Friday, June 4, 2010
INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER/Julie Halpern
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?
This book helped me understand exactly what agents mean when they say a book isn't "a good fit" for them. It took a while for me to connect with Jessie. This had nothing to do with Jessie or with Julie Halpern's writing. It's just that I was not that kid in high school. And my school was not that school. In fact, since we were at the top academic school on the island, we were all nerds!
Despite the differences, I did enjoy the book. I thought the characters were well-written and I appreciated the little pearls of wit interspersed throughout the narrative. (Does Hallmark make a card for that?)
I also found that the book avoided many of the current YA stereotypes. Jessie's parents are both present and accounted for, and neither of them are dimwitted enough to require their children to tie their shoelaces. Jessie crushes on a guy who's a jerk, but unlike the current trend, she realises he's a jerk. The children actually do something at school besides eat lunch and talk to members of the opposite sex. And sex comes up.
All in all, a good read. Especially if you're into Dungeon's and Dragons, or you are or were like Jessie.