Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nerds are the Star of the New Series by Michael Buckley

Sometimes folks are shocked by my high-low interests. True confession: aside from reading, they tend towards the low.

And not that many of my reading cohorts are above this, but I've continued my fondness for cartoons long after the end of childhood. For many years, I read everything I could get my hands on regarding Warner Brothers animation. My childhood was one long Hanna-Barbera extravaganza. But of late, the place to go is basic cable, where aside from Fox Sundays, Nickelodeon, the Cartoon Network, and the Disney Channel have overtaken the networks as the main go-to place for cartoons.

So why is this the preamble for my recommendation of a new book? It's because the concept for the new series from Michael Buckley (The Sisters Grimm) would be at home on any of these channels.

It's Nerds: National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society and it's a lot of fun. Aimed at middle-graders (that's 8-12), it's the story of a secret group of superheroes that are based deep in the bowels of an ordinary elementary school. Their powers are derived from the things that would generally make kids the brunt of derision--asthma attacks, ADHD uncontrollability, even paste eating.

The story starts when all-around cool kid Jackson Jones needs braces, turning him from hero to zero at Nathan Hale Elementary. Being ostracized from his former friends, he starts paying attention to the strange goings on at school, and his sleuthing revels this gaggle of good guys. But their are villains too, most notably junior-beauty-pagent-contestant-turned-would-be-assassin Hyena, who's working for the very, very, very evil Dr. Jigsaw, whose diabolical plan is...diabolical. (And best of all, it ties into my new Ravensberger puzzles).

Very fun, lots of goofy asides, a clever plot. It made me think I don't read enough kids' books.
(Note: my apologies for posting this prematurely. I read 9/1 as the on-sale date but it was approximate.)

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