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  • DWEEB: Burgers, Beasts, and Brainwashed Bullies
  • Karen Coats
Starmer, Aaron. DWEEB: Burgers, Beasts, and Brainwashed Bullies. Delacorte, 2009 228p. Library ed. ISBN 978-0-385-90643-2 $18.99 Trade ed. ISBN 978-0-385-73705-0 $15.99 R Gr. 4-7

A week before the Idaho tests, five eighth-grade nerds (whose initials combine to spell "DWEEB") with distinct skill sets find themselves assembled in Vice Principal Snodgrass' office, facing ludicrous charges that they have stolen two thousand dollars worth of bake-sale money. They've been framed so that Snodgrass can make them an offer they can't refuse: in exchange for not being turned over to the police, they will be confined to a secret room under the school to study extra hard for the tests so that they can get perfect scores and Snodgrass can get promoted to superintendent. At least that's what they think is going on—the actual plot is far more nefarious, involving stolen DNA that can be combined and administered orally through the water, producing ideal students who demonstrate traits of each [End Page 219] of the five in perfect measure. Okay, so the science is beyond silly, but the themes will all resonate; from the anxiety over high-stakes testing to the unfairness of detention-loving vice principals to the hotness of school nurses, this whacks all of the eighth-grade nerd-boy moles. There's even a barking principal, who was the first experiment with the transfer of DNA through the water. For kids reared on Captain Underpants, this will seem comfortably familiar yet much more grownup; the humor is situational rather than slapstick and the plot involves a complex Mission Impossible–style adventure sequence that plays to each boy's unique talents. Give this to nerds and non-nerds who are just beginning to be a little bit cynical about their schooling experience.



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pp. 219-220
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