Title: Into the Wild Nerd Yonder
Author: Julie Halpern
Publication Date: September 29th, 2009
It’s Jessie’s sophomore year of high school. A self-professed “mathelete,” she isn’t sure where she belongs. Her two best friends have transformed themselves into punks and one of them is going after her longtime crush. Her beloved older brother will soon leave for college (and in the meantime has shaved his mohawk and started dating . . . the prom princess!) . . .
Things are changing fast. Jessie needs new friends. And her quest is a hilarious tour through high-school clique-dom, with a surprising stop along the way—the Dungeons and Dragons crowd, who out-nerd everyone. Will hanging out with them make her a nerd, too? And could she really be crushing on a guy with too-short pants and too-white gym shoes?
If you go into the wild nerd yonder, can you ever come back?
As somewhat of a nerd myself, I have to say that I enjoyed this book quite a bit. The writing was fun and more of a laid back, conversational style that I felt conveyed Jessie's thoughts and experiences nicely, in a way that I could relate to. I loved the uniqueness of many of the characters (like Jessie making her own skirts - that's pretty cool) and the relationships between them that developed as the book went on. I especially loved the relationship that Jessie had with her brother, Barrett. He was very supportive of her throughout the whole book and it was great to see such a loving relationship. It was pretty neat to look back after I finished the book and see how much Jessie had changed in terms of relationships, acceptance of herself, and who she associated with.
I found myself smiling and laughing at so many things in this book, but particularly in the last three or so chapters. This book had such a great balance of nerdy, funny, and more serious moments, and I really enjoyed seeing how Jessie dealt with the various situations that came up. I also loved the references to other YA books like Elsewhere, which happens to be one of my favorites.
My only complaint with this book is that the ending seemed a bit rushed and wasn't as satisfying as I'd hoped it would be. I think that could have easily been fixed by adding another chapter rather than ending things in a way that kind of leaves the reader hanging, but oh well. Overall, it was a fun yet realistic read that I would definitely recommend to anyone who's ever experienced trying to find their place among the various high school groups, and especially to those who can appreciate a little bit of nerdiness.
Overall grade: B