The Summer I Became a Nerd

( 43 )


On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader?perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she?s a nerd hiding in a popular girl's body isn?t just unknown, it's anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the ...

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On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl's body isn’t just unknown, it's anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—After being laughed off the stage when she dressed as her favorite comic-book character during a junior-high costume contest, Madelyne Summers vowed never to be uncool again. Now 17, she has worked tirelessly to develop her image as a typical blond cheerleader who dates the quarterback at her Louisiana high school and squeals when her favorite pop singer comes on the radio. However, underneath the popular facade Maddie is still a comic-book fanatic, but she will do anything to keep her nerd persona under wraps-even if it means she has to lie to her best friend, her parents, and herself. Enter Logan, the nerd who works at the local comic-book store, and Maddie's world is turned upside down. Will a summer romance with Logan spent reading comics and creating characters for live-action, role-playing games be enough to convince her that being herself is more important than popularity? Miller's debut novel is quick-paced and humorous. These qualities, along with a romance-driven plot, are enough to attract fans of the genre. However readers who aren't able to identify with the "nerd" side of Maddie and don't understand the comic-book references may be turned off. Still, Miller has created an engaging and entertaining story. Purchase where chick lit is a hit or with specific "closeted nerds" in mind.—Betsy Davidson, Cortland Free Library, NY
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781620612385
  • Publisher: Entangled Publishing
  • Publication date: 5/7/2013
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 221,626
  • Age range: 15 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Mother, wife, and YA author living on a windy hill in Natchitoches, Louisiana, Leah Rae Miller loves fuzzy socks, comic books, cherry coke, and brand new office supplies. The Summer I Became a Nerd is her first novel.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 43 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 43 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2013

    Oh, how I adore this book!!! I happened to see a tweet a few wee

    Oh, how I adore this book!!! I happened to see a tweet a few weeks ago from Heather at Entangled Publishing offering folks the chance
    to read this book in ARC form in exchange for an honest review. I had heard about the book a while back when they did a cover reveal
    around the blogosphere, and I knew I wanted to read it, so I jumped at the chance. And I am so glad that I did! To be honest, I don't read
    a lot of contemporaries, or many humorous books, so this book was very refreshing and came at the perfect time.

    At bottom, this is a book about being true to who you are, about not putting on a mask or creating a character for yourself to play that
    corresponds with who you think you "should" be or are expected to be. It is a great message, and I LOVE IT. I can't believe I'm about to
    say this, because I LOVE the movie GREASE (and GREASE 2!) and can recite pretty much every single line in the movie (and the
    soundtrack remains in my car permanently, because you never know when you just HAVE to hear "There Are Worse Things I Could
    Do"!!), BUT I'll just be honest: the message of this book is pretty much the antithesis of the message of GREASE, and that's a good
    thing. I know I'm dating myself, so bear with me if you're a young'un who (GASP) hasn't seen the movie... As we know, in GREASE
    Sandy wants a boy, Danny, so she completely changes her look and her behavior to get him; she becomes someone not really her,
    pouring herself into tight leather pants, strapping on high heels, and even smoking a cigarette. Finally, of course, Danny realizes he
    wants to be with her and oh, how nice, he'll no longer be mocked for falling in love with good girl Sandra Dee. Nice. As much as I love
    that movie, I've always been uncomfortable with the message that it sends, even as far back as when I was 10. This book, however,
    has the total opposite message - ie, that being true to yourself and who you are is really the only way to find TRUE happiness...and
    true love. With the unbelievable pressures kids face these days, the bullying and the anti-intellectualism and all that, I applaud Ms.
    Miller for embracing this message!!

    Now, despite what I just said, you shouldn't think this book is sickeningly sappy, or that it's heavy-handed or preachy about how kids
    should act, because it's not. It is just a hilarious book with great characters and a fun plot that subtly reminds us that it's okay to be who
    we really are. There were times when I would bust out laughing while reading the book, several nights, in fact, causing a little friction in
    my marriage because my husband was trying to sleep or something :) (at those times I would reluctantly put it aside and pull out the
    dystopian I was also reading!). If Ms. Miller is half as funny in real life as she was writing this book, then I have no doubt I would love
    hanging out with her!

    I would also love to hang out with one Madelyne Jean Summers, or Maddie as her friends and family call her. In fact, she reminded me
    a lot of myself during high school! (That seems to be a common thread running through many people's experience with the book; she's
    a very relatable character.) Okay, so I was definitely NOT a cheerleader, nor was I at (or anywhere near) the top of my school's popularity
    pyramid, but boy did I ever see myself in many of her actions and thoughts when she was geeking out in private! The major difference is
    that I never really tried to hide my nerdiness - it would've been near impossible anyway, what with my coke bottle glasses, my straight
    As, and my penchant for books with dragons or spaceships on the cover! I also had Maddie's sarcasm and snarkiness, although, like
    her, I wasn't mean when I was being snarky. Often it was a defense mechanism of sorts, which I felt was also the case for Maddie. I'd
    say that most of the passages I flagged while reading were Maddie's own words, whether in dialogue with another character or just
    talking to herself. She's a funny girl!

    Ms. Miller did an excellent job with the actual writing in this book. It was so easy to read, but not because it's juvenile or unsophisticated
    writing; in fact, I felt it was quite the opposite. There are so many great quotes I pulled out from this book; I wrote down quite a few gems,
    in several cases making the notation "SO ME!!" next to them :) And not all of them were funny; Ms. Miller also wrote great serious scenes
    and dialogue, romantic scenes that will make your stomach flutter as if *you* are the one falling in love for the first time, and really fun
    action scenes. I've never been to Natchitoches, but it sure came alive for me through her writing, which I guess makes sense since she
    lives there! But it's still not something that every writer can pull off, even if they are writing about their own town. I made a note at one
    point that her imagery was excellent, that I could see what was happening in my head as if it were a movie. She also nailed what it's like
    to grow up in a small town in the South - the gossip, how everyone knows everyone else, the high school parties, all of it.

    I also really appreciated the fact that parents were a significant part of the story; several characters' parents show up and are active
    throughout. In fact, it wasn't just parents but also siblings, and it was so much fun to get to see the main characters interacting with their
    families. Speaking of characters, I adored them! Each one was really a distinct personality, and they complemented one another so
    well, even when they were in conflict with each other. In other words, there was no character that seemed out of place or unnecessary in
    the book. Dan, Logan's best friend, was definitely a top contender for my affection ;) I think that there will be at least one character in the
    book that everyone can relate to, or that will remind you of someone you knew growing up. In my opinion, that ability to identify with the
    characters makes for a great reading experience. You will root for all of them, I promise!! (Well, except, perhaps, for a certain "dark fairy"
    and drama queen cheerleader....)

    I had so many quotes I wanted to share with you in this review, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt it would be best to let each
    reader experience these in context and enjoy discovering them for the first time on their own. I will say, however, that my favorite scene is
    near the beginning of the book, and finds our dear Maddie in the alley next to the comic book shop in shades, her dad's ball cap, and a
    sweatshirt, despite the Louisiana summer heat. I promise you, you WILL laugh at her encounter with Mr. More Money! Finally, I will close
    with a quote from the final issue of Maddie's favorite comic series: "Be true to yourself and others will be true to you, too." Let's all do our
    best to instill that message in our children - and ourselves!

    Thank you to Entangled Publishing and Leah Rae Miller for letting me read an ARC of this book. I had a blast reading it, and I'll be
    recommending it to as many people as I can!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 11, 2013

    A review copy was given to me by the publisher in exchange for a

    A review copy was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

    If you are looking for a wonderful summertime read, this book is absolutely perfect. I adored absolutely everything about this book, and I’m sure you will too.

    Madelyne Summers is an all-American girl. She is very popular in school, has a lot of friends, and is a cheerleader. But deep inside, she is a flat-out major nerd, but she can’t show it to anyone in fear that she’ll be made fun of. Over the summer, she gets to really know Logan and immerse herself in the world of nerd awesomeness. But can she let go of all her insecurities and just be herself before she loses Logan forever?

    Maddie was a really great heroine when she was totally being herself. I loved when she was with Logan but didn’t really like when she was pretending to be someone that she is not. I thought it was so great how she has had a crush on Logan for a while when her true self was in hiding. I loved her development throughout the book, starting with a girl who disguised herself to walk into a comic store to a girl who shouts out her feelings for a nerd. In public. It was a great transition, and she ended up who she was on the inside on the outside.

    Logan is the most adorkablest guy in the whole planet. I seriously want my own. He’s the epitome of sweetness and cuteness wrapped into one delicious package. He’s on the soccer team but is a total nerd like Maddie. He’s really sure of himself and who he is, and he helps Maddie realize that it’s definitely okay to be a nerd on the outside. But oh my word. I swooned hard over Logan. Logan the good boy for the win!

    Dan, Logan’s best friend, is the comedian of this book. He may be hilarious, but he as a freakishly deep side which was really helpful to Maddie. I loved Logan’s family too, especially his mom. Eric, Maddie’s boyfriend, I could have done without. He represented everything that Maddie was on the outside. Superficial. Terra, Maddie’s best friend, was pretty shallow and really annoying at the beginning, but she redeemed herself at the end.

    The plot was amazing. I read it in one sitting, which is surprisingly hard in college to find the time. Miller’s writing was pure genius. Maddie’s POV was snarky and funny, and I just got her completely. All her insecurities were my insecurities. All her swooning over adorkable Logan was my swooning over adorkable Logan. Maddie and Logan have the cutest relationship ever. They bond together over their common love of nerdy things, and they have a solid friendship. It blossoms into something way more. They seriously had the cutest moments together. Just read and you’ll see. :)

    If you can’t tell by my glowing review, I definitely recommend this book for everyone. I read it just in time for summer, even though I’m already a nerd. Enjoy!

    Favorite Swoon-worthy Quote: Despite the heat, a shiver runs across my neck. I turn and lean into him. He plants his lips firmly against mine and wraps his arms around me, pulling me to him. We stay like that for a very long time. I run my hands through his already messy hair. His hands drift up my back, and I don’t care that the itchy fabric of my cheerleader top is scratching my skin even more, because he’s the reason. He’s the reason for a lot of things these days.

    Rating: 5/5 Tar Heels!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    So if you're too school for cool  And you're treated like a fool

    So if you're too school for cool 
    And you're treated like a fool
    You could choose to let it go
    We can always, we can always party on our own~Pink 

    So nerds, let us party on our own, and read this wonderfully cute book. 
    Maddie is a cheerleading, pop-music loving, boy obsessed, popular girl, or is she? Who is  Madelyne Summers? Does she even like to cheerlead? Alright so I won’t go spoiling THAT big question ;) but I will say this, there is more to her than meets the eye (next thing you know I’ll be quoting Spider Man).
    Let me set the scene, first week of summer she is absolutely and 100% percent excited! But about what? Hanging out with her boyfriend? NO. Going to the beach? No. A new comic book? Shhh! *cough...yes...cough* Madelyne Summers is a nerd, *GASP*. Alright so if you didn’t catch any of the sarcasm in any of that, congratulations internet you have successfully rendered my humor obsolete. applause ensues.
    Maddie is a sweetie pie when she is true to herself and when she isn't worried about appearances I really enjoyed her. But it was getting through the moment when she was ashamed of liking superheroes or thinking that the new pop singer song is crap. I am, however, biased. I went to see Avenger three times in theaters, I saw Hunger Games twice, I went to see one of my favorite authors and almost fainted, and going to Comic-con is on my Bucket List (just to give you a glimpse of my nerdiness).
    So, having to go through her tug-of-war of being O.K. with her nerdiness did get a little frustrating. She did make up for it all though but I won't say too much to ruin it all. 
    Though the book is about Maddie and her journey, there is-of course :)- a guy. Now I won’t go as far to say that he is my all time favorite book boyfriend of all time. But if I met a Logan in real life I’d be like, Marry me marry me now!
    He is such a sweet, honest, and patient guy that gives everybody way more chances than they deserve. He is, in one word: adorkable, completely and utterly 100% unavoidably adorkable and OMG I love him.
    So if you want to laugh your patootie off, get embarrassed, what a sweet romance unfold, and journey through a summer of self discovery then pick up one of this years perfect summer reads, The Summer I Became A Nerd by Leah Rae Miller. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    4.5 If you're looking for a great summer read, this is it! Gra


    If you're looking for a great summer read, this is it! Grab it, and enjoy!

    The title pulled me in. You know, since i have nerdy tendencies. The hubby makes fun of me for it, but he loves me because of my nerdiness! :P Anyways, we get to see Maddie as a child, and learn why she tries to so hard to be the popular girl. The Summer I Became a Nerd is about Maddie learning to be comfortable with herself. She's constantly trying to make sure everyone else is happy with her, but not if she's happy with herself.

    While I adored Maddie, there were times I wanted to wring her neck. She acts like the world will end if people know she loves comic books. But she doesn't understand, that really nobody cares that much. And if they do, they are jerks. I wished she could always be herself instead of hiding who she was from the people she's supposed to be closest to. Maddie finds herself sucked into a fun summer with Logan. He makes her happy, and feel comfortable. The only problem is Maddie's told so many lies she doesn't know what to do. She can't keep being fake because she's bound to explode.

    This is such an endearing book. I didn't want to put it down. It's light, and you learn a lesson at the end. Well, we know the lesson, but Maddie finds it a little harder to comprehend. It's a fun read, and I can't recommend it enough. Leah's writing style is great. She keeps things simple, but definitely knows her "adorkable" nerd talk. :D Some of my friends will be getting this as gifts. ;) Perfect for a summer spent by the pool, or at The Phoenix!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 7, 2013

    To quote Logan, ¿For all that¿s good and holy!¿ This book is ful

    To quote Logan, “For all that’s good and holy!” This book is full of geeky awesomeness that can’t be fully described in a review.

    Be ready to bring out your inner geek in full force. Get your reading glasses ready, your PJs and please, please get yourself some cookies (and something to drink!) because The Summer I Became a Nerd hit the fandom feeling right in the center and will have you geeking out along with her. 

    Lea Rae Miller’s debut novel has clever dialogues, laugh out loud moments, super relatable characters and a summer romance that will have you looking into comics stores for your own Logan. 

    What I really enjoyed about this book was the new take on the popular/nerdy dilemma. 
    Maddie is your typical blond cheerleader. She has good grades, she knows everything about the latest TV drama, she loves the new “IT” singer and she has the star quarterback as boyfriend. But still she wants more. Maddie wants to enjoy a summer full of catching up to comics in the safety of her home, but the Lord of all that’s awesome has other plans… and that new comic issue she’s been dying to read? Yeah... out of stock, so she has to wait or venture into the comic store in town. 

    Now, this is where all the fun begins and we meet Logan! Logan is your hometown nerd.

    He also is the goalie in the soccer team (Hello, good body of Logan!) has blue – blue eyes and freckles… perfection, anyone?Logan is also one of the sweetest guys ever written. 

    The summer I Became a Nerd is a beautiful story of self-discovery and finding real love. Maddie jumps into the full world of geekyness and she loves it. 
    Logan takes her into the mysterious and fun world of role playing. He teaches her how good it feels to be herself and not pretend all the time. He gives a secret name during his radio show, because what kind of geeky book it would be if we didn’t have an indie radio show, uh?
    But through it all we have Logan’s ex waiting to get her evil claws on him and the threat of the summer ending, or someone finding out about her dirty little secret. 

    Maddie makes a lot of mistakes along the way. And she also hurts the same people she was trying to protect but what’s worse is that she hurts herself so much more by hiding than she can realize. 
    And it’s all that what I think makes so believable and true. We’ve all been there, unsure of ourselves and trying to hide how much we rather be at home in PJs reading a book on Saturday night than going out with friends., while at the same time, we want to feel like we belong.
    This is the heart of the book and what I really loved about it. 

    “Be true to yourself and others will be true to you, too.” Yeah right, what a crock.
    I’d be true to you no matter what.

    The Summer I Became a Nerd is the perfect book for when you’re going through a rough patch of dealing with your nerdy life. While Maddie discovers who she is and learns to accept that, you see all this wonderful new world of awesomeness… and the world is again a happy place.  
    Leah Rae Miller writes a wonderful story that will catch you from page one. I was cheering for Maddie and Logan since the moment she sets her foot into The Phoenix. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2014

    Cute, light read

    How adorable is the love interest? The main character is 9/10 likeable -- she just didn't know being a nerd is not that weird these days.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2014

    The summer i became a nerd

    I was addicted to this book! It was one of the cutest things i have ever read. Can't wait for more

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2013

    Awesoma Awesome

    If you love comics and a bit of dramatic romance like me this is the perfect book for you I LOVE BEING A NERD!!!

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  • Posted September 19, 2013

    It¿s very rare when I read a book that is centered in Louisiana.

    It’s very rare when I read a book that is centered in Louisiana. It is even rarer when I find one that is written by a native Louisiana author.

    That is the main reason I picked this book out.

    The heart and soul I found when I started reading is what made me stick around.

    The Summer I Became a Nerd is delightful! I instantly fell in love with Maddie’s world and I felt like I could relate to her hiding things she likes. It’s great to read about someone finding themselves and not caring what anyone else thinks.
    I fell in step beside her and Logan whenever they were together. Their parts were my favorite. Hilarious and adorable.

    The atmosphere of this book reminded me of a Sarah Dessen novel (whom I love) and the whimsy that surrounds this group of characters was reminiscent of a John Green book (ahem, who I may love more).

    Dan. The. Freakin. Man.
    He made the damn book for me. He was just great in every scene he stepped into. Charming. Witty. Sly. Dirty Mouth Dan.

    Not only could I relate to all the geeky stuff, I absolutely related to the Louisiana aspects.

    The gross, sticky warm weather.
    The beauty in just a field speckled with Magnolia trees.
    LSU Tigers!
    The Festival of Lights in Natchitoches around Christmas time.

    It was refreshing to say the least.

    You want one word to sum this book up? One word to make you need no other reason to absolutely read it?

    This book is awesome.

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  • Posted August 20, 2013

    A Great Summer Read! I found that this story was just adorable.

    A Great Summer Read!
    I found that this story was just adorable.  It was such a great summer read, and of course the nerd in my really enjoyed the story.  Granted, I'm not a huge comic book person.  My inner nerd comes from the kinds of movies/TV shows I like.  And of course my friends call me a book nerd *but the truth is the truth*.  Anyways, I can appreciate what Maddie, our main character, is experiencing through the story. There were a lot of times in high school that I didn't let people know how much I liked to read, and I didn't tell everybody that I loved Comic-Con.  Eventually though I realized that being me was the most important thing.
    Maddie goes through a journey to discover that for herself, but the journey is fun and full of humor and nerdiness.  Logan is one of the cutest nerds I've ever had the pleasure to enjoy in a story.  I'm so happy that we got to meet him early in the story.  There wasn't all this tension in the story that drove me crazy.  It was a fun friendship/relationship that I could root for. 
    The dialouge in this story was SO WELL-WRITTEN!  I mean I laughed so hard at times, but Dan *Logan's best friend* was such a great character.  His dialouge was fabulous!  
    Who Should Read It:  For all the nerds out there, read this.  For those mourning the end of summer, pick this up for your last hurrah!

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  • Posted August 19, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Purple: "Be true to yourself and others will be true to you

    Purple: "Be true to yourself and others will be true to you, too." Yeah right, what a crock.
    Green: I'd be true to you no matter what. 

    I really hate to use the word "cute" to describe a book. I do. But it is the best word to describe this one. Adorkable also works. I absolutely devoured this book and all its nerdy goodness. From comic books and comic books shops to LARPing and NerdCon, there was just so much awesome nerdy goodness in this book. How could I not love it?

    Maddie, aka Wonderful Wendy, was such a darned likable character. I want to be friends with her. If she was real and closer to my age, I have to think we'd totally be friends. Maddie was so believably conflicted in the first part of this book. She fought hard to hide her geeky tendencies and to become popular. Now she's a cheerleader. She dates the quarterback. Everyone knows her. But only a few people know the "real Maddie," the closet comic book nerd who daydreams about the cute nerdy boy. I would venture a guess most people can relate to Maddie and her feelings. We all know it wasn't really cool to be who you really were in high school. If you wanted to fit in, you had to be like everyone else. It could be downright exhausting at times. 

    "No fantasizing about kissing adorkable nerd boys for me, no matter how kissable they look." 

    Awesome Logan was totally swoon-worthy. Soccer player. Radio DJ. Comic book aficionado. LARP-player. What more could a girl ask for? He was sweet and vulnerable and I just wanted to hug him. The chemistry between him and Maddie was perfectly written for a YA book. It was clean and sweet and completely realistic. 

    "Did you just blackmail the game master?" 
    "A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do." 

    I even connected with the secondary characters in this book. Logan's mom, Martha, was one of my favorite characters in the book. She was just so awesome. I absolutely loved her interactions with Maddie. I'm a sucker for when a parent helps a boy/girl make the grand gesture that saves a relationship. Dan just made me laugh. He was the perfect sidekick for Logan. Even Terra, though I had my doubts about her initially, pleasantly surprised me by being a whole lot less superficial than I suspected. 

    This was just a totally feel-good read. I loved the writing. Everything from the characters to the plot to the dialogue just felt real. It was believable. It had funny moments and "aww" moments and was exactly the happy read I needed tonight. It just made me smile and want to hug my iPad. And I just might have. :)

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  • Posted July 31, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    This was a very sweet and fun novel. It was all bout learning ho

    This was a very sweet and fun novel. It was all bout learning how to be who you are and accepting yourself the way you are, because in the end there's no one else you can actually be. Maddie was this perfectly comic nerd, she was just lost to all those glossy pages filled with amazing superheroes, but she was so ashamed of admitting it and of being outcast for it. Logan just embraces his full body of nerdom. He loves it and he wants Maddie to be proud of being that way as well. I loved this story, it was very cute and innocent and just so heartwarming.

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  • Posted July 16, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Maddie Summers is a closet nerd--literally. She hides her proof

    Maddie Summers is a closet nerd--literally. She hides her proof in her closet, away from even her best friend and boyfriend, sure her life will be over if anyone finds out about her.

    For the first 60% of this book, the heroine made me a little crazy. Her "I can't admit I like comic books or my social life will be ruined" attitude seemed way over the top, and what she did as a result of it got more and more ridiculous. I know high school was a while ago for me, but I spend time with junior high and high school kids daily, and her fears felt just too extreme to be believed. However, Miller pulled me in for the last third or so of the book. Once Maddie manages to get over herself and realize just how self-absorbed she's acting and decides to try to fix the mess she's made, the book picks up and I ended up really enjoying it in the end.

    Four stars for a unique idea and good message, even if the live-action role playing bits were a bit over my not-quite-nerdish-enough head. I'll definitely be looking for more from this author!

    (I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2013


    You know nerd is an offensive title to some people. No wonder she had a cheerleader say it!

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 12, 2013

    I kicked off my Memorial Day weekend¿which in my brain is the of

    I kicked off my Memorial Day weekend—which in my brain is the official start of summer—with this book.

    (Now y’all know how long it takes me to get around to writing a review. Feel free to shame me in comments.)

    I kind of chose this because it had “summer” in the title, but also, and more importantly, because it has “nerd” in the title.

    I love nerds.

    And the premise of this book very much reminded me of, well, me in high school. (Narcissism! Always a way to get me to read your book!) I was the closet nerd, who dressed up to go to school in my preppy attire with my perfect make-up and heels, then ran home to binge watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer on USA or whatever channel it was syndicated on in the afternoons. (The fact that I can’t remember that is really bothering me.) At the time, watching Buffy re-runs was not a cool thing to do.

    Clearly I was right about that one, though.

    Anyway, I loved the idea behind The Summer I Became a Nerd before I started it and it did not disappoint. Though I found the main character, Maddie, to be a little immature in her decision making process at times, I had to remind myself that, hello, she’s in high school. She is a little immature. Hell, I’m nearly ten years removed from high school and I’m still a little immature. And in the times I was like, “Screw your friends if they don’t accept you for who you are! Let your nerd flag fly!” I had to also remind myself of how important appearances are in high school, especially in a small town.

    But don’t you worry, Maddie definitely eases into her summer of nerdification.

    And ya’ll.

    This book has LARPing.

    (LARP = Live Action Role Play.)

    I became fascinated with LARPing in college, when I could see the LARPers doing their LARP thing out of the window of my work study cubicle on Friday afternoons. I’ve never gotten my lady balls together to go and actually LARP myself, so I was really excited when Maddie decides to go for it. And is awesome.

    I totally live vicariously through characters. Don’t act like you don’t.

    Aside from Maddie’s arc of learning to become brave enough to be herself, I think my favorite aspect of this book was her relationship with Logan’s—the cute boy who works at the comic book shop—mom, who was fantastic. I love when books have cool, caring, really great moms in them. A whole bunch.

    Overall, The Summer I Became a Nerd is a quick, satisfying read with a sweet love story and heroine’s journey at its center and the always-important message of being comfortable enough with who you are to be that person at all times. It’s a lesson that we all need to be reminded of from time to time, and when it’s in a book as fun as this one is, then it’s just that much better.

    Now I’m going to go find a LARP group that will agree to deal with me.

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  • Posted June 11, 2013

    Where should I start with how amazingly awesome this book was???

    Where should I start with how amazingly awesome this book was??? One of the things that was so great was this book was pure YA! Teenagers with teen problems… so good!

    Anyway… Maddie got made fun of in middle school (seriously, didn’t we all???) and so she made it a project to make herself over into popular girl.  Sort of like a neat little check list, cheerleader, football boyfriend, right clothes, check, check, and check!!!! What it also means is hiding all the things that might make her a nerd.  The biggest thing being her obsession with comic books. And her obsession with comic books leads her to meet Logan… who it turns out might be the perfect guy for her.

    Maddie and Logan are such great characters.  What I like so much about them is that there is a lot about learning to be true to yourself.  Such an easy thing to say, but so hard to do!  Maddie goes through such a hard road to get to the end of the book.

    It was awesome!

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  • Posted June 8, 2013

    This book is about love, magic, and the hell of high school.  Af

    This book is about love, magic, and the hell of high school. 
    After a traumatic costume contest in elementary school, Maddie decided that she would do anything to avoid that embarrassment again. Seventeen years later, Maddie is the perfect popular cheerleader with a football star boyfriend. She forces herself to listen to music she doesn't like and schmoozes catty girls to keep her life that way.
    Maddie's perfectly maintained, if boring, life starts to slip out of her grasp the day that she learns that the final issue of her favorite comic isn't in the mail and that the only available copy resides at The Phoenix, the local comic book store. How can Maddie reconcile her need for acceptance against the magic world that exists inside of her?
    Don't let my boring synopsis throw you, I loved this book. I think that everyone can identify with Maddie's struggle between being herself and fitting in with the crowd. The great thing is that Leah Rae Miller didn't push the issue too much, but let us get wrapped up in the magical world of comics and LARP. Yes, that's right, they LARP in this book. Let me tell you, it made me want to go out and find a group of fairies and freaks to hang out with. (Not that there is much chance of that in Montana...)
    The novel was easy to read and flowed nicely. There weren't any slow points and I didn't hate any of the characters. While Maddie was occasionally a bit immature, that's kinda what happens at her age. I do wish that there had been a little more sidekick action as there was a lot of potential there. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a second book where Terra falls for Dan. After all, "All is donkey balls in love and war." 
    My Recommendation
    I really enjoyed this story and it's safe for all ages. I give it  4/5 - I really liked it 

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  • Posted June 5, 2013

    We all know the classic storyline. The nerdy guy, ridiculed in s

    We all know the classic storyline. The nerdy guy, ridiculed in school or just plain ignored, falls for the hot, popular cheerleader. Maybe he offers to pay her to act like they are dating. 
    Maybe he and his nerdy friends exact the perfect revenge on the bullying jocks that torment them.   And it usually ends with the cheerleader recognizing what a great guy he is and they live happily ever after.  

    But how often to do you see the hot cheerleader pursuing the geeky guy, because deep down, she is actually a giant nerd too? That is the set up for author Leah Rae Miller's fun debut, The Summer I Became a Nerd. Guys, if you are looking for a great summertime read, take note. Not only is The Summer I Became a Nerd full of all the good stuff you want out of a beach read, humorous, engaging, and featuring a really hot guy who will make you SWOON, it also has depth. I know from interviews I have read that author Leah Rae Miller didn't  really set out to write a book that sent a positive message, but she did. She tackled some issues that I think most of us face at some point in our life. Issues like the role popularity plays in a young adult's life as well as fitting in with the crowd or conforming to what is deemed "normal" and "acceptable" behavior, are all touched upon in this book. In fact, those are the things I loved most about The Summer I Became a Nerd.  The romance was great. The nerding out was hilarious and really fun to read. But the message to be true to yourself and others will be true to you, too is what makes this book such a awesome feel-good read. 
    The Summer I Became a Nerd kicks off with a prologue chronicling a life changing moment for our protagonist Maddie Summers. She's in Jr. High and is super excited about the annual Halloween Festival and costume contest. Why? Because this year she knows she's going to win. She's dressing up as her favorite comic book heroine: Spectrum Girl from the comic series The Pigments. She's worked so hard on her costume, and she just KNOWS that the judges are going to going to love her highly original (and awesome) costume. With the standard costume choices being witches, robots and cheerleaders, you can probably see where this is going. Maddie was laughed right off the stage for loving comic books and that was the moment she decided that she would never let anyone hurt her like that again.
    Flash forward seven or so years and Maddie is a totally different girl. She's a cheerleader. She's got a super close bestie who she would do anything for. And her boyfriend is the school's quarterback. She's blonde and beautiful and has put all that comic book nonsense behind her. Or has she? It turns out that even though Maddie managed to transform herself into the epitome of high school popularity, she is still very much into comics. In fact she keeps a stash of her favorite series' as well as a stack of journals where she organizes all her thoughts regarding the books, their plots, characters, etc., carefully hidden away at the top of her closet. And that isn't the only thing in the closet. Maddie is a still a comic book, science fiction loving, NERD. And other than her older brother, who is away at college, nobody, not her friends or her boyfriend, know her secret. 

    Maddie's latest obsession is The Super Ones comic series, which has just published it's final book. And when her book doesn't arrive by mail order, Maddie is forced to do the unthinkable: walk into the local comic book store and purchase the book, risking certain exposure and throwing her carefully crafted image straight out the window. 
    Now before you say "Come on! It's just a comic book! What's the big deal about walking into a store and buying one? How bad would it be if anyone discovered this about her?" let me remind you of  what it's like inside the average teenage mind. I say this because I had to remind myself. It's been QUITE a while since I was a teenager. And while I am very comfortable in my shoes today, it wasn't always that way. I clearly remember the hell that was middle school (me in glasses with crooked teeth, all skinny arms and legs, completely clumsy and awkward.)  I totally recognize how taking a hit to your self esteem can do a number on your head. 

    And also, while nerdy boys who like computers, video games and comic books and wear awesome black framed glasses, and cool vintage tee shirts are totally hip in this day and age, geek was NOT always chic. Three words. Anthony. Michael. Hall. One only needs to take a look at some of John Hughes classic 1980's films to understand why Maddie was scared for anyone to discover her secret life.
    Face it. Geeks and nerds have since come a long way.

    So Maddie feels pretty justified in her fears of exposure. She devises a plan to get her hands on that last edition of The Super Ones. Risking heatstroke from the unyielding Louisiana heat and humidity, Maddie disguises herself and heads to the local comic book store The Phoenix. She plans to be in and out with no one the wiser. The thing that Maddie never banked on was finding her geek idol working the cash register. Enter Logan Scott. Swoon. Logan is totally hipster geeky. He's the goalie on the high school soccer team. He has messy brown curly/wavy-ish hair and wears beat up black chucks. He has FRECKLES on his nose *love*. His parents own the comic book store. He is always reading, and not just comics, sometimes high fantasy stuff. In other words, he is a TOTAL DREAMBOAT. I gurantee you are going to find Logan to be totally charming and an undeniably hot romantic lead.
    But Logan is also a really fun guy too. Through him Maddie faces her fear about being  a dork, because by her definition, Logan's a total dork too. He introduces her to LARP (Live Action Role Playing) and wants to take her to Nerd Con. It is adorable. And it is clear to the reader that Maddie and Logan are cut from the same cloth and perfect for each other. If only Maddie could see that too. 

    I have already mentioned the fact that what I love most about The Summer I Became a Nerd  is the positive message it sends. It's awesome witnessing Maddie's growth in this book. She's an interesting character. It would be easy to dislike her, and don't get me wrong, some of her actions frustrated the heck out of me, but her heart is in the right place so I could sympathize with her. There are some instances when she really hurts other people's feelings, but that makes her redemption in the end even better. 
    And another thing I love? Secondary character Dan. I know. Me falling for a secondary character again. SHOCKER. But Dan is great. He is Logan's best friend and always has his back. When Maddie is acting shallow and unfair, it's Dan that puts her in her place. I loved his sarcastic, witty retorts. Dan is definitely a great sidekick  to Logan. 

    Another cool thing about this book? The role of parental units aren't swept under the rug. Maddie has a great relationship with her folks, I loved that she enjoys watching sci fi with her dad because it reminded me of me and my dad laying in front of the TV watching Star Trek re-runs. And Logan's mom was a fantastic character and turned out to be a real ally to Maddie in the end. Hooray for positive and prominent parental figures in a YA book:)
    And I LOVED  getting this kind of inside view at the world of LARP. Ditto for all the in depth critiques and fangirling over different superheroes from comic books.  I love some science fiction (Star Trek re-runs, remember) but I've never been into attending conventions or anything. So reading about it from the viewpoint of Maddie and Logan, true fans, was one of my favorite aspects of this book. It totally endeared those characters to me:) 

    So in summation, The Summer I Became a Nerd was a great read. The characters were fresh and charming. The romance (v

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  • Posted June 2, 2013

    Once again, this is another book that grabbed my interest due to

    Once again, this is another book that grabbed my interest due to its colorful and eye-catching cover (not to mention the attention-grabbing title); and the story is just as colorful and engaging as what the cover promises it to be. What also got me interested in reading this story is the whole nerd-hides-in-cheerleader’s-body premise. It’s original and different to anything I’ve ever read before. It’s not every day you get to read about a cheerleader living a double life!

    It was great to read something that is the opposite of the usual YA plot. Maddie is a charming character and far removed from the stereotypical YA protagonist. I didn’t always agree with her decisions and sometimes she could be downright annoying, but she has loads of redeeming qualities and a fun and outgoing personality, which makes her easy to like. Logan is a great guy, but he’s much more of an introvert than Maddie and although he’s likeable, he’s character didn’t really grow or develop, and it was hard for me to see why Maggie would fall in love with him right at the start of the story, other than for their shared love of comic books. It would’ve been easier for me to understand why they would eventually fall in love after spending some time together and participating in role playing games (like the one they did), but they had that instant-love thing going, and that didn’t work for me. My favorite character, albeit a secondary one, was Dan-the-Man. He brought most of the laugh-out-loud humor to this story and he was easy to visualize and feel a familiarity with. I also liked how the author brought Logan’s family to life. All I’ll say here is he has a really cool mom; the type of mother who’ll be the envy of nerds worldwide, I’m sure.

    The only other drawback for me was that although the characters – Maddie and Logan – are described as sixteen-year-olds, their actions, interactions, and their dialogue was more that of two thirteen-year-olds. Their maturity levels were those of two younger teens. It didn’t spoil the story for me or anything, it was just the way I read the story and it worked fine for me. I especially enjoyed the ending and how events came together to form the conclusion. The lesson Maddie learns about trust, honesty, friendship and all the ways it’s possible to hurt the ones we love unintentionally, is a truth the author delivers expertly.

    The Summer I Became a Nerd is light, fun, unique, and delightfully entertaining; ideal for those hot summer days next to the pool or on the beach. It is a well-written, fast-paced story with a clean and simple plot, perfect for readers of all ages!

    I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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  • Posted May 26, 2013

    I truly enjoyed the story of Wonderful Wendy and Awesome Logan,

    I truly enjoyed the story of Wonderful Wendy and Awesome Logan, AKA Maddie and Logan. Such a sweet, innocent, and inspiring story about the troubles of high school, popularity and the precarious line teenagers walk in trying to find their true selves. Not only that, but being happy with themselves no matter what. The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller earns 4 stars from me!
    I was rooting right from the beginning for Maddie to look past the superficial popular life she has built for herself and to be happy with the thing she was most passionate about; the thing that would label her a nerd and a joke to everyone else. And then I rooted for Logan to obtain what his heart desired. These two made an interesting pair as their summer revealed pasts and truths at the most inconvenient times that sent them on a completely different path than either of them could have ever imagined.
    A good, wholesome book about the travesties and insecurities of young adults and that high school is just a blip in the grand scheme of life.

    (I received an ARC for my honest review and this is my honest to goodness, straight from the heart review!)

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