Review: Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern

Title: Into the Wild Nerd Yonder
Author: Julie Halpern
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Pub. Date: Today! (9/29/09)
Genre: YA
Main Themes: Friendship, Popularity, Love, Peer Pressure
Pages: 224
Plot (from back of ARC):
Life on the Dork Side.
“It’s Jessie’s sophmore 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?”

Julie Halpern has written a perfect coming-of-age story told by a quirky heroine that I couldn’t help but like!

The plot of Into the Wild Nerd Yonder was adorable, but it wasn’t simply a cutesy novel. I was astounded by Julie Halpern’s ability to mix heavy social situations and problems with such a seemingly cute coming-of-age story. It makes sense that a coming-of-age story would have messy aspects – after all, there is nothing about growing up that is neat and tidy – but Julie Halpern wove these unsavory aspects into the novel so seamlessy! The author for a way to comment on cliques, sex, STDs, partying, popularity, and more, all while maintaining a story with humorous and witty dialogue and a cute love story!

Jessie’s personality and opinion of her surroundings were perfect. In many ways, she reminded me of the main character from the show Freaks and Geeks. Her inner dialogue was extremely easy to relate to, as everyone has experienced losing friends, the unattainable crush, and growing up!

The minor characters in Into the Wild Nerd Yonder were perfectly cast. Barrett was the quintessential older brother, Van was the perfectly villainous older guy and crush, and Henry was the good, adorable guy. Jessie’s girl friends were could easily be picked out of the crowd at any high school.

Julie Halpern’s writing was witty, humorous and realistic – making Into the Wild Nerd Yonder a novel that hooks you from the first page and doesn’t let you go until the last! I think it would be perfect for reluctant readers. It is an predicitable story, but it isn’t cliche – just a retelling of every girl’s story!

Ratings (Out of 10):
Plot: 9
Characters: 10
Writing: 10
Romance: 10
Originality: 10
Total: 49/50 (A)

I highly recommend Into the Wild Nerd Yonder. It was a quick, cute read, but it made me smile AND think! 🙂

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