Reggie McKnight wants to be like Night Man, the super hero in the comics he writes, but to the whole school he is Pukey after an ‘embarrassing’ incident on stage at a school assembly. He’s decide to ride the rest of 8th grade under the radar and hope things eventually blow over, but fate has other plans. He starts becoming more involved in his community by participating in the big Buddy program and spending most his afternoons helping out at a local shelter. He decides to take his community involvement to the halls of his school as campaign manager for a overachieving egomaniac named Vicki, but when Vicki ignores all his advice Reggie strikes out as his own candidate and makes himself the center of attention.
This book does a really good job of taking a lot of issues and seamlessly blending them into the overall story. Reggie struggles with issues of identity, what it means to be ‘authentically black’, the pressures and demands of faith, responsibility for a community, and budding romance. All of these feel important to the story and occur in a natural way. Also, there are a good amount of characters and Rhuday-Perkovich does a wonderful job of giving each one a voice. This is a novel full of wit and charm with a really great message. It’s a perfect read for younger readers looking for something light and funny.