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Eighth-Grade Superzero

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  284 Ratings  ·  86 Reviews
In this terrific debut, a Brooklyn middle-schooler finds the superhero within himself thanks to old friends, new dreams, and a pair of magical "Dora the Explorer" sneakers.

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 thing
Hardcover, 324 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic
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Aida It is absolutely an 8th grade appropriate book, but could probably be read by any student in the middle grade years.

Community Reviews

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Oct 09, 2009 Audrey rated it it was amazing
I don't think it's hyperbole to say this is one of the best middle-grade novels I have ever read.

When people use the word ambitious, there's often a negativity lurking beneath it--that the author is to be admired for taking on so much, even if she didn't succeed.

Eighth-Grade Superzero is an ambitious book that delivers, and then some. It deals with important issues--homelessness, religion, social responsibility, family dynamics--but readers will hardly notice. They will be caught up in the char
Anne Broyles
Mar 01, 2010 Anne Broyles rated it really liked it
Rhuday-Perkovitch has created a delightful multicultural setting that feels authentic, not planned for best effect. Protagonist, Reggie McKnight tells his story with a strong, believable voice. He's funny, articulate, confused, compassionate, questioning, bright, perceptive, trying to fit in, wanting to stand out, seeking his own true voice. He is surrounded by good friends, caring adults, and a number of the usual suspects of middle school. Readers see deeply into Reggie's mind and spirit and r ...more
Reginald Garvey McKnight would have preferred to begin the 8th grade school year as King of Clarke Junior School (a High Academic, Study Intensive Middle School). Instead, he fast becomes known as Pukey and is made a school-wide laughingstock. Such a reputation is not easily overcome as Reggie tries to figure out who he is and how to let the world see him for his better attributes (not his weak stomach). He isn’t the only one. 8th Grade Super Zero is ripe with characters trying to figure out wha ...more
Apr 12, 2014 Rebecca rated it liked it
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 ...more
Hank Fisher
Oct 17, 2013 Hank Fisher rated it it was ok

8th Grade SuperZero is about a kid named Reggie who lives in New York. He's just trying to fit in. After a humiliating first day of school, he tries to find out who he really is by entering school politics, a religious youth group, an a Big Buddy system. He's also trying to avoid teasing. With the help of his friends, Joe C., Ruthie, and Charlie he tries to make this his best school year yet.

I think that this book is both positive and negative. The book explains that it doesn't matter if your c
Deva Fagan
Feb 20, 2011 Deva Fagan added it
Shelves: 2011-read
I was impressed by how many different threads got wound into this book, and it's refreshing to see characters of faith represented as normal, everyday people living their lives.

Now what I want is a companion book with the excellent Ruthie as the main character...
Aug 11, 2016 Gail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: young-adult
Sep 12, 2016 Katie rated it really liked it
"Say to them,
say to the down-keepers,
the sun-slappers,
the self-soilers,
the harmony-hushers,
'even if you are not ready for day,
it cannot always be night.'" - Gwendolyn Brooks, from "Speech to the Young: Speech to the Progress-Toward"

Reggie is a zero. After vomiting in front of the entire student body on the first day of school, more people now know him as "Pukey" than as "Reggie." He has his two best friends, Ruthie and Joe C, but it's tough to be thankful for two when you're teased on a d
Oct 24, 2015 Josiah rated it it was ok
"You don't have to do something BIG. Just something right. And when you do something wrong, that's not the end of it; you can step up again and still do something right. We can build up without tearing down, even if it's only in baby steps."

—Reggie, 8th Grade Superzero, P. 311

While I haven't yet read any Paula Danziger books at the time of this writing, I'm certainly well familiar with the award-winning work of Madeleine L'Engle, and the fact that Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, author of 8th
Natnael K
Mar 21, 2012 Natnael K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reggie McKnight has always been called Pukey. On the first day of school, he stood on stage in front of the whole school and threw up. Reggie must redeem his reputation and clear his name. An idea sparks in Reggie when the principal announces there will be elections for president. Reggie, with the help of his best friends Joe.C and Ruthie runs for president. Reggie must face his enemy Donovan and Justin, the Justin Bieber of his school. There is also a project for his youth group he must comple ...more
Jul 02, 2010 Erin rated it it was amazing
This is a book with heart and soul! At the beginning of the book, the main character, Reggie, is a seemingly average eighth grade boy who's just trying to make it through the year without drawing too much attention to himself. Too much *more* attention, that is. On the first day of school, during their opening assembly, Reggie had been selected to recite the school pledge on stage. Instead, he ended up puking all over the principal's front of the whole school. Now his nickname is "Puk ...more
Becky Birtha
Reggie McKnight and his friends are precocious eighth-graders in a public school for gifted students in Brooklyn, New York. Bearing that in mind as I read this was helpful, as some of their interests and concerns seemed much more sophisticated than the eighth-graders I've known-- or perhaps the eighth-grader I was. The characters' behavior, though, seems accurate and believable. The story centers around a school presidential election, and Reggie's involvement in it, while he attempts to rise abo ...more
Dec 24, 2011 Adriana rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reggie otherwise known as Pukey on account of puking in front of everyone in the beginning of his 8th grade year just wants everyone to forget him. After the incident everyone always calls him Pukey especially his relentlessly cruel former friend Donovan. One day he just stopped hanging out with him, Joe C., and Ruthie. Joe C. always has a bottle of Juiced! with him which comes with random information that no one needs to know. Ruthie is what you would call an activist. She cares about everyone ...more
Sep 09, 2012 Erica rated it really liked it
Reggie is like a lot of eighth graders; he knows what he should do, but he reminds us how hard it can be to stand up for what is right. The audience is introduced to Reggie toward the beginning of eighth grade, but it is clear from the beginning that something happened that damaged his image. When the principal decides to hold an election for class president, Reggie initially tries to remain invisible. Although he is frustrated that his classmates don’t do more to uphold the school motto and pos ...more
A realistic slice of life set in a middle school (UK Yr 7-9) roughly and involving a student president election which is obviously a far bigger deal in the US than over here in the UK. I loved the fact that Clarke, the school, had a high achieving and diverse student body with mostly black characters featured. Reggie Knight is having a pretty bad time in 8th grade after a throwing-up-over-the headteacher's-shoes-at-assembly incident that no one will let him forget. The last thing he needs is to ...more
Lydia Presley
I'm somewhat intimidated by this book. It was that good. Seriously, it was that good. Don't let the cover fool you, this book packs a big punch.

Reggie (Pukey) McKnight struggles with his 8th grade image. After a disastrous beginning in the 8th grade he begins to search for a way to change, to be someone other than "Pukey", a nickname bestowed upon him by the class bully. Sounds good, right? But then the story really digs deep.

Reggie learns about the homeless, about faith, about service and frien
Jennifer Wardrip
Mar 21, 2010 Jennifer Wardrip rated it really liked it
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for

Reggie would like nothing more than to spend all of his time with his best friend, Joe C., working on Night Man, their super-hero comic. The story ideas are all Reggie's and the artwork is Joe's. They are sure it's going to be spectacular.

Something always seems to interfere with Reggie's plans. He somehow gets roped into acting as campaign manager for one of the most annoying girls at school. Vicky has him passing out flyers and put
Sep 29, 2012 Tracy rated it it was amazing
Another one that was heavy on the religion, but it just works out. Maybe I'm a closet Christian? "All I want is some positivitiy for Heaven's sake." See???

I actually liked this more than Lost Songs by Cooney though it wasn't as complex with Cooney's multiple character perspective. I want to nominate this one for SSYRA too.

Main character is at an alternative/progressive learning school in NY but still suffers from typical middle school problems. Reggie's called "Pukey" by most classmates since an
Hyun Young Jeong
Aug 26, 2015 Hyun Young Jeong rated it really liked it
Shelves: summer-reading
The book ‘8th Grade Super Zero’, which is a realistic fiction book, takes place in a school named Clarke Junior School. The Main character is a boy called Reggie. In the beginning of the year, he is called ‘Pukey’. Fortunately, his friend from kindergarten, Ruthie, always defends him. Also, Joe C, his collaborator on his superhero series ‘Night Man’ defends him. During the election time, a boy called Justin uses his popularity for the president, and his opponent, Vicky, is seeking the presidency ...more
Steph Su
Jul 07, 2010 Steph Su rated it liked it
Shelves: debs10, poc
EIGHTH-GRADE SUPERZERO combines quality elements of literature into an incredible feel-good read. The varied cast of characters will win you over despite an oftentimes slow plot.

Reggie and his friends are eighth graders, but readers of all ages can easily relate to their interactions and the issues they face. Reggie is a sympathetic self-labeled underdog who never feels secondary to us: he is bullied, but he also has an inner strength that we can recognize even if he cannot yet. Reggie’s best fr
Apr 28, 2010 Jennifer rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who lived through 8th grade!
Recommended to Jennifer by: Cheryl Klein
Shelves: read-2010
Imagine if you began the academic year by throwing up in front of the whole school when you were supposed to be reciting the school pledge. This is how Reggie McKnight begins his 8th grade year and needless to say, he is greeted with cries of "Pukey" wherever he goes in Clarke Junior School ( a NYC public school that seems to house K-8 students). The son of Jamaican immigrants, Reggie is feeling stress from all corners. His dad was recently laid off, his mom is working long hours, and his older ...more
May 11, 2014 Beverly rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 11-14
Recommended to Beverly by: Indie Next List/
Poor Reggie is struggling to have a positive middle school experience. He sincerely wants to do well, make friends and make a difference in his school, but his humiliating first day disaster continues to haunt him and make him a victim of constant teasing. Reggie, and his buddies, are likable, authentic and funny. Their very culturally diverse NYC middle school makes a great setting for a coming-of-age story. Through his church youth group, Reggie volunteers at a neighborhood homeless shelter an ...more
Aug 07, 2011 Marlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya, childrens-lit
What a delightful YA read, exposing typical middle-school struggles and fears, while inspiring readers to follow Reggie McNight (aka Pukey) in taking the higher road. Reggie deals with popularity and character issues throughout, as he attempts to stay under the radar of notoriety and overcome his alias, well earned during a presentation to the Clarke school body on the first day of school. Readers will love, laugh, and relate to real-life issues and colorful characters, such as Joe C’s worthless ...more
May 07, 2013 Dejah rated it liked it
I chose this book a long time ago, when I was about 9 or 10 years old because I thought it would give me some insight on what life in 8th grade was like.I decided to give it a re-read sice I didn't find it interesting when I read it a few years back. Eighth-Grade Superzero is about Reginald "Reggie" McKnight and his adventure through the glorious world of 8th Grade. Nicknamed "Pukey" by a former friend, Reggie doesn't exactly have the best reputation at school--but he doesn't let that stop him f ...more
Mar 20, 2010 Jenny rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading 8th Grade Superzero. I didn’t expect it to have such a positive message and for a middle grade novel it really addressed a lot of issues that are many times overlooked.

Initially I wasn’t a big Reggie fan. There was nothing particularly special about him and he seemed content with the way things were in his life. But after visiting the Olive Branch be becomes less naïve and more aware of the things happening in his community. Instead of sitting around he starts taking an
Sandra Stiles
Apr 20, 2010 Sandra Stiles rated it it was amazing
Shelves: middle-grades
As a middle school teacher I believe "8th Grade Superzero" is a book all middle school students should read. It really fits in with our population. We are an IB school and we have social service days every year as a requirement of our curriculum. Many of our students don't see how they fit in with this or why it is necessary. I think this book is a good demonstration of the whys and hows.

Reggie McKnight's claim to fame came the day he puked all over the principal's shoes while on stage. He tries
May 13, 2010 Xemilyx rated it liked it
Shelves: for-the-kids
The force driving the plot is Reggie McKnight's campaign for president at a progressive school in New York city. To win, he has to overcome the mental image everyone has of him throwing up on stage on the first day of school.

However, Reggie doesn't declare his campaign until page 178 of 324.

That's because the author also wanted to cover Reggie's "big brother" relationship with a troubled kindergarten kid, his community service project at a homeless shelter, his worries about his dad's unemployme
Mar 21, 2011 Julie rated it really liked it
Recommended to Julie by: Jenny and Alex
Reggie McKnight’s eighth-grade year started off badly with a public puking incident. Ever since, he has attempted to stay under the radar at his NYC school that emphasizes leadership and public service. Since most of the students – and the administration – seem to pay only lip service to these issues, Reggie is able to do so at first. When he gets involved with a nearby homeless shelter through his church youth group, however, his experiences there force Reggie to see beyond his troubles (his f ...more
Alyssa Schneyman
I truly enjoyed reading 8th Grade Superzero. I didn’t expect for it to have such a positive message. I also enjoyed that it really addressed a lot of issues that are many times overlooked.

At first, I wasn’t a big Reggie fan. There was nothing very special about him and he seemed to be happy with how things were. But after visiting the Olive Branch (a homeless shelter) he becomes less naïve and more aware of what is happening in his community. Instead of sitting around and just accepting how thin
Harry Lazerwitz
I am enjoying this book because there are comparisons I can make to the main character Reggie. One comparison is that sometimes I feel that schools don't listen to the students opinions. Another comparison I can make with Reggie is that I wonder why some people are in a terrible situation and others are in a great situation because of the family that they are in. I think everyone should get equal opportunities and equal education. Another reason I like this book is that it uses realistic views o ...more
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