Nerd Camp

( 28 )

Overview

Ten-year-old Gabe has just been accepted to the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment. That means he’ll be spending six weeks at sleep-away camp writing poetry and perfecting logic proofs. S.C.G.E. has been a summer home to some legendary middle-school smarty-pants (and future Jeopardy! contestants), but it has a reputation for being, well, a Nerd Camp. S.C.G.E = Smart Camp for Geeks and Eggheads.

But, is Gabe really a geek? He’s never thought about it much, but that was before he...

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Overview

Ten-year-old Gabe has just been accepted to the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment. That means he’ll be spending six weeks at sleep-away camp writing poetry and perfecting logic proofs. S.C.G.E. has been a summer home to some legendary middle-school smarty-pants (and future Jeopardy! contestants), but it has a reputation for being, well, a Nerd Camp. S.C.G.E = Smart Camp for Geeks and Eggheads.

But, is Gabe really a geek? He’s never thought about it much, but that was before he met Zack, his hip, LA-cool, soon-to-be step-brother. Now, Gabe is worried that Zack will think he’s a nerd, not only a nerd, but JUST a nerd. A wild summer at camp—complete with a midnight canoe ride to “Dead Man’s Island”—makes Gabe realize that Zack may not be the brother he'd always dreamed of, but that doesn't mean they can't be friends.

This clever, fun summer read from Elissa Brent Weissman is full of great minor characters (like a bunkmate who solves math problems in his sleep) and silly subplots (like the geekiest lice outbreak ever). Adjust your head-gear, pack your camp bag and get ready to geek out!

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
What 10-year-old Gabe wants more than anything is a sibling, and he gets his wish when his father announces his fiancée has a son, Zack, precisely Gabe's age. But after Gabe meets super-cool skater dude Zack, he feels self-conscious about everything, especially his upcoming trip to sleepaway camp. Zack mistakenly believes that Gabe is going on an exciting wilderness adventure and is envious; what Gabe hasn't revealed is that the camp is actually geared toward brainiacs, with daily activities like problem-solving using the postulates of logical reasoning. Will Gabe's relationship with his new stepbrother sour if Zack finds out what a nerd Gabe is? Gabe composes lists of what he can safely tell Zack about camp, leaving out the poetry writing, singing songs written in binary code, and taking part in a "Lice 101" class in which they enthusiastically study the louse that has infested the camp. Though Weissman's message about individuality is mildly prescriptive and Zack's character is absent for much of the narrative, she persuasively conveys Gabe's anxiety over both living up to the perceived expectations of others and his desire to escape being labeled. Ages 8–12. (May)
From the Publisher
Gr 4-5–Gabe, 10, is excited about getting two things he has wanted: a brother and to go to camp. The brother is Zack, the son of his father’s fiancée, who is also 10 and lives across the country in L.A. The camp is the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment. Gabe wants to appear just as cool to Zack as he thinks Zack is, so he keeps the “nerd” details about camp to himself. At SCGE, the campers have lessons in the morning, then traditional camp activities in the afternoon and evening. The campers are typical kids, pulling pranks, whining about some things, and getting homesick; they just happen to be extremely bright. Gabe enjoys his bunkmates and loves everything about camp except the food. Zack is envious of Gabe’s experience, so Gabe keeps him up-to-date on what’s happening, sort of. He keeps a chart of things he can tell his stepbrother and the details that probably shouldn’t be mentioned, e.g., that they like learning the digits of Pi. The boys’ characters are well developed and although the three adults play a minor role in the story, they are civil to one another and to both boys. In addition to being a good, humorous story, the book also illustrates that kids who are bright are just kids and can enjoy a lot of different things.–Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC

- SLJ June 2011

Nerd Camp.
Weissman, Elissa Brent (Author)
May 2011. 272 p. Atheneum, hardcover, $15.99. (9781442417038).

Perfect for kids whose quest for knowledge isn’t satisfied by nine months of school, Weissman’s latest
novel features an appealing 10-year-old who’s more certain of facts and figures than of his worth. Gabe
questions his own “coolness” when he meets the boy who’s about to become his stepbrother; they’re the
same age but worlds apart intellectually, and Gabe tries to hide from Zack all traces of his own nerdy
tendencies. Weissman portrays Gabe as a sweet only child who’s as excited about getting the sibling he
has always wanted as he is about being admitted to a “Gifted Enrichment” camp. Over the course of six
weeks of camp, he revels in his adventures and then analyzes them for their nerdiness quotient, working
out logic proofs to help him figure out how much to tell Zack. Weissman depicts a camp whose academic
classes sound almost as fun as kayaking and color war. These smart, funny kids learn something from a
lice infestation, and it’s only logical that Gabe also gains confidence in his own opinions and individuality.

BOOKLIST, May 1, 2011

Nerd Camp

by Elissa Brent Weissman

Intermediate Atheneum 261 pp.

4/11 978-1-4424-1703-8 $15.99

Gabe’s father is remarrying and giving him the (step-) brother he’s always hoped for, but ten-year-old Gabe realizes almost immediately that cool Zack, also ten, will not be impressed that his new brother is heading off to the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment, a.k.a. “Nerd Camp.” Once there, Gabe loves camp with its interesting classes (e.g., Logical Reasoning and Poetry Writing), its traditions like Color Wars, and his new friends, but he continues to worry about Zack’s reaction. As the six weeks go along, Gabe creates a chart of “Things I Can Tell Zack” (“We put music and sports pictures on our walls”) and “Things I Can’t Tell Zack” (“They are of Beethoven and the rules of badminton”). The title may limit the book’s appeal, but kids who are even a little bit nerdy themselves will enjoy the humor and will relate to Gabe’s concerns about appearing geeky. Weissman (The Trouble with Mark Hopper, rev. 11/09) gets the small details just right (like the way Gabe and his roommates keep track of how many seconds it takes their bunkmate to get out of his twisted-up sleeping bag each morning), and the relationships and the stories come to a satisfying and reasonably realistic conclusion.

The Horn Book, July/August 2011

http://www.washingtonpost.com/entertainment/books/summer-novels-for-kids/2011/05/31/AGLy9VZH_story.html

NERD CAMP

By Elissa Brent Weissman

Atheneum. $15.99. Ages 8-12

Gabe, 10, can hardly wait to dive into the sonnets, syllogisms and scavenger hunts at the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment, a sleepaway camp for bright kids. That is, until he discovers that his soon-to-be stepbrother, Zack, scorns such things as nerdy. With his cellphone, surfboard and poor spelling, Zack seems the epitome of cool, and bespectacled Gabe yearns for a similar sangfroid. Gabe’s path to geeky self-acceptance is filled with quirky adventure. There’s a UFO sighting, a stealth kayak mission and a clandestine lice-breeding lab, along with bunkmates who recite the digits of pi (for fun!) and tape pictures of Beethoven to their cabin walls. Fans of “The Big Bang Theory” may recognize in Gabe and his smart, funny friends the youthful counterparts of the zany brainiacs on that popular TV show.

—Washington Post 6/17/11

Children's Literature - Paula McMillen
Gabe has wanted a younger brother or sister since he can remember, but his parents have also been divorced for a long time, so that seems not likely to happen—until his dad decides to marry a woman who already has a son who is Gabe's age, ten years old. His step-brother-to-be, Zack, is everything cool; he is from L.A., has a spikey hairdo, surfs, and plays guitar. Gabe really wants them to be friends but learns in their initial meeting that Zack considers stupid all the things Gabe really enjoys like reading and math club. So when Gabe gets the news that he has been accepted to a summer camp for gifted students—or "nerd camp" as his classmates call it. He needs to make it sound adventurous and fun to Zack. And for Gabe it really is fun. On the very first day, he discovers his bunkmates get excited about memorizing multiple decimal places for pi, so he knows they will be friends. Gabe's enthusiasm for learning new things is truly infectious and, of course, his knowledge wins Zack over when Gabe is not afraid of a snake they run across in the woods—Gabe learned it was a harmless milk snake in a camp wide "jeopardy" competition. The concerns about wanting to be accepted seem as genuine as his own bit of geeky snobbery that Zack does not know who Beethoven was. The author clearly intends to celebrate kids who do not always fit in and it serves this purpose well. Reviewer: Paula McMillen, Ph.D.
Kirkus Reviews

Gabe is torn between his enthusiasm for a summer residential program for gifted children and his fear that his new, cool stepbrother-to-be will find out he's a nerd.

Just his age, 11, Zack seems like the ideal sibling to Gabe, who has always wanted one. But surfer-boy Zack really doesn't like nerds. All the things Gabe enjoys—math team, reading and the gifted program—Zack describes as weird.Luckily, sleep-away camp impresses him. Episodic chapters combine camp scenes, letters home and a growing chart of the things Gabe's done he can tell Zack about and the geeky details that he can't. The third-person narration describes the fun of a camp where students write poetry, solve problems and investigate lice with microscopes and also swim, kayak, play sports and compete in a Color War. While Gabe is trying to present six weeks of camp activities in the best light for Zack, he's also choosing them in order to avoid fellow-camper Amanda, a girl who seems to be stalking him but turns out to be someone who could be a friend. The author sets up the thematic conflict believably, but the contrast between Gabe's enjoyment and his social fears gets tiresome. The protesting goes on too long, the resolution is pat and the author's hand and purpose seems evident.

This celebration of summer camp and geekiness tries too hard.(Fiction. 9-12)

School Library Journal
Gr 4–5—Gabe, 10, is excited about getting two things he has wanted: a brother and to go to camp. The brother is Zack, the son of his father's fiancée, who is also 10 and lives across the country in L.A. The camp is the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment. Gabe wants to appear just as cool to Zack as he thinks Zack is, so he keeps the "nerd" details about camp to himself. At SCGE, the campers have lessons in the morning, then traditional camp activities in the afternoon and evening. The campers are typical kids, pulling pranks, whining about some things, and getting homesick; they just happen to be extremely bright. Gabe enjoys his bunkmates and loves everything about camp except the food. Zack is envious of Gabe's experience, so Gabe keeps him up-to-date on what's happening, sort of. He keeps a chart of things he can tell his stepbrother and the details that probably shouldn't be mentioned, e.g., that they like learning the digits of Pi. The boys' characters are well developed and although the three adults play a minor role in the story, they are civil to one another and to both boys. In addition to being a good, humorous story, the book also illustrates that kids who are bright are just kids and can enjoy a lot of different things.—Nancy P. Reeder, Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Columbia, SC
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781442417038
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 4/26/2011
  • Edition description: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 778,618
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 810L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.28 (w) x 5.78 (h) x 0.99 (d)

Meet the Author

Elissa Brent Weissman is the author of The Short Seller, Nerd Camp, Nerd Camp 2.0, and Standing for Socks as well as The Trouble with Mark Hopper. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland. Visit her at EBWeissman.com.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1
GABE

It was so late that it was almost tomorrow. Gabe had been awake later than this only once before. That was New Year’s Eve, and his mom had let him have a sleepover with some of his math team friends. Rather than counting down to the new year when it was just ten seconds away, like most people, at 8:00 p.m. they figured out how many seconds there were until the ball dropped and then counted down ten seconds occasionally throughout the night (at 8:32 they counted down from 12,480 to 12,470).

He thought now of figuring out how many seconds there were until his train tomorrow, but that would probably just make him more excited and anxious, and Gabe needed to stop thinking about tomorrow so he could sleep.

He couldn’t help being excited about the future—the future with my new brother! he thought, even though he was trying so hard not to think at all. He remembered back to first grade, when his friend Eric’s little sister was born, and how jealous he was. “Can you please have a baby?” he’d asked his mom again and again.

“You need a mom and a dad to have a baby,” his mom had said. “And they have to want to have a baby together.”

Gabe had known even then that that wasn’t going to happen. His mom and dad were divorced—they had been divorced from the time he was a baby himself—and they wouldn’t want to have another baby together, since they didn’t even talk to each other except for a few words when one of them dropped him off with the other.

“You’re enough for me, Gabe,” his mother always told him. “I know you’d like a brother or sister, but I’m sorry. It’s going to be just us.” Sometimes she gave his head a squeeze and added, “You’ve got enough brains for two kids, anyway.”

But Gabe kept hoping that his mom would surprise him. One time, last year, Gabe made the grave mistake of asking her, excitedly, if she was pregnant. That night, she took a big black garbage bag and cleared out the pantry of everything that tasted good, and Gabe had to rely on hanging out at friends’ houses if he wanted to eat anything but leafy greens.

For some reason it never even occurred to him that his dad could be the one to get him a sibling, but that’s what was happening. And the best part was that his new brother was already his age, because his dad was marrying a woman named Carla who also had a son who was ten, Zack. They lived 2,825 miles away in Los Angeles, California (a 6-hour plane ride or 43-hour drive or a 706-hour walk!). They were visiting New York now, and Gabe was going to meet them for the first time—tomorrow! But after they got married at the end of August, Carla and Zack were going to live in New York City with Gabe’s dad, which meant that whenever Gabe went to visit his dad he’d also be visiting his brother.

Manhattan was close enough that Gabe could go visit on weekends. He and Zack could do all the fun city stuff together, like go to the Museum of Natural History, but he could also go home before he had to deal with what he imagined would be annoying things about having a brother 100 percent of the time, like fighting over using the computer or both needing the P volume of the encyclopedia at the same time. Everything about it was perfect, perfect, perfect.

As Gabe lay in bed—his homework done and on his desk even though he wasn’t going to school tomorrow, and his duffel bag packed with clothes to spend two nights in the city—he thought about his new stepbrother. Would Zack look different in person than he did in pictures? Would he be taller or shorter than Gabe? (Gabe hoped they’d be the same.) Would he wear glasses for reading or distance? (Gabe’s were for both.) Would he prefer chocolate or vanilla (Gabe liked vanilla), fiction or nonfiction (Gabe liked both equally), multiplication or division (Gabe preferred division, the longer the better)? It doesn’t matter, Gabe decided. I’ll like him no matter what, because we’re going to be brothers.

Gabe fell asleep smiling. He was going to love his new brother. They were going to become best friends.

© 2011 Elissa Brent Weissman

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 28 )
Rating Distribution

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(24)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 28 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 12, 2011

    Nerds Are Cool!!

    This was a great, funny chapter book. The story is about a 10 year old boy name Gabe, who is okay with being smart, but may be being cool is the way to go. Gabe is excited to be accepted to Nerd Camp, but once he is there, he must decide if his adventures there are too cool or too nerdy. He does this the nerdiest way he knows how- with a logic proof. The adventures Gabe has at camp are really funny and entertaining. Kids can really relate to the plot and the characters in this story. Elissa Brent Weissman does a terrific job with developing them. Their dialogue and their actions are so believable. Behind all the humor in the book, there is a lesson. We don't have to change for anybody, and we should like who we are. We can learn a lot from each other, whether we are cool or a nerd. It was a terrific read!!

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    ELISSA BRENT WEISSMAN'S "NERD CAMP"

    ELISSA BRENT WEISSMAN'S "NERD CAMP" (REVIEW)

    This is a fantastic book for kids from ages 8 to 12. I just finished it and it is not only an entertaining story but it's fun and teaches a kids a valuable lesson about how important it is to just be themselves. The story is written with just the right amount of humor to keep you interested and even teaches you a few interesting facts along the way! I would definitely recommend this book to children of this age group and even to adults that enjoy a good middle grade book read from time to time.

    Elissa Weissman writes with knowledge and the kind of humor that is somewhat reminiscent of the "Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series. I really loved this book and have passed it on to my daughter who was just dying to add it to her collection to read.

    -Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud Book Club

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2013

    Nerd Camp

    Nerd Camp is a great laugh for kids 8-12. It really draws you in and makes you want to read all day. Gabe is really smart and is so excited to be accepted into this extra education camp. It got the name by....well you have to read to find out. Read about Gabe and his friends on their nerdy adventures!

    - Young Mind Reporter

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2012

    Amazing

    This book was awsome. I recommend it to anyone. It keeps you off the edge of your seat and you even learn while being entertained. Best book ever!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    Almost done

    Best ever read it it is for all ages

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    Amazing

    Read this over the summer good so amazing

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2012

    uhhh

    pretty boring i say two stars dont call me a hater i just think it is not that entertaining

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 10, 2011

    The best!

    Love it!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2012

    Amazing!

    This book is great. It's a great summer read for kids. So I truly liked this book! So you should read this book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 3, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

    &heart

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2014

    ARSENAL

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2013

    H

    I saw this book at barnes and noble and it was ten bucks! It is cheaper and veru funn

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2013

    Nerd camp

    Worst book ive ever read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2013

    Awesome

    This is a funny book for all ages and just keeps you wanting to read more!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2012

    ?

    ?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2012

    Book is soooo adorkable!

    Great book this is a must read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2012

    Proud

    Im a nerd, and i'm proud!!!
    And this was a nice book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2012

    DANI TO ALL

    We are moving camp because too many people got locked out. New place is taekwondo all results.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2012

    My book?

    My friend is reading this book and she says it is amazing but, i don't know if i should get it or not. What do you guys think?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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