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Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities Hardcover – October 1, 2012

5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 4-6-Vincent Wu knows everything there is to know about Copperplate City's most beloved superhero, Captain Stupendous. He talks about him at dinner. He does reports on him at school. He is even a founding member of the Captain Stupendous Fan Club. When the hero takes a bad hit rescuing Vincent's not-so-secret crush, Polly Winnicott-Lee, he returns slightly different. He no longer has the skills he once had, and he is nearly pulverized in a rematch with the giant automaton he's bested before. In a last-ditch effort to save Vincent from being crushed, and to escape the battle, Stupendous takes off with the boy in his grasp. There is a revelatory moment when Stupendous unveils his secret identity: Polly. During the last battle Stupendous died and passed his abilities to her. It is now up to Vincent to train her and convince her that what he thinks of as the best gift ever is worth keeping. Jung has created an interesting city with a diverse population, reliant on and in love with superheroes (it has four Captain Stupendous fan clubs). The characters experience a good bit of growth, and kids will get a kick out of a teenage girl transforming into a muscle-bound man when performing herculean feats. The plot, funny and exciting, follows a lot of generic superhero themes. There are occasional mild swear words, which are jarring in a text so otherwise perfectly suited to this audience. For those trying to find some accessible adventure stories with a hint of romance, this is a good additional purchase.-Devin Burritt, Wells Public Library, MEα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

For Vincent Wu, there is nothing as important in the world as Captain Stupendous, Copperplate City’s own real-life superhero. As president of the best (albeit three-member) Captain Stupendous fan club, his knowledge is unsurpassed. Indeed, the only thing to rival his superhero obsession is his interest in one Polly Winnicott-Lee, the best girl in school, in his eyes. So Vincent is understandably perplexed when Captain Stupendous and Polly turn out to be one and the same. But there’s no time to figure it out. Professor Mayhem has kidnapped Vincent’s mother and taken her to his lair beneath stinky Lake Higgleman. Can Vincent, Polly, and friends save the day? Amid the battles with giant alloy robots and alien visitations, Jung explores some interesting curiosities—what would middle school be like in a world where superheroes existed?—and offers some honest and resonant ideas on the matter. With snappy and authentic dialogue, layered plotting, full-on science, and sweet preteen romance, Jung’s boisterous debut is a winner. Here’s hoping we haven’t seen the last of this bunch. Grades 4-7. --Thom Barthelmess

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 790L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (October 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545335485
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545335485
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,148,460 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
My son is not a reader, so when I handed him a copy of GEEKS, GIRLS and SECRET IDENTITIES, my hopes weren't very high despite the awesome cover. To my shock and awe, he read it every night and brought it to school for his individual reading. When he finished it the other night, he told me that it was the best book he'd read in forever and that he really wanted to BE the main character. This morning, he told me how sad he was that the book was over, and that he might have to start it again. High praise from a reluctant reader, and a book that has really stuck with him! Mr. Jung definitely has a hit on his hands.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Talk about your perfect boy book. Author Mike Jung gets the boy voice down. Even his use of ALL CAPS! when the characters need to shout is so perfectly kid-like. I loved that, and if I had a son, I would give him this book right away....except that the ARC only has sketches, but it really makes the reader want to buy the book (which I have) because all those sketches look like they will turn into some amazing artwork.

This book is about a world where everything is the same as ours except that superheroes and supervillains are a natural part of everyday life. Personally, books that do that seamless integration of worlds are often my favorite. Now, I am not into huge robots or fight scenes, because, like, I am a grown woman, but I bet that any 2nd grader up to middle grade kid who enjoys adventurous superhero tales would love this book. Jung does some very interesting things, adding in the complexities of family relationships, friendships, first crushes, etc., that really add more depth to your typical superhero story. The main character, Vincent, is your average kid trying to find his way in the confusing world of growing-up, so real-seeming that he practically jumps off the page.

And yes, there is a surprise that I won't reveal but it gives a whole new flavor to the concept of superhero, making this a fresh take on an old, favorite genre.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I recently saw Mike Jung speak at my local SCBWI conference and found him to be sincere, interesting, funny and friendly. So I decided to grab a copy of his first book - Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities. I planned to read it myself first, to check it out, and then read it to our 6 yr. old daughter if it turned out to be appropriate. Great news - it was!!

Awesome action, gigantic robots, a superb super hero, white-knuckle tense fight scenes, strong friendships, kids demonstrating determination, witty dialogue, AND at the end you even get...

Nahhhh, I won't spoil that!

It's a fun, thoroughly enjoyable read, suitable for advanced younger readers or any middle grade kid. The only thing to watch out for is a handful of uses of "pissed off" or some derivation of that. The phrase is used within context, wasn't bothersome and it's not overly distracting. But I'll be skipping it when I read the book with our 6y/o little girl.

I came away with the thought that Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities would be enjoyed by both girls and boys. That's a very positive thing for families. Yes, the "main" main characters are Vincent and his two best pals (3 boys). But the book's most stupendous character is a feisty, rock-star type girl who I think young ladies will love. I'm certain our 6 yr. old is going to dig Polly!

**A quick aside - if you do get this book for a young reader, try to not let them read the Amazon description. There's a bit of a spoiler in there since it gives away Captain Stupendous's secret identity. If kids don't find that out until they read the book, it becomes a much more fun reveal!**

Back to the review. There was one very specific thing I REALLY liked that stuck out to me as I read GG&SI.
Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
I read this with my boys and loved it for a million reasons, but I thought I'd let the real fans speak for themselves...

The 11 year old: "I liked it because the characters felt like real people--good books are usually like that. It was very interesting how every thing was connected--the super heroes, the people and the aliens."

The 9 year old: "I really like the illustrations because I want to be a cartoonist and the story was great because it was so funny."

The 7 year old: "I like that the author put in so much detail. My favorite character was Bobby because he was funny and cool to kids."

The 42 year old: "I loved Polly and I want to tell you why, but I don't want to give any spoilers. Let's just say she was fabulous in a variety of ways. But I also loved Vincent and his friends and of course, Bobby who's an adult who listens and respects kids. YAY! This was a fabulous and fun read with deceptive depth--so much to be found within the pages. I had a bast reading it with my boys and can't wait for Jung's next book."
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Format: Hardcover
We begin the book at ground level, where the members of fan clubs and the public in general rush outside to watch whenever their hero, Captain Stupendous, battles a villain in the skies overhead or even in the streets out front. As our boy Vincent tells us, "So when a giant robot came to town and picked a fight right outside Spud's Pizza, you can guess how psyched I was."

But something goes wrong, and Captain Stupendous goes silent. Then when he does show up, he doesn't fight the way he normally does. Vincent and his buddies Max and George wind up being the only ones to find out the truth: their hero has been replaced by someone's who's not only inept, but who really doesn't want the job. It's up to Captain Stupendous experts Vincent, Max, and George to train the new hero and come up with strategies for defeating the new super villain in town.

Of course, I'm avoiding some intriguing spoilers having to do with Vincent's friends and family.

The best thing about this book is the awesome geekdom of Vincent and his buddies, who throw themselves into their new challenge with verve and reckless abandon. Frequent moments of humor give the book a dimensionality that would be lacking if it were just straight suspense.

Villainous activities in the book range from mild taunting by the irritatingly studly members of another fan club to the evil machinations of the super villain--who ends up being something of a geek himself, along the evil inventor line.

Jung is a talented writer whose storytelling never falters. Geeks, Girls, and Secret Identities thoroughly holds its own as a suspenseful secret identity book for middle grade readers. Excellent boy appeal!

First line: "There are four Captain Stupendous fan clubs in Copperplate City, but ours is the only one that doesn't suck."
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