23 June 2011

NERD GIRLS by Alan Lawrence Sitomer, available July 2011

Nerd Girls: The Rise of the DorkasaurusNerd Girls: The Rise of the Dorkasaurus by Alan Lawrence Sitomer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

REVIEW: NERD GIRLS by Alan Lawrence Sitomer  ***

I loved 8th grade: there is your first sign I was a nerd. So I was prepared to like NERD GIRLS by Alan Lawrence Sitomer. I was surprised by why I liked it, though. Maureen is a poster girl for nerds in this delightful quest for 8th grade acceptance: baked potato-shaped (her words), socially awkward and way too smart to have fun in middle school. She is even hard to like sometimes, especially when she tries to push away the only two girls, Alice and Beanpole, who do not laugh at her after 1000,000 people have viewed her humiliating mango banana peanut butter sandwich stuffing extravaganza on YouTube, posted by the ThreePees-pretty, popular, perfect. These three nerd girls plan to survive the ThreePee girls who make their lives miserable. Like most YA fiction, plot drives this smoothly written novel, but the author goes one step further. Sitomer’s characters are exaggerated, suffering every single indignity that middle school has to offer. But they are also authentic, and that makes all the difference.  Somehow Maureen’s prickly nature is overcome by the determination of her two new friends to make her cop to what is cool about her life—and isn’t that what you need friends for? Older brothers stink, and so does Maureen’s, until he decides that he can torture her, but no one else better try it. And all three girls have families who care about them, but are sometimes clueless.  And the conclusion? Well, it may not end the way your mom thinks it should, but any 8th grader will tell you, this is as good as it gets. And a teacher could do wonders with a whole class reading of this great read, using themes, character development, or setting for starters. Kudos to Alan Sitomer for writing another fun, purposeful novel AND for giving every kid hope for surviving middle school.

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