The smallest boy in sixth grade is sick and tired of feeling puny and weak. Zach fantasizes about being a superhero and works out with his best friend, Dunk; he despairs of ever having muscles, and asks Nikki Lee, a girl even smaller than he is, to teach him tae kwan do. To Dunk's chagrin, Zach's interest in Nikki goes beyond martial arts--and he can't stop making a fool of himself every time he sees her. Shalant (Shalom, Geneva Peace, 1992, not reviewed, etc.) is gaining a reputation for understanding the ways preteens think, act, and talk. Zach's daily disasters never descend into slapstick, but stay realistic. The characters are just as believable; no one is too good or too bad--the other students are just struggling along and the adults simply do their best. The story is long and meanders, but is always entertaining; suburban middle-schoolers will recognize themselves in these pages.