Genre: YA Social Justice
Synopsis: 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.
Then Reggie gets involved with a local homeless shelter, the Olive Branch. Haunted by two of the clients there--George, a once-proud man now living on the streets, and Charlie, a six-year-old kid who becomes his official "Little Buddy"--he begins to think about making a difference, both in the world and at school. Pukey for President? It can happen . . . if he starts believing.
Review: At times, I wonder why grades are assigned for books. This is one such time. Eighth Grade Superzero is a book that's great for both MG and adult readers. Reggie was a lovable character, a typical boy trying to make his way through school with his two best friends.
His most defining moment in school was the puking incident. Reggie has the potential to be one of the most annoying characters ever written, with his beliefs and actions, but Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich wrote him in such a way so as to be irritatingly endearing instead of just plain annoying.
My favourite character was oddly Ruthie. She was the heart of the story for me. From the start, it was obvious what was going to happen with her and Reggie. To type this is not even a spoiler! Ruthie's smart mouthed and she preaches about Doing The Right Thing. She's a feminist in the making, and she'll either grow up to be a one of those socially, environmentally conscious mob leaders or more likely, a Very Important Person who Does and Changes Things. I can't wait for Ruthie's book.
This is not just a coming of age story, but a tale about social responsibility (I love that phrase, it sounds so serious and well-meaning), faith and racial tension that manages not to sound preachy.
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