Friday, February 26, 2010

Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern

Jessie's always been close with her two best friends, but lately it seems like they're only coming over to her house they can hang out with her older brother and his friends. When they decide to transform themselves into punks, Jessie feels left out - and a bit disgusted at how she's been treated. It gets worse - one of her friends goes after her long-time crush, and Jessie feels angry and betrayed. She starts spending more time with other people at school, and finds out that people she had previously written off as dorks or nerds might be more interesting than she had thought. If only she can get past her high school clique/popularity hang-ups, she might have found some people that she actually wants to be friends with.

Jessie is an interesting, complex character that I loved reading about. It was refreshing to read about a girl who was ready to break off friendships when they were treating her like a doormat. I loved the relationship between Jessie and her older brother. The novel felt like it was ending about three times before it actually did end, and I got a bit tired of Jessie's hand-wringing about whether or not she was okay with people thinking that she might be less than cool, but this is a very sweet novel that presents high school as being a system of Venn Diagrams rather than a hierarchy. It's got some elements of Freaks and Geeks in it, as well as a bit of My So-Called Life, and a dash of Project Runway. I didn't put all of the elements of the cover together until after I read the book, but I'm happy that I did read this Cybils-finalist novel.

Find it at IndieBound.

Read it with:
Fantasy Freaks and Gaming Geeks by Ethan Gilsdorf
Superstud by Paul Feig
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr

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