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The Selective Collective features The Summer I Became a Nerd: Review

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THE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD by LEAH RAE MILLER

The Selective Collective features THE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD by LEAH RAE MILLER, provided to us by Entangled Teen for review and book club discussion. For my part in this Selective Collective post, I get to review the awesomeness that was this book!

The Selective Collective features The Summer I Became a Nerd: ReviewTitle: The Summer I Became A Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
Publishing Info: May 7, 2013 by Entangled
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: April 21, 2013

    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.
  

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In the words of our main character Maddie, this book was positively “adorkable”. THE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD is the perfect book for anyone who as even the slightest bit of inner-nerd dwelling inside of them. It was such a fun book and an absolute pleasure to read, simply because as a book nerd, I can totally identify with Maddie.

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Right off the bat, you know trouble is brewing when you find out that Maddie is hiding a huge secret from the entire world: she’s a HUGE nerd… and nobody knows it. She’s living a double life as the popular cheerleader and secret comic book-loving, sci-fi-watching nerd. I feel like as a YA book reviewer, I totally related to Maddie’s desire to hide her inner-dorkiness. It took me a long time to feel ready to tell people about my blog, even though I’m proud of it and honored to be a part of this amazing book blogging community. I felt like it was something so nerdy and that people would frown upon, and truthfully, I still have the urge to hide it sometimes, but I loved reading about Maddie and her relatable issue.

Our main squeeze in this book is Logan, a totally “adorkable” guy, as Maddie calls him — And I couldn’t agree more! I absolutely loved Logan for our crushable guy in this book. He was so sweet and delightfully nerdy and naturally, he became the person that Maddie really started to open up to about her hidden side. Right away you can totally tell these two are meant for each other due to their common interests and shared sense of humor. I loved seeing Maddie really start to reveal her true self. She got to let go and have fun without feeling like she was going to be ridiculed for being honest about her hobbies.

I thought the conflicts were done so well in this book, tackling popularity, the strength of true friends, and of course the classic relationship development. I loved that THE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD makes it hip to be a total nerd! Guys, there is LARPing in this book (Live Action Role-Playing, for those of you who don’t know) and aside from geeking out with The Big Bang Theory and of course, the only LARPing I’ve seen in action in Role Models, I hadn’t really known much about it. To be honest…? A small piece of me kind of  wants to be a part of that! It would almost be like being in your own play or movie or some kind of improv and this book really helped shed a new light on that whole scene for me. It actually sounds like a lot of fun and realistically, I’m sure it’ll never happen. The idea of it sounds like a blast though!

If you’re looking for a fun and totally nerdy adventure, look no further! THE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD is such a fun book and has some really great messages as well. I loved every element about it — the friendships, the romance, the families of the main characters, even the location because I really haven’t read a YA book set in Louisiana before. I definitely had a blast reading this and I absolutely recommend it!

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Maddie: I totally get where Maddie’s coming from. She had a traumatic teasing experience that made her want to cover up her inner-nerd and you know what. I can’t blame her! I loved watching her discover that people can accept her for who she is. She really grows up a lot in this book and learns some fantastic life-lessons that some people never learn in their own lives. I loved her as the main character!
Logan: Logan was so adorable. He sounds like the nerdy-hot guy I would have crushed on in high school. I was never into the jock guys so that totally would have been my choice! He had a super sweet personality too, but wasn’t totally love-struck that when things got rough, he didn’t let people walk all over him. Both Logan and Maddie felt like really real people to me and I think that’s why I enjoyed the book so much!
The parents: Oh my gosh, I loved the nerdy parents!!! It was so much fun to see them get their inner-geek on as well. I loved how much they were a part of the story.

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Hope my review gets you interested in THE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD! And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of THE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD so please go visit their take on the book as well!

Tee @ YA Crush  Round Table: The Summer I Became A Nerd
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA  Casting Call: The Summer I Became A Nerd
Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks  Author Q&A: Leah Rae Miller
Daphne & Kristina @ Gone Pecan  From Zero to Hero

 

The Reece Malcolm List – Amy Spalding

The Reece Malcolm List – Amy SpaldingTitle: The Reece Malcolm List by Amy Spalding
Publishing Info: February 5, 2013 by Entangled
Genres: Contemporary, Music, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: March 5, 2013

bookreview1I have to admit that THE REECE MALCOLM LIST didn’t quite impress me as I’d hoped. I was expecting a cute contemporary, which yes it was, but I had heard so many different reviews about how this book was about a choir/musical nerd and I was like “NERDVANA! I will love this!!!” See, if you didn’t already know, now you do. I am a choir geek. Hardcore. I adore musicals as well, so I was banking on being BFFs with our MC, Devan. Only… that never happened.

Okay, I feel like I have to dissect THE REECE MALCOLM list in parts in order to get my thoughts out there:

1. The Reece Malcolm part: So Devan is “shipped” to L.A. after her father dies to live with the mother she never knew: famous writer Reece Malcolm. I gotta say… I kind of loved Reece. I love that she was figuring out how to be a good mother to this teenager that was dropped in her lap and awkward as she normally is with adults, trying to adjust to even figure out how to TALK to her teenage daughter. Reece was definitely my favorite part of the book! I liked the storyline too. It was really interesting to see these two characters try to figure each other out after barely knowing about each other their whole lives.

2. The choir/musical part: This is the part where I burst into song and flail some jazz hands at you *JAZZ HANDS!* (Okay, we didn’t have a show choir, but I can pretend) I really did love the musical aspect of this book! I really felt like I was reliving some of my own high school experiences through the descriptions of the choir classes and the excitement of waiting behind the curtain while the overture plays… The excitement of the very beginning of the production! It was a ton of fun to read about all those events which were really the best times of my high school career. Amy Spalding really nailed the specifics and I absolutely loved it! The only downside? I’m sure she picked Merrily for the musical either because it’s not well-known (aka overdone) and/or because of a personal connection to it, but I felt like a lot of the specific scene references/character names/costumes were lost on me whereas if it were a production I was a bit more familiar with, I could have had a better connection with the book. Maybe I wasn’t geeky enough to get there! Ha.

3. The romance part: Say what you will, but I never came around to liking Sai. I don’t know what it was! Maybe because he was kind of blowing Devan off and leading her on all at the same time throughout most of the book? His character always felt a little slimy to me and I felt like he was hanging out with Devan for the wrong reasons. I actually was NOT rooting for Devan to end up with her crush.

4. Devan’s singing talents: Devan was an awkward main character for me. There were so many times that she was timid, shy, soft-spoken, humble, etc – You name it, but when it came to singing, it was the thing she excelled at so naturally she was confident, right? Right! Buuuut… There were so many times that I felt like she was being boastful about her talent. From personal experience (I mean, my high school wasn’t anything flipping fascinating or anything but) EVERY kid had to work really hard to be as good as they were. My parents never wanted to shell out the money for voice lessons (I don’t really blame them, but still wish I could have taken them), but that was THE THING to do if you were serious about music. I felt like Devan’s talent was TOO perfect. She never did anything wrong as far as singing/acting goes in the whole book. Not even during auditions, which yes, okay… Some people thrive in auditions instead of choke (like I do), but not even a hint of nerves. It didn’t come off as confident to me – It came off as bragging and I just didn’t like it one bit.

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Devan: I really was not a fan of Devan. Sigh. She wasn’t terrible by any means but she really wasn’t an enjoyable main character for me either. I felt like she was too timid in most of the book and it kind of shut me out of getting to know her. Once she started standing up for herself, I actually started to like her a little more! (Also, see notes about regarding Devan’s all-too-convenient amazing singing talent — I think too much of it was too easy and perfectly neat.)
Reece: I actually really loved Reece. She made the book enjoyable for me! Her awkward parenting is more like just talking to an adult since she’s not really sure how to do it and I felt like I not only got a real personality from her, but I also saw a lot of changes. She was definitely my favorite character of the book!
SaI: I guess I just never trusted Sai in the long run. There was never anything really specific for me to be so wary of him, but I just got that vibe, ya know? I really wasn’t rooting for him to warm up to Devan and I felt like he abused their friendship a little bit. That’s happened to me too many times in my long-gone past, but I guess I’m still a little sore about it haha!

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Lots of people enjoyed this book more than I did, but I just couldn’t get on board with Devan. When I don’t connect with a character, it really affects how I see the book overall. It’s worth a try, though! We all relate to characters in different ways.

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