The Summer I Became a Nerd

***** (5 out of 5)

The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

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I’m not gonna lie, I needed this book.  I have been soooo stressed and busy lately I could feel myself start to spiral.  Two weekends ago we went to Nebraska, last weekend we went to Oregon, this weekend we are going to Vegas, and 4 days after we get back, we leave for Germany.  Its an understatement to say we have a lot going on.  On top of that I am procrastinating writing a review for Lion Heart, because I don’t know what to say, and Astrologer’s Proof because I haven’t even read it yet.

Yesterday, while hiding from my to-do list, (i.e. procrastinating) I was skimming through some blogs when I found a post about The Summer I Became a Nerd by Book Princess Reviews.  I read the first paragraph of the synopsis, skipped the second (because they usually reveal too much) and then read Mandy’s first paragraph:

Mandy

I didn’t even bother reading the rest of her post.  Those two paragraphs were all it took to ensnare me.  I downloaded the book and started reading it immediately.  I was leaving work so I read for the two minutes it took me to get to my car then I had to wait till I got home.

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Its a good thing this book is short-ish because I could not put it down.  I stopped reading only for dinner and my softball game. I even read while we hung out in the parking lot, drinking beers before the game.  I read until 1 am, when I finished the book.  So I pretty much read from 4 to 1.  Its been a while since I binge-read that hard.

The Summer I Became a Nerd is about Maddie, who is a closet nerd.  She fears the rejection of her peers if they were to find out about her nerdiness.  On the outside she is your typical cheerleader dating the quarterback, but on the inside she is all about comics.  It makes me sad to think that there are girls that feel like they have to hide who they are because it isn’t socially acceptable, but I get it.  I have never completely hid that side of me, but I don’t usually flaunt it either.

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I have two groups of friends; my sports buddies and my nerd buddies.  With my nerd buddies I can be whoever I want.  We play D&D and they don’t care if I watch the big game at the same time.  They accept both sides of me.  But my sports buddies aren’t as open.  They know I’m nerdy but they don’t know the extent, and they tend to make fun of me if I get too intense about it.  They don’t make fun of me in a mean way, more of a big brother sort of teasing way.  They will watch all the new Marvel movies, but they don’t understand how people can enjoy reading.

This is why I LOVE e-readers.  For some reason it is socially acceptable to play on your phone and ignore everyone while watching the big game or getting beers before our league games, yet if I pull out a book, everyone accuses me of being anti-social and makes fun of me for reading.  But if I read on my phone no one says anything.  They just assume I am playing games, texting, or whatnot.  Its awesome!

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This book not only appealed to me because I was able to relate to it, but it appealed to me because it was a light, fun, easy read.  When I am spiraling I tend to gravitate toward romance novels and cliche teenage novels.  The Summer I Became a Nerd definitely falls into the later category.  Its got all the cheesy, classic, teenage-summer-love tropes you could ever want.  And I absolutely loved it! Like I said before, I could not put it down.  It was the absolute perfect book that I needed yesterday.  I can’t wait to read the sequel.

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Thank you Mandy for your post! I needed this book so much ❤ I can see why it is your favorite contemporary of ALL TIME. (and I did go back and finish reading your post after I finished the book)

Disclaimer: All Amazon Links are affiliate links.  If you purchase any of these books through one of my links I will get a small commission! All the thoughts/opinions in this post are mine and in no way influenced by Amazon.

Amazon

The Fairytale’s Daughter

**** (4 out of 5)

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I won this book in a GoodReads giveaway.  If you have never been to GoodReads its an awesome website where you can keep track of all the books you have read, and the ones you want to read.  Its also great for getting info about books, series and authors.  In other words I am a huge fan.  They also have this section for giveaways where you can enter to win free books (Yay!!).  In return they ask that, if you win, you write a review. (easy peasy).  So checkout the giveaways page, and remember to only enter for books you are actually willing to read!

Anyway, back to my story. I won this book in a giveaway.  Usually when you win a book they send just the book, but Carolyn Swanson went way above and beyond. In addition to signing the book, she also wrote me a nice little note and gave me a $15 gift card to Starbucks. (Yum!) Nothing is better than curling up in a snuggley blanket and drinking hot chocolate while reading a good book.  Or, in this case, the second best thing is reading sprawled out on the back porch, enjoying a slight breeze and drinking some passion fruit tea (cuz 90 degrees is too hot for a blanket and hot chocolate).  It was super nice of Carolyn to include that, and I hope her book does really well because, she seems like the kind of person that deserves it.

I debated giving this a 3 instead of a 4 so really its like a 3.5 and I rounded up (I promise it has nothing to do with the gift card and everything to do with the goods outweighing the bads.) Overall I really liked the story but there were a couple things that bugged me.

Lets start with the good:

I LOVE fairy tales!!

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And this book nailed it! It has all the components needed for a fairly tale; princes, princesses, villains, love, friendship, curses, jewelry, and fights. But Carolyn did not just retell the same old fairy tale, she created a brand new one!  She found a way to incorporate all the classics (with her own twist of course) while creating a completely unique tale.  I could not put the book down, I got hooked! I just had to find out what happened next! (I read waaay past my bedtime)

I love Aylan and Garrick, they felt so real.  Their relationship was super believable even in the midst of a fairy tale (however, like all fairy tales, they fall in love very quickly, though that is not a negative against the book).  All the other characters were great too.  Gala’s internal struggles made her particularly relatable.  The fight between doing the right thing and doing the thing you feel compelled to do is a very real issue that people deal with an a daily basis.

Overall I would definitely recommend this book to everyone (children, young adults, adults, old adults, etc.) who needs an easy read with a feel-good story.

Now for the bad

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The beginning was slow and confusing.  I had to re-read a couple sections to figure out what was going on.  If you are going to read this book PLEASE stick with it past the beginning!  Its worth it, I promise.

And the ending left too many questions. Specifically: WHAT HAPPENED TO GALA?!?!?! Cliffhangers are fine, but this is not really a cliffhanger.  (I am trying really hard to not include any spoilers so I can’t express exactly what I am feeling. ) But the last time you see her its unclear what happened and then she is kind of forgotten for the rest of the book.  I would have also like some more details on the ship.  For starters, who was on the ship? Was her brother there? How did they react? You know Gunner is there, but it sort of glosses over everything, and I would have liked to know what went down, and WHAT HAPPENED TO GALA?!?!?!

If you are thinking about reading this book, don’t let these negatives deter you!!! The story is worth it! I really really enjoyed this book!  I can’t wait for the sequel.

P.S. I can’t figure out how to pronounce “Aylan” which really isn’t a big deal but I am still trying to recover from the whole “Hermione” debacle.