8th Grade Super Zero by Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich
Reggie McKnight is trying to survive 8th grade with the help of his friends Joe C. and Ruthie. But it won’t be easy with bullies, elections, an embarrassing nick name, a ‘Little Buddy’ looking up to him, and questions about God and church.
Preachy. Unfortunately that’s the first thing that comes to mind when I think of this book. It wasn’t that I didn’t like reading it. Or that I disagreed with what was being preached. But it was a lot. There are some really good themes presented. Reggie has to learn how to stand up for himself and others. He has to choose to do what is right when it isn’t easy. He has to make choices about what is most important and what he is going to do about it. He has to learn lessons about judging people and being a good citizen and a good role model. He has to learn how to be a good friend when both are growing and changing. All while he is dealing with questions of doubt and faith in God. He is a likable kid who isn’t perfect and doesn’t have all the answers but is looking for them. You care about him and want him to make the right choices and root for him and his friends. The people who surround Reggie are a diverse bunch but all written well and well developed. They are all believable as are the situations that Reggie manages to get himself into and his reactions to his challenging and changing world. But he gets involved with a homeless shelter and the book hits the point of service to the community rather hard. And that’s where it starts to get preachy. It’s a good thing for kids to hear about but there is so much in the book you start to feel a little beat over the head by it. It’s a good story about good characters that just pushes a little too hard at times. It is still an entertaining book that left me caring about Reggie and his friends. And wanting to read his comic book.