Eighth-Grade Superzero

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Author . Scholastic/Levine $16.99 (324p) ISBN 978-0-545-09676-8

Rhuday-Perkovich delivers a masterful debut, telling a layered middle-school tale filled with characters who are delightfully flawed and, more importantly, striving to overcome those flaws. Reggie McKnight has been saddled with the nickname “Pukey” thanks to a disastrous incident on the first day of school. Attempting to get through the rest of the year unnoticed, he spends his time with his best friends, political activist Ruthie (who shares Reggie’s Jamaican background) and aspiring rapper Joe C. While working on a project at a homeless shelter with his church’s youth group, he becomes increasingly interested and involved in the community, leading to his participation in his school’s presidential race, first as an adviser to a classmate, eventually as a candidate. Rhuday-Perkovich doesn’t take shortcuts, forcing Reggie to deal with a world in which he doesn’t always get the answers or successes he wants, and the book shines as a result. Messages of social justice—whether through church projects, parental discussions, or recognition of racial biases among his friends—complement the story and characters, rather than upstage them. Ages 10–14. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 12/14/2009
Release date: 01/01/2010
Paperback - 324 pages - 978-0-545-09725-3
Prebound-Glued - 324 pages - 978-0-606-22978-4
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