Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern

Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern
"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?"- summary from Amazon

This was the PERFECT novel to take me out of the paranormal/serious book roll I'd been on. It was hilarious, realistic, and had a wonderful protagonist that was dealing with regular teen issues. Figuring out where you fit in at your school as well as the social hierarchy is a huge part of the teenage life, and realizing that labels aren't all they're cracked up to be is something that can be hard to do.

The laughs happened on every page, and dialogue is certainly not a problem for Halpern. Interactions between the characters felt real and never forced, helping to breeze the reader through the novel. The main romance is a part of that; we see the relationship develop through dialogue and their interactions with each other, either 1-on-1 or in a group. It's never rushed and just completely works because you can see the attraction between them and it's not just based on looks. It's very sweet.

I also enjoyed Halpern's inclusion of Jessie's audiobooks, being as they were usually YA books, such as Life As We Knew It, where Jessie and I have the exact same thoughts. That book made me SO HUNGRY and since we both listened to it on audio, I think that's where it came from; you get so involved in the storyline that you step into the character's shoes and become ecstatic at any food that's put in front of you. Unfortunately, since it's just an audio book and you're not ACTUALLY the character (which is a very good thing), you aren't eating any of the food mentioned and so it just makes you hungry. Another book that has a mention is the first Georgia Nicolson book by Louise Rennison, which is awesome.

While reading the novel, it almost felt like a stream-of-consciousness story. Jessie tends to hilariously ramble about things and it just feels like a friend telling you a story. It's very comfortable and makes the story easy to slip into.

But aside from the humor of the story, there's a fantastic look at the perceptions we have of others and being able to admit that we may have been initially wrong about those people. There's a definite change in Jessie over the course of the novel, and watching her slowly become comfortable with who she is and standing up to her bitchy best friend made me root for her so much.

So I've essentially written a dissertation on this novel. Long story short (too late), this is a fantastically written novel and one that should be checked out for those wanting a break from all the paranormal novels out there.

However be warned: You may never look at a Krispy Kreme donut the same again. Unless you're like me and have a bad memory and will just end up happily eating one next week.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.


  1. Steph Su and I had a discussion about the lack of books where characters read and discuss YA novels. I wonder if she's read this one? I have it in my pile and will have to move it on up...

  2. LOL I think it depends. It can be nice to have in the book and while I did enjoy it a bit here, sometimes it felt like the author was just putting other YA titles in her book for no real reason or just because she enjoyed them. But it does sort of provide a springboard to other books if they're there, and that's nice. So I don't really know where I stand on that issue. It can be nice but it can also feel sort of pandering (if I'm using that term correctly, which I highly doubt, lol).

    Lauren Myracle's book Luv Ya Bunches mentioned the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter, but it was just through description which could be the difference for me between where it really works and where it doesn't.

  3. Yeah, I used that term incorrectly. It can seem like you're friends with the author and putting their book title in so that once people read your book, they'll read theirs. You know what I mean?

  4. I really enjoyed this book too. I thought it was nice that the romance was slow moving - it was much more refreshing than the whirlwind romances that are in so many novels.