Thursday, May 23, 2013

Geeks, Girls, and Me

You’ve probably heard of GEEKS, GIRLS, AND SECRET IDENTITIES by the great Mike Jung. In case you haven't, the story is about Vincent Wu (he's one of the so called geeks) who has a crush on Polly Wincot Lee (she's the girl, obviously). Vincent, along with a couple of his friends, is a major fan of the local superhero, Captain Stupendous. And that is where the secret identities come in. This isn’t your average superhero story. Yes there’s action. And Mayhem. And life threatening robots. And warring fan clubs. But you will be surprised! So is Vincent. This action packed middle-grade superhero story has great twists, meaningful moments, and just plain fun.

You know what else there is? Me!

Illustrated by Mike Maihack!

Ha! No, I have never actually ever lived in a city where I get text messages so I can run out and watch the local superhero fight the evil villain. It would be pretty exciting though. I know I’d get sick if I was flown through the air at warp speed while being rescued, and probably even while being secretly transported in a garden shed.

So where am I? Page 33, that’s where. And a few other pages later on. You see, Mike used my name in his book! How cool is that? (Yes, I know! It’s extremely cool!) Who am I? Mrs. Burnell, the nice smelling teacher who whips out her freakishly emotionless robot voice to get the kids in class under control when they get riled up.

No, of course, that's not really me. That's the magic of Mike's magnificent writing. What I have done is tuck the essence Mrs. Burnell's voice away in my brain for those times when I need kids to settle down. I have also bought some perfume. You see, Mike Jung may be able to tell the future. I started doing some subbing at school not long after GEEKS, GIRLS, AND SECRET IDENTITIES came out. Yes, Mike is one multi-talented man. He writes books... he plays the ukulele... he tells the future!

Why did Mike choose my last name to use in his book? I don’t know. Back in the old days before Mike was too famous and before I was so busy that I run around with garlic, beekeeping equipment, an extra change of clothes, my notebooks, my computer, a full on kitchen, and soccer balls in my truck just so I can keep up with life at any given moment, we used to play around on Twitter. Mike was the ruler of #mikesempire. He granted me a super powered sleigh with a hot chocolate maker and made me the roller skating queen. It was a glorious time in the empire when I spent my days rolling through the streets as fast as I could, and my nights sipping divine hot drinks.

So yeah, Mike knows my name. I’m not sure that it’s really an unusual last name, but I’ve certainly never read it in a book before. Or really heard it much of anywhere besides in my family until Burnell Taylor sang on American Idol. (Didn’t ever hear it as a first name until then either. I like it!)

And now, whenever I’m in the library and have a middle grade reader’s ear, I tell them about Mike’s book. (Okay, yes, I have done this to teens and adults too.)  I’d do this whether Mike had used my name for a character or not. But it’s fun to show them page 33 too. Yes, they think it’s stupendous.

GEEKS, GIRLS, AND SECRET IDENTITIES is published by ArthurA. Levine books. Read it! Or give it to a young reader. It's fast pace and humor is sure to appeal. Want to know more? You can read tons of great reviews about the book on Goodreads.

You can find Mike Jung on his little bloggy wog:


  1. Thanks Heather! I still kinda wonder if I should have named the character "Mrs. Eyeball Brunell"... ;)

  2. That name will always be dear to my heart. I think the teacher may have had to be a bit more evil though. Perhaps that is my, I mean, her alternate secret identity! *rubs hands together and laughs manically*

  3. Now that is cool, not least because Mike Jung's a cool character, errr- guy.

    Some time back I subbed a PB called Heather's Weather and got a personal response from an editor who told me she loved the name. it was hers. You reminded me of it.

  4. Very cool indeed! And the book sounds fantastic :).

  5. I didn't realize that was you in the book. How fun! :-)

  6. Mike's writing definitely adds fun to life. I mean, just seeing his facebook posts run through my feed makes me smile.

    And Heather's Weather, huh Mirka Breen? I'd like to see that as a book! Can't tell you how many times I got asked about the weather as a kid! Also got called Heather Feather a lot. Hated it. Now I know someone named Feather and actually think it's cute. How our perspectives change!