Teen Book Review

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

Rating 4

Reviewed by Maria, WingHaven TAB

Maddie is a comic book aficionado and all-around geek. That is, she was, until her junior high school costume contest. After dressing up as her favorite comic-book character, she was subjected to ill-spirited teasing and humiliation. Ever since, she has hidden her interests in public and molded herself in every way to the popular girl stereotype. She's a cheerleader, dates the quarterback, and fakes enthusiasm for all the latest trends including the music of a female singer reminiscent of Taylor Swift. All the while, she reads digital issues of comic books behind closed doors and secretly pines to visit The Phoenix, her small town's locally owned comic book store. As the story begins, Maddie is looking forward to a summer of sci-fi marathons and comic lore analysis with her brother who’ll be back visiting from college. However, a delay in the shipment of the final issue of her favorite series leads her to desperation. Carefully disguised, she visits The Phoenix. Her clever plan is foiled by Logan, the guy manning the counter and her classmate whom she's secretly fancied for years. He drags her into a richer level of geek culture rife with LARPing and conventions. Maddie loves every minute of it but it soon conflicts with her alternate popular personality. This contention between her facade and true interests is the main conflict of the book, obviously interspersed with romantic tension, and plays out over the course of the summer.
Overall, the book was enjoyable. The story wasn't extremely original but it was written well. The descriptions were vivid, allowing images of people and places to be conjured effortlessly. However, the characters could stand to have been fleshed out a little more, in my opinion. Maddie was a bit inconsistent throughout the book and several other characters seemed to conform to stereotypes even more than she did. Nevertheless, the book was  a light, humorous, and entertaining read. I would recommend it to fans of chick-lit who have a geek streak.

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