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

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Title:  The Summer I Became a Nerd
Author:  Leah Rae Miller
Format: Papberback and eBook
Publisher:  Entangled Publishing, LLC
Imprint:  Entangled Teen
Pages:  352
ISBN:  978-1620612385
Source:  Publisher via NetGalley
Genre:  YA  / Teen
Stars:  4
Purchase Now:  Paperback §  eBook

About the Book: 

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.

Book Review: 

Maddie is adorable, if suffering from an acute case of teen angst and popularity pressure. Logan is a smart, cute boy: far less concerned with what others think of him and immersed in helping his family manage the struggling comic book shop they own in town. When the two discover each other, their conversations are clever and feel real- with moments and visual imagery that has moments of laugh out loud funny.

Maddie manages to hit the perfect note of geeky fangirl more than once, any reader can attest to finishing a book in a series only to realize they have to wait for months to get the next – it’s exciting and frustrating. And her excitement about the Comic con event and VIP pass, or the costuming for the LARPing was spot on. Less realistic in feel was her transformation from butt of the joke to high on the ‘popularity pyramid’ with all of her associated angst about it. While I get that teens are often very self-centered and only see situations in terms or their effect to themselves, she had long periods where there was no consideration or concern for anyone else. And the lying – not only to her parents to spend time with Logan – but to not even share with her best friend and to avoid her at all costs was extreme. Real friends would have understood / accepted the ‘nerdy’ bits, chances are they have things they haven’t shared as well.

Secondary characters are well conceived, even those appearing rarely have moments to shine and bring their personalities forward. Particularly effective is Dan’s lack of control of his smart and often less than PG-13 mouth, and Logan’s mother and her blatant blackmail of the Game Master. In fact, the parents are quite active in the story and shown as real people with relationships that are truly well written and defined.

Logan is far less concerned about the popularity ‘backlash’, a soccer player who already was suspended for a t-shirt graphic that was deemed more pornographic than art, he has a bit of notoriety. Yet Logan manages to maintain his own sense of self, with his nerdy pursuits much more comfortably.  Especially touching is his relationship with his little sisters and parents, even taking one sister on the date with Maddie.

This book does lag a bit in the early stages, but about halfway through it starts to really pick up, both in action and in personal growth for Maddie, as she starts to learn that it is always easier to be yourself, and she starts to realize the consequences of her lies and hiding on those around her. Culminating in two action packed scenes, Maddie realizes that compromising who she is and what she enjoys hurts no one but her. This was a fun book that was loaded with information, humor and characters to enjoy: the perfect summer read.

I received a copy of the book from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

About the Author:

Mother, wife, and YA author living on a windy hill in Natchitoches, Louisiana. I love fuzzy socks, comic books, cherry coke, and brand new office supplies.

Website  §  @LeahR_Miller


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