May 13, 2013

The Summer I Became a Nerd

Title:  The Summer I Became a Nerd
Author: Leah Rae Miller
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Publish Date:  07 May 2013
Pages: 258
ISBN:  978-1-62061-238-5
Source:  ARC from publisher
Genre:  YA, contemporary
Series:  none
Rating:  Really Liked

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.

**I received this book in trade for an honest review**
How would you react if you were humiliated because of something that you loved?  That is what happened to Maddie.  She loves comic books and when she was in junior high, everyone made fun of her at a Halloween festival because she dressed up like her favorite comic book character.  Ever since then, she has been a closet comic book reader.

Now, she is ending her junior year of high school and is popular, but she is not happy.  She has to pretend to be something that she is not.  She pretends to like a singer and fakes all the motions to stay in her social ring.  She is a cheerleader and is dating Eric from the football team.

Her love for comic books has never gone away and she is eagerly waiting the #400 edition of her favorite comic, The Super Ones.  This is going to be the last edition.  Normally, she would download her issues, but the author had only wanted the final issue to be in print, so Maddie waits for the mail to receive it.  Only to be disappointed because she is put on a wait list because it is in such high demand.  She thinks that she cannot wait for it so she goes to The Phoenix, the comic book store in town, to see if they have a copy.

Only problem is that she doesn’t want to be seen at the comic book store.  She has worked hard to overcome the incident that happened in junior high and doesn’t want her social status to suffer.  She puts a disguise and head to The Phoenix.  After unsuccessfully attempting to get someone else to go in and buy it for her, she bites the bullet and goes in the store.  She looks for the comic in its normal spot with all the other issues, but doesn’t see it.  She asks the guy at the counter, only to realize that he is reading it.  He says that there aren’t any more and she then points out that he is reading it.  It only takes a few moments for her to realize that this is Logan Scott, the guy she’s had a crush on for a year.  Logan says that it is his copy, but he will loan it to her.  He gives her his number to call him when she is done reading it so she can return it.  Maddie thinks that her disguise worked and that her reputation is saved, but then she reads what Logan had written on the note along with his phone number. 

Summertime is Maddie’s “free time” where she doesn’t have to pretend as much to fit in.  Because of this, she is drawn to Logan and his family, who own The Phoenix.  She wants to be able to do what makes her happy, but she has that fear in the back of her head of what happened to her in junior high.  Will Maddie be able to be her own person?  What will happen between Maddie and Logan?   What will happen between Maddie and Eric?

I really liked this story.  I think that a lot of people will be able to relate to Maddie.  Not necessarily that they like comic books, but that they like something that they are afraid to admit because it would make them not part of the “in crowd.”  High school is famous for pointing out these oddities.  That’s what makes these stories so believable.  Maddie thinks that she is all alone in her struggle to fit in.  She doesn’t let anyone else in on her secret: not her parents, not her brother, not her best-friend Terra, and not Logan.  None of them understand why she thinks the way she does and what is going on with her.  Maddie’s path to discovery is a good one.  I liked the LARP of Ages game that Logan brings Maddie to.  That seems like it would be fun.

Logan, what can I say about Logan?  He is the guy who got suspended from school for wearing a supposed “porn” shirt, when it was actually a comic drawing.  He has good character. That is a broad statement.  He doesn’t care what other people think.  He has good, loyal friends.  He gives Maddie multiple chances.  Even though he doesn’t understand what she is going through, he still tries.  I think everyone needs a Logan in their story. 

The Summer I Became a Nerd kept me intrigued from beginning to end.  I had to finish this book.  I fell for Logan.  I felt for Maddie.  This is Miller’s first book.  I think she will do really well if all her books are like this one.  

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. THE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD coming Summer 2013 from Entangled Teen. Stay cool!

He stand and hugs me like he hasn’t seen me in years. “It doesn’t matter what you like to read, you know that, right? You’re so smart, I don’t see how you got this idea in your head. Who cares what other people think?”

“I know, it’s just…It’s high school.”

“It’s not just high school.People are going to judge you for all kinds of reason 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.”

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