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Review: The Summer I Became a Nerd

June 12, 2013

Title: The Summer I Became a Nerd
Author: Leah Rae Miller
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release Date: May 7, 2013
Format: Purchased eBook

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.—from Goodreads

I kicked off my Memorial Day weekend—which in my brain is the official start of summer—with this book.

(Now y’all know how long it takes me to get around to writing a review. Feel free to shame me in comments.)

I kind of chose this because it had “summer” in the title, but also, and more importantly, because it has “nerd” in the title.

I love nerds.

And the premise of this book very much reminded me of, well, me in high school. (Narcissism! Always a way to get me to read your book!) I was the closet nerd, who dressed up to go to school in my preppy attire with my perfect make-up and heels, then ran home to binge watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer on USA or whatever channel it was syndicated on in the afternoons. (The fact that I can’t remember that is really bothering me.) At the time, watching Buffy re-runs was not a cool thing to do.

Clearly I was right about that one, though.

Anyway, I loved the idea behind The Summer I Became a Nerd  before I started it and it did not disappoint. Though I found the main character, Maddie, to be a little immature in her decision making process at times, I had to remind myself that, hello, she’s in high school. She is a little immature. Hell, I’m nearly ten years removed from high school and I’m still a little immature. And in the times I was like, “Screw your friends if they don’t accept you for who you are! Let your nerd flag fly!” I had to also remind myself of how important appearances are in high school, especially in a small town.

But don’t you worry, Maddie definitely eases into her summer of nerdification.

And ya’ll.

This book has LARPing.

(LARP = Live Action Role Play.)

I became fascinated with LARPing in college, when I could see the LARPers doing their LARP thing out of the window of my work study cubicle on Friday afternoons. I’ve never gotten my lady balls together to go and actually LARP, so I was really excited when Maddie decides to go for it. And is awesome.

I totally live vicariously through characters. Don’t act like you don’t.

Aside from Maddie’s arc of learning to become brave enough to be herself, I think my favorite aspect of this book was her relationship with Logan’s—the cute boy who works at the comic book shop—mom, who was fantastic. I love when books have cool, caring, really great moms in them. A whole bunch.

Overall, The Summer I Became a Nerd is a quick, satisfying read with a sweet love story and heroine’s journey at its center and the always-important message of being comfortable enough with who you are to be that person at all times. It’s a lesson that we all need to be reminded of from time to time, and when it’s in a book as fun as this one is, then it’s just that much better.

Now I’m going to go find a LARP group that will agree to deal with me.

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