Saturday, May 18, 2013

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

Rating (Out of 5): ~4, maybe 4.5
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Entangled Publishing/Teen
Publish Date: May 7th, 2013
Spoilers?: Minor.

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

Something Specific:

  •  "Be true to yourself and others will be true to you, too. It's a nice thought, but so not realistic." (Paperback, pg. 17) That first sentence is stated a couple of times, is kind of a main theme in the book, and I just thought it was stated in an interesting way, and that her thoughts going with it were interesting as well.
  • "'If you never get told you're a wuss, you'll always be a wuss.'" (Paperback, pg. 104) I also used this quote in the Teaser Tuesday for this book, but I liked it. And it was used in a rather entertaining way in the book, and Dan (who says this) says something else similar, but I also just kind of find it to be true.
  • "'It's not just high school. People are going to judge you for all kinds of reasons for the rest of your life. Because you vote one way or the other, because you go to one school or the other, because you look a certain way. It's a fact of life: you can't make everyone happy. But you can make you happy.'" (Paperback, pg. 194) I've thought things similar to this, I've heard things similar to this, and I really just like the way it's stated here.


I really enjoyed this book. Like, a lot. I was expecting to, as well, and it’s really nice when I enjoy something as much as I was hoping to.
Maddie is a cheerleader, the girlfriend to the quarterback, and hiding that she geeks out over comic books and science fiction and, when she starts doing it, LARPing (Live-Action RolePlaying). When she was younger, she got teased for being a fan of comic books, and decides that she didn’t want to feel that way ever again, and so started hiding her geek tendencies and sometimes pretending to like the things that everyone else does.
This book was a really fast read. I hadn’t even meant to really start it, since I was trying to get through a different book, only to get half-way through this one in one night, and then of course finish it the next morning. Because it went by so quickly, and it was so good that I didn’t want to stop.
So. I liked Maddie. She was very misguided and much too afraid of what other people think of her, and kept making these stupid mistakes because of those reasons, but I still liked her. I liked being in her head, hearing her thoughts as she dreads and over-thinks things and geeks out over certain things/people. And even while she was being dumb and thinking a bit too much about herself at times, she was also loyal, as best as she could be. And when she finally smarted up, she did a very good job of trying to make up for it.
I also very much liked the love interest, Logan. He’s a geek, and he’s adorkable, and he’s sweet. I felt bad for him several times because of how Maddie was treating him, and annoyed when he gave in too easily. But I still liked him and their interactions, and think him and Maddie fit well together. The way they got together, their pre-attraction to each other, it was all just adorable to me.
I like Logan’s best friend, Dan, who’s crude and loud and funny but loyal to his friends. I liked Maddie’s best friend, Terra, and also felt bad for her because of what Maddie was doing, although I do think that we could have gotten to know her better, given how little we saw of her. I also really liked Maddie and Logan’s parents, who we saw a pretty good amount of. I liked what I saw of Maddie’s brother, and would have liked to have seen him more.
I loved all of the geeky things. I liked the fangirling, and the radio show, and the comic book store, and the comics, and the LARPing was awesome.
For some reason I always like reading stories when one of the characters, usually the girl, already has a boyfriend/girlfriend, but one who they don’t really get along with for some reason. And so I liked the situation that Maddie was in, as well as the somewhat similar one that Logan was in.
So, pretty much, I really liked this book. Kind of loved it, even. I’ll probably end up re-reading/skimming it in the future for the best scenes (i.e. the romantic ones), and I will definitely be picking up Miller’s future books.

The Cover:

I rather like the cover of this book. I feel like the front image should represent the geeky parts of the book better, but I still think it's pretty. And the back cover and side on the physical book has that dotted, word-bubble look, which I think works really well for the comic book parts of the book, and I generally just think it's really adorable.

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