The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
This book was adorable. Or should I say adorkable? Maddie is a closet nerd. She loves comic books with a passion I normally reserve for brand new science fiction hardcovers. She likes the smell, the feel of the paper, the colour of the ink and, of course, the stories. She’s a junkie. Since being all but booed off the stage after dressing as her favourite comic book character in grade school, however, she’s hidden this part of herself from her friends. She’s become a cheerleader and landed herself a quarterback boyfriend.
During an epic comic book crisis, she meets Logan. She knows him, but didn’t know he worked at The Phoenix, the local comic store. She remembers Logan from school—because she’s been stalking him, kinda, secretly, ever since he was nearly expelled for wearing pornography (a t-shirt wearing a Power Girl). I imagined this drawn in frank Frazetta’s style, by the way. All skin and curves.
Logan knows her, too, much to her surprise (he’s had eyes for her since the t-shirt affair as well).He’s a nice guy, though, so he doesn’t threaten to expose her secret. Instead, he invites her into his world of LARP gaming and comic book conventions. Maddie is easily seduced, but she is reluctant to let go of the persona that made her popular, she’s worked too hard. And so begins the web of lies that like all such, eventually collapses under its own weight.
This is not a new story, but in the hands of Leah Rae Miller, it’s delightfully told. Maddie’s voice is sweet and fresh. She really is a nice girl, she’s simply afraid to express herself. Be herself. Which, if we all think back, is high school all over, right? After several missteps, she sorts herself out and everyone lives happily ever after. I hope.
Note: The Summer I Became a Nerd is appropriate for young teens as well as young adults. The romance is very sweet (and never sweaty).