"Entering the Playground..."
N.E.R.D.S: National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society by Michael Buckley.
There's a spy agency underneath Nathan Hale Elementary School. Its agents are five misfits, the kind of ultra-geeks that get bullied every day. They're nerds. And that's their cover for being N.E.R.D.S. (members of the National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society). They have been doing pretty well...until former bully Jackson Jones accidentally discovers their headquarters, and the director invites him to join the team. It goes downhill from there.
Examples of Tropes Founds in N.E.R.D.S Are:
- A Day in the Limelight: Each book is told through a different team member"s point of view and expands on their home life.
- Adults Are Useless: The reason the team was created in the first place. Kids are far more adaptable to new ideas and technology than adults who have become set in their ways.
- Alternate Universe: In the Cheerleaders of Doom a girl builds a device that let's her travel to other universe. She goes on a robbery spree through the other universes to pay for radical plastic surgery. At the climax of the book, Matilda teams up with dozens of alternate versions of herself to battle the book's main villain.
- Big Ol' Unibrow: Matilda Choi, A.K.A. Wheezer has one.
- Braces of Orthodontic Overkill: Jackson Jones gets a pair of these, which radically changes his life and leads to him being recruited into the N.E.R.D.S. The braces are then enhanced into Doctor Octopus arms that can take just about any shape Jackson can think of.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: The central plot of the villain virus. Rogue nanobots infect people's brains, causing them to become super villains.
- Brilliant but Lazy: Despite his jockish demeanor, Jackson has proven time and again to be just as smart as his teammates and a natural born spy. But has admitted that he prefers to coast on his looks and charm rather than put in the effort.
- Disguised in Drag: The school lunch lady, who pilots the team's jet, is actually a guy dressed in drag.
- The Film of the Book: An animated movie is set to be developed by Elton John's Rocket Pictures. The script will be written by the author, Michael Buckley himself.
- Informed Flaw: Each of the NERDS has a specific nerdy trait that basically defines them as a character. They are all very pronounced in the first book, but as the series goes on, they all (with the exception of Jackson's braces and Flinch's hyperactivity) become this trope. Matilda is never shown suffering from her asthma; Duncan eats paste a total of maybe two times throughout the series. Ruby is the most egregious example, however. In the first book, it's made clear that she is allergic to just about EVERYTHING, up to and including abstract concepts. But by the time book five comes around, she rarely displays any symptoms and is in fact revealed to have a pet dog, which is one of the most common allergies out there.
- It also applies to Matilda's estranged parents. We are told that they are constantly fighting, but we never see them fight.
- Informed Judaism: Ruby
- Motor Mouth: Flinch, to the point where half of his dialogue is written out as gibberish.
- Never Say "Die": Averted. It's made very clear throughout the books that lives are really at stake with these cases. In fact, many people are killed throughout, both for drama and Black Comedy. And the books are intended for around a fifth-grade reading level. It's later played straight when Duncan defeats the Nesbitts.
- Paste Eater: Duncan Dewey: His enhancement allows him to make paste with his own body, so he can stick to any surface.
- Plot Allergy: Ruby is allergic to just about everything. Her special enhancement allows her to use her allergies almost as form of precognition.
- Slapstick Knows no Gender: It's not stated outright. But in an early chapter of the first book it's heavily implied that Matilda Choi suffered an extreme wedgie at the hands of future team mate Jackson Jones.
- Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: The main premise of the books.