Oh Crap, Did I Just Say "Love"?

The Summer I Became a Nerd - Leah Rae Miller

This was a funny cute little story about burying your personality out of fear that someone will judge you. Maddie loves comics and things that the world of middle school would label as 'dorky'. And after a particularly embarrassing moment she decides she can no longer share that side of her with the world, and so she hides everything about her that would make her stand out and strives to do nothing but fit in.

 

That is until the end of her Junior year when circumstances toss her into Logan. Fun times ensue.

 

What I liked:
Logan was a doll. Maybe it's my love for sexy nerd men, but he was definitely a plus. LARPing! I mean, this is the real reason I picked up this book. I am a nerd girl, I've always wanted to LARP. Nerdcon sounds AWESOME! And a romance that centers around this was unique and fun!

 

The book was funny, chock full of one liners and cute flirting.

 

"Can I get your real phone number?" a girl named Capri asks, and I frown at the radio. That was a little forward. And who names their kid after a pair of pants? Might as well just call her "Stirrup" or "Bootcut."

 

The end was awesome! I felt like (even if I had a hard time with Maddie) she really worked hard to try to redeem herself in the end. I was proud of her.

 

What I didn't like:
In the beginning you read this story of Maddie's big embarrassment and I kept waiting for it to be addressed. It wasn't. She never explained to anyone why she suddenly changed back then, and I kept waiting for Dan or Logan to say they remembered the day and how cool they thought she was... but it was just dropped. I suppose it was the launchpad of the book, but I just wanted more.

 

How about how Maddie was so consumed with being cool and popular, and she was so embarrassed about comics, but she was comfortable doing this:  "...the elaborate greeting we made up back in ninth grade. It starts with two high fives, then goes into two shoe kicks, one hand heart, a hug, and finishes with a big kiss on the cheek."  I mean, a secret handshake?!  And I'm proud of being a nerd! (I'm not saying there is anything wrong with a secret handshake. If you have one, SWEET! I'm saying that a girl who is so concerned with other people's opinions wouldn't have a choreographed handshake with a friend, at least not one that she does in public. I mean, it was practically the Monica and Ross New Years dance routine!)

 

And lastly, probably my biggest problem, our main character Maddie is incredibly self-centered. But even worse than that! She completely discredits and underestimates absolutely every single person she knows. I knew what the premise of the book was, but I anticipated that somebody would know what happened to her and the choice she'd made but she didn't tell anyone. She assumed that everyone she knew would not understand what she was going through, and beyond that she thought that people who said they loved her would ditch her if they knew she had a passion for comic books. Even her own best friend, and to a certain degree her own family in a different way. I couldn't stomach it. Not only was she hiding from herself, her actions were insulting to her friend and family.

 

I didn't hate Maddie though. And like I said, I thought she really worked hard to redeem herself in the end, so that's why it's getting a 3.5.