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

Posted 25 June, 2013 by Gabbie in Review / 1 Comment

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae MillerThe Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
Publisher: Entangled Teen on May 7, 2013
Source: NetGalley
Pages: 352
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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.

Favorite Quote(s):

“‘Thanks for coming tonight, Mad.’ He presses his lips against my cheek. It’s not a quick peck, but a long, soft kiss.”

“He holds his hand up to me, and I place my own against it. He laces his fingers with mine. ‘You’re cute, you know that?’”

Favorite Character: Logan.
First Line:

“When I was in junior high, the school I went to held a Halloween festival every year in the gym.”

My Musings: I originally requested this book on Netgalley because the cover looked cute and spunky. When I read the synopsis, I was sold. I ended up loving this book so much more than you can imagine. So this review may be a little gushy. Prepare yourself.

The Summer I Became A Nerd is about a girl named Maddie who leads a double life. You see, when she was in middle school she dressed up as a comic book character for a Halloween costume competition—and ended up the laughing stock of the school. For five years Maddie worked on erasing that past and managed to climb her way to the top of the social ladder. But in doing that, she had to keep her love for comics and sci-fi a secret. But that all crashes down when Maddie meets Logan. And that’s when Maddie’s carefully constructed façade comes crashing down.

“I write down my final thoughts in my comic journal, ending with a quote from the book: Be true to yourself and others will be true to you, too. It’s a nice thought, but so not realistic.”

I really enjoyed Maddie’s character. Like it said in the book:

“I’m a nerd hidden inside a popular girl’s body, and the only person that can help me right now is someone I’ve hardly acknowledged for fear of social ruin. Man, he must think I’m just a shallow hypocrite.”

At first, I didn’t like her much because she came off as shallow and fake. I mean, she was constantly lying to people who obviously cared about her. But then I started to relate. High school is a nightmare, especially if you’re constantly picked on. And although what Maddie was doing wasn’t right, I could kind of understand her motivations. Regardless, I started loving Maddie more when she started being herself. Even though she was geekier than I was imagining, she was nerdy in a quirky kind of way and it was pretty cute. I think she finally learned a lesson that everyone needs to learn:

“‘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.’”

The road to Maddie’s self discovery was a slightly painful one, but it needed to be done. It was fantastic to follow as a reader.

“I put a chokehold on my thoughts before they get any further. No fantasizing about kissing adorkable nerd boys for me, no matter how kissable they look.”

There is no other way to describe Logan Scott other than ‘adorkable’. Although he isn’t typically what I look for in my fictional harem of book boys, he has managed to get up there amongst my favorites and is reading comics right next to Daemon Black and Noah Shaw.

The thing I liked about Logan was that he wasn’t afraid to be himself. He was geeky beyond measure, but the fact that he was confident in himself made him that much more attractive. He was super cute and nice, and he got adorably flustered around Maddie. Although I couldn’t relate much to him, I would love to have a guy like him as a best friend, because that kind of person, one with honest intentions, is hard to find now-a-days.

“‘Maddie, I have to tell you…’ He leans even closer to me and whispers, ‘I’ve…’ ‘Yeah?’ ‘I’ve…Never been lucky. With girls. With relationships. That whole thing. I guess, maybe, I overreacted the other night. I’m sorry. It’s just, you’re you, you know?’”

Now let me say something about the two of these two together: geek overload. Think role-playing games. But that’s okay, because along with being incredibly geeky, they were also incredibly cute. Although they had some rough patches, I am extremely satisfied with the way things turned out. Although it took a little too long for my liking. But that was just me…the anticipation was killing me. They worked well together. Logan was able to help Maddie’s hidden nerd break free, and that could really be seen at the end of the novel. Maddie did a lot of things that she would have never ever done if it hadn’t been for Logan. They brought out the best in each other. And did I mention that they were adorable. They were so adorable.

“After a few frames, it’s clear neither of us is a pro, but who cares what the score is when you get to watch a cute nerd boy tiptoe up to the line only to almost fall every time he swings the ball? I even record the while scene once with my phone without him knowing so I can watch it anytime I want.”

Their romance felt so real that it could have been my best friend going through it or something. The situations that they encountered and the ways they reacted to it were ways that I imagine that I would have reacted. I really, really loved it.

Two more characters that I wanted to talk about were Dan and Terra. Terra first. Terra was a character that I wish there was more of. Although she seemed kind of shallow and there were some dark spots in her and Maddie’s friendship, I wish that Maddie would have been more open and trusting of her. It was obvious that Terra really cared for her. It would have been interesting to see how she reacted if Maddie had just been truthful with her. And Dan. Oh my I loved Dan. He was definitely the comedic relief. He really was loyal to Logan, and I was glad that he was so tough on Maddie. But really, I loved Dan for his hilarity. See?

“‘Aw, poor cheerleader. Listen, I didn’t call you over here to soothe your aching bloomers. I called you over here because I want Logan to be happy. He deserves it. If it means getting the girl he’s been hardcore pining after, then damn it, I’m going to make that happen.”

Now I’m going to be honest and say that I didn’t really pay attention much to the settings and such of the story. I know they were in Louisiana, but the other stuff didn’t matter much regarding the storyline. I can say, though, that there wasn’t much of an information dump. I mean, there wasn’t much information to dump but still. It was the perfect pace for me. I enjoyed the writing though. Just like the characters, it had a quirky and nerdy feel to it. I really connected with the characters, and I’m positive that it was because of the writing. It was told from Maddie’s point of view, so, as you can imagine, there were a lot of geeky comments. But they were endearing.

I would totally recommend this novel to those of you who enjoy a good contemporary. Because this one was one of my favorites. The Summer I Became A Nerd was a fantastically ‘adorkable’ novel about a girl who comes to learn that it’s okay to be yourself—with the help of a cute nerd-boy!

5 Stars
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