and girls ages 9 to 18
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thi book is about a kid Jackson , code name braceface . In the beggining he is populer and the quarterback on the team. When he gets braces it all changes. He suddenly is not the bully but the victum. He start spying on his teachers and fellow students but when he trys to spy on the strange group of nerds he is in for a suprize. He follows them one day and makes his way into the PLAYGROUND . He then gets straped in by computer named ben and blacks out . He wakes up to find his braces come to live . In this fun thrilled book it will talk about the sttrugles to gain his teamates trust and forgivness and the threat of when the evil Dr jigzaw will strike again. You should read this book . You bookie . Devin the girl peace