According to the author blurb, Paula Danziger and Madeleine L'Engle were two of Rhuday-Perkovich's writing teachers. It shows up in the writing for sure. Touches of humor, make that plenty of humor, and a sense of fighting for what is right and just even when it means putting oneself in danger: both are balanced here in this remarkable first novel. Reggie, aka Pukey for an unfortunate incident of his past, is conscripted into service as the campaign manager for someone he is not certain has the interests of the student body at the core of her campaign. School politics can be brutal even in a school like Clarke. However, when Reggie becomes involved in a community project at the local homeless shelter, he comes to understand what IS important and how he can make change happen. <266>
It is not often that a novel discusses religion and community service along with bullying and some of the other staples of school like. Rhuday-Perkovich does not shy away from these areas, areas that do help to define who Reggie is and, more importantly, can become. All this is done without being dogmatic or didactic, no small feat. 8TH GRADE SUPERZERO is a welcome addition to literature for tweens and young teens.