8th Grade Super Zero

330p. 978-0-54509-676-8.
Gr 6-8 Reggie McKnight is a smart but somewhat geeky eighth grader growing up in New York City. He earned the nickname "Pukey" during an unfortunate incident at assembly, and he hasn't been able to shake it. Life at his alternative school isn't all bad, though. Reggie's friends Ruthie and Joe C. have his back most of the time, and then there's beautiful Mialonie, who is showing some interest in him. But these days Reggie has a little more on his plate than he can handle. His dad is out of work, and his mom works too much. He gets involved at a homeless shelter, befriending two of its residents, but is often at a loss for how to make a difference. And will he ever work up the courage to overcome his reputation as "Pukey" and run for class president? The novel takes on a number of weighty issues including religion, homelessness, and getting involved without the heavy language and situations that are often a part of urban fiction. Although this moderately paced story will likely require some selling, it is a good one to recommend to readers who are looking for realistic fiction with a focus on social responsibility."Jessica Marie, Renton Public Library, WA" Copyright 2010 Media Source Inc.
As perennial loser Reggie McKnight gets involved in the school elections, he must also juggle his other commitments: his home life, the church youth group, the homeless shelter, and the big buddy program. The unwieldy length and some weak characterizations are offset by the novel's strengths: a likable protagonist, a positive message, and a nuanced exploration of spirituality and religion.

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