Title: Into The Wild Nerd Yonder
Author: Julie Halpern
Rating: ★★★ (3/5 stars)
Hardcover, 245 pages
Published September 2009
I'm going to be completely honest here--when I first picked up this book, I thought it was going to be quirky and funny, but nothing that was specifically special. Nothing that could capture my complete attention and keep me glued to the pages nonstop for a full 24 hours, spending every waking second reading until I made sure I finished the book.
Boy, was I wrong.
For anyone who doesn't know what Into The Wild Nerd Yonder is, here's the book's description:
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?
Like I said, I didn't think that I was going to be as invested in this book as I ended up being. I thought it was going to be a nice, light read--nothing special, something I would read to spend some of my free time, since I've been reading some pretty heavy stuff lately. But of course, also like I said, I was completely and utterly wrong. It took me less than a full day to finish Into The Wild Nerd Yonder--which isn't that amazing of a feat if it was the summertime, since I spend all of my nonexistent social life time reading...but no, this is my busiest time of the year with school and finals and state testing and BookCon and just everything being piled up at once...so yes, I did actually carve out time in my schedule to make sure that I finished this book.
So what did I like, and what didn't I like?
Let's start with what I liked. I expected Jessie to be a boring character. Which is a pretty terrible thing to say, since we share the same name, read the same books...awkward. I guess if I expected her to be anything like me, it wouldn't be a book about anyone special. But Halpern made Jessie's voice and the story from her point of view capture my attention, and wow, I was hooked. I especially liked how Jessie was supposed to be the quiet "kid sister," the shy and innocent girl. But her inner thoughts (and sometimes even the things she said to Bizza or her brother, Barrett) made my eyes pop open wide and got a "Wow, pretty brave move" laugh from me.
Now, for the other side. There wasn't anything about this book that I outright disliked, so I can't really say I have any true dislikes. The only thing I wasn't satisfied with was the ending (and yes, I know--I am so incredibly picky with endings, and I whine about this a lot, but lately I've found it hard to find a book with a captivating ending). I mean, nothing about the specific ending (which I won't spoil for you guys) that I disagreed with. It's just that I was left with so many questions!
Seriously...what happens with Bizza and Char and Jessie? Do they patch things up? Does Bizza's mom ever find out about what happened between her daughter and Van? What does happen with Van? Does he ever call those girls and tell them the truth? Does Barrett do that for him? Does Barrett get into NYU? Are Jessie and Henry an item? How do her parents react to that? Her brother? Her new, nerdy friends AND her old, "cool" friends?
Agh. So many questions and a million more racing in my head.
The only other thing that I had an issue with was the whole Fudwhalla thing. Jessie and her group spent a majority of the book planning and preparing for it, and then it takes all of 6-7 pages for the whole thing to go down. Obviously the whole scene was supposed to be the focus of where Jessie finally gets the guts to make a move on Henry, but there wasn't much coverage of the place itself and the events that took place there at all. Which was a bummer because I found that whole idea really interesting and thought I was going to read a little bit more about it.
All in all, Into The Wild Nerd Yonder was a delightfully refreshing read that I was very pleased with, and I really did like it. Props to Halpern for another great book, as always!
Well, that's all I have to say today! Check back soon for more awesome reviews from Amber, Emily (our newest Book Brat), and myself! And I hope to catch a lot of you at BookCon, too! #13Days!