The Summer I Became A Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

Challenge 33 ~ “The 16th book on your to-read list.”


★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

All the way through reading it, I was in two minds about this book. On the one hand it was a pretty predictable storyline, with your teen romance clichés, slightly-different-from-the-norm characters and a whole load of gossipy secrets. But then, at the same time, there were real elements to the story that proved the characters were more than 2D, and Miller’s message was an important one that ended a lot more realistically than many of its predecessors.

I certainly approached the novel with a high degree of uncertainty, put off by the traditional chic lit elements, and pulled along by the nerdy references. What kept me reading through the initial chapters (other than my stubborn determination to finish any book I start, eventually) was Miller’s writing style. The use of first person perspective, written both realistically and engagingly, had me on the edge of my seat (so to speak), speeding up as Maddie did (for instance, upon dashing into the Phoenix disguise-free.)

Miller’s writing style continued to drive the book, where her more-than-two-dimensional exploration of the characters enhanced the story even further. So much so that even the reader is drawn into Maddie’s perspective and her way of thinking about the world (Maddie may have forgotten about Terra’s life outside Maddie, but so had I!)

Maddie’s character was not the nicest person in the world – she was shallow, pretty self-centred and not the best friend to Terra. However, Miller’s use of Maddie as a protagonist, combined with a first-person perspective, helped present a different side to the story, and a whole other level of understanding. I’ve seen this done before in similar novels, but Maddie’s eventual self-awareness was captured more realistically by Miller, making it a lot more convincing.

Overall I was pretty impressed with the book. It took the storyline to a different level than many of its contemporaries, but there was still an element to it of predictability and cliché (a necessity to an extent, but I feel Miller didn’t quite perfect the balance.) Nevertheless, an incredibly written and enjoyable read – if you’re looking for a teen chic lit with a little more to offer, this is it.


Recommended for fans of:

  • Drawing With Light by Julia Green
  • The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
  • Solitaire by Alice Oseman

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