Jack Johnson has always been obsessed with superheroes. He even wants to be a cartoonist when he grows up. But Jack isn't super strong, brave, or competitive. He is constantly outdone by the attention-seeking Wilson Schlamme, who is always trying to steal the attention of Mia Montez, Jack's crush.
One day, Jack finds a book called Flying Lessons in an old, abandoned house. The book is able to teach people to fly. Jack sees this as an opportunity to finally one-up Wilson.
Jack quickly learns to fly, but Wilson manages to steal the book and also learns how to fly.
As more people find out about their power to fly, the two boys become progressively more famous. Eventually, Jack's fame begins to ruin his life. He is constantly hounded by the press and military scientists.
Eventually, Jack is scheduled to compete against Wilson in a race on national television. When the race begins, however, Jack doesn't take off. He seemingly can't fly!
Jack's life goes back to normal, and Wilson becomes so famous and busy that he has to leave the school he attended. Jack gets to spend more time with Mia. But Jack kept a secret from everyone: he can still fly. Jack explains that he pretended to lose his power so he could get his old life back. Jack sacrificed money and intense fame for happiness.
Throughout most of the story, Jack has low self-esteem. He views his own nose as too big and his hair as too curly. Even though Jack describes himself as generally noncompetitive, he feels like he needs to compete with Wilson so he won't look like a "loser" in front of Mia. Jack likes Mia and goes out of his way to be nice to her.
The story's conclusion implies that Jack learns a lesson about comparing himself to others.
Jack has dark, very curly hair. Jack describes his own nose as being too big.