Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Sorry, I Can't LARP With You...

Published:  May 7th, 2013
The Summer I Became A Nerd
By: Leah Rae Miller
Entangled Teen
ISBN-13:  9781620612392

On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blonde 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.


     I generally tend to like/love most of the books I read published by Entangled Teen.  They always manage to find either really off-the-cuff, odd but loveable stories or ones that are just so fluffy they are a great break from all the heavy fic out in the world.  This book is some combinations of the two.  After a humiliation that Maddie suffered in middle school when she let her freak flag fly, she has done her absolute best to make everyone forget that it ever happened.  On her quest to achieve this, Maddie has gained mega-popularity by denying the things that really interest her and pretending to be someone she's not.  Most of the time Maddie has is spent doing things she hates, she doesn't even really like her boyfriend, and is desparate not to lose her best friend, who is the only one she really loves in her fake life.  Only during the summer does she have a break from all the lying.  Nerdy t.v. show marathons, comic books and not having to shop 'for fun.'  But she goes to the local comic store so she won't have to wait for the last issue of her favorite comic for months before it can be shipped offline to her.  Of course the boy behind the counter is Logan, a nerd from school who has the power to blow her cover.  Hilarity ensues and romance blooms.  But can Maddie finally learn that to really be happy she has to be true to herself?  Or will she continue with her fake life and lose any chance she really has with Logan?
     I have to say that while I understand the appeal this book held with all the people who recommended it to me, I really wasn't really all that pleased with it.  I spent the majority of the book disliking Maddie and thinking she was pretty damn stupid.  I got past my popularity woes when I left middle school and entered into high school, so maybe that's why I couldn't really relate to her.  In the synopsis it sounds like a bearable plot, but it practice the obsession that Maddie has with popularity (at the cost of her own happiness) was extremely obnoxious.  She treats going to the comic book store like a secret spy mission for chrissakes!  Everything she does in regards to her nerdy obsessions was over the top and I wasn't always able to suspend my disbelief.  And the absolutely low opinion she obviously has for a girl who has been her best friend for years now, is disgusting to me.  She spends the whole friendship lying to her on the pretext that she won't like Maddie if she knows the truth.  Well guess what, that's not a real friendship then is it?  I thought not!  The crushy flirting and escapades with Logan were adorable and I love when he takes her LARPing (live-action-role-playing for those who don't know the acronym).  Watch Role Models (with Paul Rudd) and you'll get kind of an idea of what it is, only not as detailed or nerdy as it appears in this book!  Near the end of the book when everything hits the fan, the plot started to drag for me.  Yes, by the conclusion girl gets boy and finally removes her head from her ass.  There were a lot of cute scenes in this book, but I guess I need to just avoid books with popularity as a main issue from now on.  I just won't really care enough to empathize and will probably end up being a mean old lady, like I was just now.  Not for me anymore! :)  But I think a younger teen, probably about 12-16 would like this book.  They could probably relate a lot better!

VERDICT:  2.5/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley.  No money or favors were exchanged for this review.  This book was published on May 7th, 2013.*

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