1

The Summer I Became a Nerd: Nerd-Culture References?! YES PLEASE!

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The Summer I Became a Nerd (Nerd, #1)

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.

Nerd #1
YA/Contemporary/Romance
267 Pages
Entangled Teen Publishing
Publication Date: May 7th, 2013
Get a copy here!

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Quick Reasons: just exactly the cutesy contemporary I needed today; I’m all moosh and goosh after reading; these characters are the definition of adorbs; the nerdy pop culture references rock my toe socks; I squealed, I raged, I wanted to shake some sense into Maddie, I squealed some more; seriously, this book is adorable

I know what you’re thinking. “Beth! You’ve been on an ARC and review request reading spree! What happened?!” Well, I’ll tell you… I decided, spur of the moment (as I do!) to take a mini break today and bust out some of my cutesy contemporaries, because I’ve been missing those butterflies something crazy lately. Also, because I can–because I’m an adult and the ruler of my own schedule and the maker of my own decisions. SO THERE!

Seriously, though, guys–I don’t regret this decision at all. I bought this book and its companion novel a long while back–like, in the summer time? before the summer time?!–and haven’t had the chance to pick them up, which is a TRAVESTY, because this book? Super adorable, super squishy, and super awesome at the mooshy goosh mashing of my heart. No, that’s not a real phrase; no, I don’t care that it’s not a real phrase.

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I’ll admit it: on several occasions, I raged at Maddie’s lack of sense. I wondered how, and WHY, anyone would ever feel the need to hide such an important, integral part of themselves–especially something so minuscule in the grand scheme of things. I get it–people can be cruel. But seriously, I think at times she took trying to keep her real self hidden to the EXTREME, and hurt people unnecessarily because of it. However: Logan? Totally made this entire novel for me. He is just so adorably nerdy, I couldn’t help but fall in love with him right away. And the snark factor! I mean, these characters know how to throw zingers–I couldn’t help but giggle aloud through most of this read!

There are some important subjects explored here, as well–the biggest of which is, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn, being true to yourself. I had a ton of fun following Maddie on her journey to self-love and self-acceptance, and really appreciate the sensitive, awesome way that Leah Rae Miller handled this. There was very little girl-hate or girl-bashing; every character is respected and redeemable. There is SO MUCH done right in this book, penguins, and I bow down to the author for this.

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This was cutesy contemporary at its finest. My little penguin heart is a pile of goosh and melted ice, and I’m not regretting that at all. These characters are well-rounded and go through so much great growth; Maddie, especially, comes out on top for me, though Logan is a dreamy little nerd as well. The pop culture references and the serious level of snark are also fantastic. I definitely recommend to lovers of high school romances, self-love journeys, and characters too adorable for their own good. Pick this up, penguins–and let the moosh butterflies fly.

2

Teaser Review: Surviving High School, by Lele Pons and Melissa de la Cruz

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Surviving High School: A Novel

Goodreads Rating: 3.81 Stars
272 Pages
Gallery Books Publishing
Get a copy here!

Vine superstar Lele Pons—“one of the coolest girls on the web” (Teen Vogue)—teams up with #1 New York Times bestselling author Melissa de la Cruz (The Isle of the Lost) in this lovable debut novel about the wilds and wonders of high school that’s as laugh-out-loud addictive as Lele’s popular videos.

Ten million followers and I still sit alone at lunch. Lele is a bulls-eye target at her new school in Miami until, overnight, her digital fame catapults the girl with cheerleader looks, a seriously silly personality, and a self-deprecating funny bone into the popular crowd. Now she’s facing a whole new set of challenges—the relentless drama, the ruthless cliques, the unexpected internet celebrity—all while trying to keep her grades up and make her parents proud.

Filled with the zany enthusiasm that has made Lele into Vine’s most viewed star, this charming novel is proof that high school is a trip. From crushing your crushes (what’s up with that hot transfer student Alexei??) to throwing Insta-fake parties with your BFFs and moaning over homework (GAH) with your frenemies, high school is a rollercoaster of exhilarating highs and totally embarrassing lows. Leave it to Lele to reassure us that falling flat on your face is definitely not the end of the world. Fans of Mean Girls will love this fun and heartwarming fish-out-of-water story.

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Quick Reasons: ohmah goodness, I love this character; snarky, quirky, my type of narrator!; this is a coming-of-age like you wouldn’t believe; tackles the topic of “internet fame” and how to handle the pressures that come with it; it’s like I looked into this character’s head…and the journey was amazing; this is laugh-out-loud funny; so many pop culture references!

Huge thanks to: Lele Pons, Melissa de la Cruz, Gallery Books Publishing, Netgalley, and Giselle @ Xpresso Book Tours for hooking me up with early access to this title in exchange for an honest review! This in no way altered my read of or opinions on this book.

Because this is part of a blog tour, my full review is under wraps until May 6th! Keep an eye out for that to come!

For now, take a gander at my favorite status updates:

4%–

I already LOVE the sass on this character! Seriously, she could fry an egg just looking at it.

Also, hello references to the Disney channel *I* grew up with!

Thirdly…LOVE that this reads like a blog so far. She even addresses the readers. Way to break the 4th wall! (my inner English major is squealing!)

11%–

Ohmahgosh, never have I EVER met a more awkward character! She’s even more awkward than Bella Swan, which…is saying something. The defining difference? Lele has a personality to stand up with. Also, Bella never made me laugh so hard.

65%–

The more I read, the more entertained I am. Lele is SUPER dramatic and over-the-top and I usually don’t like characters like her, but for some reason, the pop culture references and her awkwardness all sort of work together to create something messy and unique and lovable.

I want to be her friend. It would make life interesting.

 

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A Review of The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak, by Brian Katcher

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The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak

Goodreads Rating: 3.74 Stars
336 Pages
Katherine Tegan Books Publishing
Get a copy here!

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak is Stonewall Book Award-winning author Brian Katcher’s hilarious he said/she said romance about two teens recovering from heartbreak and discovering themselves on an out-of-this-world accidental first date.

It all begins when Ana Watson’s little brother, Clayton, secretly ditches the quiz bowl semifinals to go to the Washingcon sci-fi convention on what should have been a normal, résumé-building school trip.

If slacker Zak Duquette hadn’t talked up the geek fan fest so much, maybe Clayton wouldn’t have broken nearly every school rule or jeopardized Ana’s last shot at freedom from her uptight parents.

Now, teaming up with Duquette is the only way for Ana to chase down Clayton in the sea of orcs, zombies, bikini-clad princesses, Trekkies, and Smurfs. After all, one does not simply walk into Washingcon.

But in spite of Zak’s devil-may-care attitude, he has his own reasons for being as lost as Ana-and Ana may have more in common with him than she thinks. Ana and Zak certainly don’t expect the long crazy night, which begins as a nerdfighter manhunt, to transform into so much more…

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Quick Reasons: cute, fluffy romance; quite a bit of unexpected action and drama; an entertaining, dual-perspective “coming of age”; tons of pop culture references and tongue-in-cheek humor; the characters are charming, relatable, and realistic; the reckonings of an innocent “first love”

Because that’s the way the world works, isn’t it? You can work hard and be miserable, or do nothing and be happy.

This was a cute, fluffy, quick read—quite different from the emotionally-devastating, “this book just slaughtered me” reads I’ve been so drawn to these last few weeks. This took me literally three hours to race through—and it WAS a race, though one that didn’t blow me away or knock me out of the water.

What I’m saying is… This book doesn’t really push the bounds. It didn’t challenge me, it didn’t push me out of my comfort zone. It didn’t even really make me feel anything, except amused. Also, a bit frustrated at times—because there are moments we’re given only slight glimpses into the world being built, the charactes being mapped out, but these glimpses are so small and tantalizing that when the reality of the situation was spelled out…I found myself a bit disappointed. For instance: Ana and Clayton’s sister, Nichole. When I first dove into this book, I thought FOR SURE Nichole was dead. Turns out, she’s very much alive—and very much perfectly fine, aside from being a young mother. This was a bit infuriating to me, because the way Ana speaks of Nichole at the beginning of the book…you’d think some sort of tragedy occurred. It sort of made me angry, to realize that the “tragedy” was actually just a young pregnancy.

“At a con there’s one hundred percent acceptance, no ifs, ands, or buts. This is the one place where anyone can go and not be judged.”

The characters are charming and cute. It was fun to watch how Ana stepped out of her comfort zone…and how Zak sort of cluelessly “led” her to it. The antics they get up to at Washingcon were entertaining and revealed a lot about them as characters, though one scene really stood out to me as “unrealistic.” I really enjoyed seeing them step out of their usual habits…and come closer together for it.

Some of the resolution was a bit TOO tidy—a bit too happily-ever-after—for me to completely drop my disbelief in the end, though truth be told this might have been partly the point of the book. I think this was written as mostly a tongue-in-cheek, sort of over-the-top “coming of age” for both the characters, and I can get behind that sort of read every now and then.

She turns to me, and for a moment I fear she’s turning into the She-Hulk. After a second, I realize that her eyes are just really green, kind of like two angry Life Savers.

Overall, this was a cute, fluffy, pop-culture overdose…though nothing spectacular. I wasn’t blown away; this didn’t push the bounds or “take my breath away.” Perhaps I’ve been jaded by all the emotionally-draining reads of late, but I didn’t really get much out of this book personally. I’d still recommend to lovers of fluff, coming-of-age tales, and slightly over-the-top, hilarious shenanigans. Onto the next one, for me!