Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Review: The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller


Review: The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
Goodreads
Release date: May 7th, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Rating: Cute, summer-y nerd fun! Perfect for if you need a dose of adorable in your life, and if you yourself are a closet (or not-so-closet) nerd.

The Summer I Became a Nerd

On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl's body isn’t just unknown, it's anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.

Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.



The cover: I actually am slightly disappointed with this cover. I want it to be nerdier, like maybe showing a girl half in cosplay, half in a cheerleading uniform, or something? I don't know, this is why they don't ask me to design covers. Also, her legs are Barbie-levels of shiny.

The story: I desperately needed something light and funny, and this book definitely delivered. I giggled and swooned my way through this whole book, even if it's not the most entirely realistic thing on earth Aren't nerds cool, now? I mean, I didn't grow up in a football-centric, small Southern town (far from it), but I did think Maddie's paranoia about people finding out she loved comic books and the like was a little exaggerated. I liked that it was rooted in one traumatic, mortifying instance--it made it more realistic-- but still.



Is most of it much ado about nothing? Sure. Could the whole cetral conflict of the book have been solved by one good honest conversation somewhere around page twenty-five? Sure. BUT WHO CARES? There's cuteness afoot. And Maddie learns all her lessons, and it's a joy to behold.

But obviously, that's not the best part of this book. What I loved about this book is that it went somewhere few YA books ever go. This book, to bastardize John Green, tapped into YA's most underutilized romantic resource: the nerdboy.



Since I really do think Seth Cohen is my soul mate, suffice it to say I am a BIG FAN of the nerdboy. And Logan Scott is the cutest, sweetest, sexiest nerdboy that I ever did see. He's so not the typical YA love interest. He smiles unabashedly. He blushes all the way to his ears. He's enthusiastic, a crap dancer, and an afficionado of all things geek. AND I HEART HIM. He's not as snarky as Seth, but he's really cutely endearing. I spent so much of this book going, "Kiss, damn it, kiss the nerd boy, Maddie, just KISS HIM, damn it", because obviously Logan is the best and I want him for my own.

There was a bit of a Seth and Summer storyline (popular girl ashamed of the nerdboy she loves), but more than being ashamed of Logan, Maddie is ashamed of herself. And we've all been there, haven't we? I know I've got TONS of really nerdy obsessions I've had to hide from people so they don't think I'm a freak. And, again, while Maddie's fear of being discovered is a bit over the top, it's pretty easy to relate to (to an extent-- eventually you reach the point of the book where you're like MADDIE JUST WOMAN UP ALREADY).

DO IT. He's Seth Cohen Logan and he's totally worth it! Nerdboys are worth it.

I think the strength of this book was the characters. Maddie is a really fun and funny narrator. Logan's best friend, the brash, crude, dorky Dan, is the BEST. I wish we'd gotten to know I wish we'd gotten to know Maddie's cheerleader best friend,Terra, a bit better. Ditto Maddie's parents, though I liked the glimpses of them I got. The whole book could have used a little more depth (it clocks in at around 273 pages, which means it's well-paced, but some plot lines aren't done justice).

The book builds to an awesome and dramatic showdown that I loved. I loved submersing in the totally awesome world of LARP (Live Action Role Playing). WHY DIDN'T I KNOW ABOUT THIS AS A TEENAGER?! Basically all the teens and college students dress up as fantasy characters with really intense backstories and do all kinds of awesome things I can't even begin to describe. But it sounds fun.



Not only is the writing funny, breezy, cute, and charming, but it's peppered with nerd references (lots of Harry Potters, a few Doctor Whos, several Princess Brides, and some Star Wars, to name a few. Collect them all and you win a prize!). Maddie knew her stuff, is what I'm saying. There were also tons of comic book references, obviously, for those whose nerdtastes incline in that direction.

The book isn't perfect, of course. The humor wanes a bit in the second half, which is not as delightful as the the first, and I started to grow impatient with Maddie. But I still loved her, flaws and all, and there was LOGAN. In the end, this was a perfect summer read, which is very high praise indeed.

12 comments:

  1. I WIBBLE about this book. On the one hand you nearly undo me with Seth Cohen references. ON THE OTHER, she sounds like a protag I can really see myself disliking... HMMM.

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    1. I struggled with her a little. I really liked her, but she doesn't seem to learn very quickly. I'd say give it a go, because it's so much fun that I just kind of ignored it.

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  2. Seth Cohen!! YESSS. He was exactly how I pictured Logan, well almost exactly - I'm so glad too not be the only one that thought of him! YES!

    Great review!!

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    1. They're not exactly the same, but they're both nerdboys who I love beyond reason! :)

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  3. I loved this book so much! I totally agree that the nerdboy needs to happen more in books and teen stuff in general! I'm a huge nerdboy fan. This was wonderful review and I remember loving all the nerd references. I believe there was even a Firefly reference as well! This was a great review! Yay!

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  4. I want. I want. I WANT. See, I'm glad she wrote this so well that while it could be one of those annoying books where you go "there's no point, she just draaaaaagged it out." she made it cute that you didn't care and enjoyed it. :)

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    1. It was just cute all around. I ignored the few flaws because of how darn CUTE it all was!

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  5. Bahaha, this will henceforth be known as BARBIE LEGS. And, seriously, what about her says nerdy?

    Fluff reads are just requisite sometimes. That's when I picked up The Boyfriend App, when I really needed one, and I ate that shit up. Not that it's shit. That designation was solely for slang purposes. Anyway, the reviews of this have been mostly middling, but I might grab it when I am like I NEED ALL THE SWOON AND GIGGLES AND NARY A SERIOUS THING.

    NERDBOY ROMANCE. I AM THERE. Also, SETH COHEN.

    Nerd references. OMG. WANT IT.

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    1. Yeah, the cover's a total miss. Where's the nerd?! And YEAH. BARBIE LEGS.

      This is perfect, cute, nerdy, funny fluff. Which, like you said, is totally a good thing. I don't want to think, I just want to SWOON OVER SETH COHEN BOYS YES PLEASE INDEED.

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  6. This is on my list to read for the summer of stand alones challenge! Because, really, I am nerdy and nerds are awesome. (I think I just called myself awesome in a roundabout way). I feel like I'd love all the nerdy references and I can't wait to swoon after nerdboy! =)

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    1. Nerds are awesome! You are awesome! Yay!

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