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

by - 3:38:00 PM

Title: The Summer I Became a Nerd
Author: Leah Rae Miller
Pages: 267
Genre: YA Contemporary
Release Date: 07 May 2013
From Goodreads: "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."

Thank you to Entangled Teen for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for review!

The Summer I Became a Nerd was one of the cutest books I've read lately! I had such a fun time reading this and constantly found myself laughing about how nerdy Maddie really was, and also relating to just about everything she was going through. I understood her desire to want to fit in, and hide her "true" self from everyone else because she was afraid they wouldn't accept her. I struggled with this as well in high school, especially since I went to two different schools where being geeky/nerdy was not widely accepted. I never wanted to hide who I was, but I could understand why Maddie felt she had to and tried to fit in with her popular friends.

Maddie was without a doubt my favorite character. From the very beginning, I was able to draw so many comparisons between her and myself. We both are super nerdy, we both like to read, we both take notes on what we read with purple pens, the list goes on and on! I really found myself wanting to give her a big hug throughout the book, especially when she would talk about how she was hiding her nerdy side in order to fit in with the people she was friends with. If I could have stepped in the book and given her a piece of advice, it would be to be honest. By the end, when she had basically outed herself as a nerd, she realized that no one was making fun of her and the town didn't explode into a "Let's tease Maddie" mob. But I wish that I could have held her hand and told her not to be afraid of who she really was and to embrace her inner nerd! I did love her, though, and can safely say she is one of my absolute favorite characters in any book I've read recently.

I really liked how the book unfolded in what felt like stages. At the beginning, you learn that Maddie is a closet nerd because of an incident when she was younger, and discover she likes comic books. But as the book progresses, you get to dive into just how nerdy she really is. It goes from her hiding comics under the blankets in her closet, to going to the comic store (albeit in a not-so-good disguise), to hanging out in the back of the comic store and reading comics with Logan, and finally going full-on nerd mode and participating in a LARP! I think that with her inner nerd sort of pushing its way out in stages as the book went on really helped the reader to get to know Maddie better and really just fall in love with her as a character by the end of the book. I honestly don't think I have enough words to describe just how much I adore Maddie!

The writing of The Summer I Became a Nerd was so well done and really allowed the reader to put themselves in Maddie's shoes and follow the ups and downs that she experiences throughout the book. From the way the town of Natchitoches is described, I felt like it was a very small town and the author did a wonderful job of capturing the small town feeling. It certainly helps that the author is actually from Natchitoches, so she was able to make the setting real!

From start to finish, The Summer I Became a Nerd is a fun and lovable read. The characters are so easy to fall in love with, the story line is incredibly cute, and as a whole, this book is so easy to get lost in and finish in a short amount of time. Watching (reading about?) Maddie struggling to accept this side of her that she loves so much but that she has spent her life hiding really kept me reading and rooting for her. Also, the nerdy romance that blossoms in the book is absolutely precious! This is the perfect summer contemporary read to pick up and it will certainly leave a lasting impression long after you finish it.

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