I've been a follower of Micahel Buckley's blog I Don't Have Time for This Blog What I'm Doing When I Should be Writing at http://michaelbuckleywrites.com/ for sometime and have even read a few of the books in his The Fairy-Tale Detectives series. I like his writing style and wanted to learn more about this particular series.
Jackson is the main character, he is one of the "cool kids." A star of the football team, revered by all of his friends and well a bully to everyone else. That is until Jackson ends up getting braces and becomes ostracized from his old gang. Jackson isn't used to being a social outcast or misfit, even the "nerd herd" is starting to look interesting to him. So, Jackson sets out to find out why things have changed so dramatically. He takes to following around his previous friends and finds that they aren't as cool as he thought they were, and that everyone has some quirk that makes them different. Jackson also snoops on the nerds of the school realizing that he misses having a tight-knit group of friends and wants to see if he can find a way in. It's on one of these reconnaissance missions that Jackson unknowingly falls into the middle of the NERDS headquarters and discovers that the team is actually a secret organization that uses their weaknesses as strengths to "monitor the globe for danger and fight for the security of the world." Jackson becomes their newest recruit but things wont be easy, he's made a lot of enemies in this group of kids and finding a way to mend things proves tougher then he thought. Plus there is an evil doctor set on changing the map of the world by moving pieces around like a jigsaw puzzle.
My Thoughts: I found NERDS to be highly entertaining. Maybe because I just get boyish humor having seen my fair share of Nickelodeon shows. I liked the various code names and skills that each child receives after their nerdy qualities were "upsized." There was "Gluestick" (very sticky skin from eating to much glue), "Wheezer" (who uses an inhaler to fly), "Flinch" (with super strength and speed) and "Pufferfish" (a human lie detector that can determine danger and deceit). I like how Buckley didn't make things easy for Jackson to be excepted into the group. He really had to work at righting his wrongs. I also found the "baddies" of the story entertaining, Dr. Jigsaw and Hyena (the professional freelance assassin wannabe who is a kid herself). Having the chapters alternate between what was happening among the NERDS and the Lair of Dr. Jigsaw, until the two sides collided, kept the action going at a nice pace. Overall, would make a great read for an eight to twelve year old who likes spy stories with plenty of action.
My review copy was from the library.