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I’m Not a Nerd, I Just Role-Play One

In Julie Halpern's Into the Wild Nerd Yonder, Posh finds a talented and nerdy seamstress BFF. 

I’m Not a Nerd, I Just Role-Play One

BOOK REPORT for Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern

BFF Charm: Yay!
Swoonworthy Scale: 5
Talky Talk: Tangential
Bonus Factors: Geeks, Craftyness
Relationship Status: Mall Crush

The Deal:

Jessie is yr average smart kid. She's sweet, she's quiet (she's got straight brown hair for goodness sake! You know in books that's basically a euphemism for "mousy") and her life revolves around her family (esp. her super cool older brother, Barrett) and her two bffs, Bizza and Char. Let me interrupt myself for a second to say, y'all, I KNOW. I am THIS CLOSE to writing a cease and desist letter to YA authors everywhere re: Ridiculous Names, signed A CONCERNED CITIZEN. Anyway! As the v. definition of adolescence suggests, change is inevitable, and in this book, that change appears in the form of Bizza's newly shaved head and her sudden moves on Van, the local Mysterious Loner Dude and, more importantly, Jessie's longtime crush. As big bro Barrett's departure for college draws closer and Bizza's true bitchy colors begin to shine through, Jessie realizes her entire identity is... well, what IS her identity? In her quest for new friends, she finds herself strangely attracted to Henry, a total dork with highwater jeans (YIKES) and his group of twelve-sided-dice throwing, Renfest role-playing friends. Jessie loves the acceptance she finds with this new group, but the question remains: who is she, and who does she want to be? And, more importantly, since this IS high school: does this mean she's a (gasp) TOTAL DORK?!!!

BFF Charm: Yay!

Jess, honey, we are totally soul sisters. Except I didn't have an older punk rock brother who let me hang out with his super hot friends and bang on the drums so really I was actually even LESS COOL than you are when I was in high school. But I'll let that slide, because I really want you to make me a skirt with baked goods all over it (did I mention that Jessie is a totes talented seamstress? See Craftyness below!). You're fearless when it comes to book learnin', but you are a total scaredy cat when it comes to Forming Words In The Immediate Vicinity Of Yr Crush. What I'm saying is, I FEEL YOU. I admit that I got kind of annoyed when you were constantly freaking out about being labeled as a nerd, because honestly, sweetheart, there are way worse things in life. But overall, you're an awesome girl, and you need some friends who actually appreciate you instead of trying to steal yr long-term object of lust (I'm mad doggin' YOU, BIZZA!).

Swoonworthy Scale: 5

This book is definitely on the "realistic" end of the YA spectrum, and you guys know that's pretty much my favorite type. With that said, the romantic moments are more on the sweet, awkward side than they are on the "I MUST BE WITH YOU OR PERISH" side. There are definitely some nail-biting (in a good way) parts with Van at the beginning, but most of the swoons come from Jessie's growing interest in Henry, whom I totally adore. He's smart, cute and, what I find most impressive, completely comfortable with being a geek. Now THAT is hot, y'all.

Talky Talk: Tangential

After the first few pages, I was starting to feel like I was reading my own blog, and instead of making me feel good about myself, it made me realize that I totally abuse parentheses and probably annoy the shizz out of a lot of you. Um please accept my apologies! For past and all future transgressions cos this entry isn't even done yet and I know I'm gonna throw in at least one more parenthetical tangent using ALL CAPS. But yeah, at first, I was all, Julie Halpern, SIMMER DOWN WITH THE TANGENTS. I felt like she went a little overboard in her attempts to make Jessie's voice sound teenager-y because there were so many parenthetical inserts and lots of slang. Fortunately, Ms. Halpern actually did calm down, and I found the majority of the book's style to be fun and easygoing.

Bonus Factor: Geeks

YES YES Y'ALL! There is some serious Nerdfest 2010 happening in this book. I mean, Dungeons and Dragons is one thing, but a weekend of Renaissance-era role playing? That is hard core. Jessie, you are a brave girl. And I'm not just talking about having to wear yr friend's mom's lace teddy over a skirt as yr "costume" but also PEEING IN THE FOREST IN THE DEAD OF NIGHT?!! That is beyond the call of dork duty.

Bonus Factor: Craftyness

As mentioned above, Jess sews her own skirts! In fact, she pretty much make a different skirt for every single day of... her life. She picks fabrics to match her mood or, for example, the theme of a party, and I think that's the most adorable thing I've ever read. SEW ON, SISTA!

Casting Call:

I know she has a (cute) pixie cut now, but the long-haired Carey is the perfect blend of sweetness and burgeoning independence.

Carey Mulligan as Jess

I haven't mentioned Barrett too much, but he was actually my favorite character in the whole book! In fact, I think I crushed on him even more than Henry. Ahem. Now that I've made my feelings known, you can see why I would select the epitome of the crushable older brother, Jesse Bradford (I know, he's too old now but SHUT UP).

Jesse Bradford as Barrett

You'll notice that I did NOT include "Mysterious Loner Dude" under Bonus Factors, because as it turns out, Van totally sucks. Which is why 90s Jared Leto is the perfect choice!

MSCL-era Jared Leto as Van

And finally, Henry. Awww! I know I just cast this dude but his cute face, goofy demeanor and mop of curls is PERFECT for the king dork that steals Jessie's heart.

Aaron Johnson as Henry

Relationship Status: Mall Crush

The minute I saw this book smile at me (the cover is so adorbs!), my face turned red and I had to duck into Claire's to let out the squee. I started to hang out more and more in the food court, just so I'd get the chance to flex my flirting muscles whenever we ran into each other. It's a total sweetheart, but I don't expect anything serious to happen. To be honest, I don't think about it once I leave the mall parking lot, but I definitely don't mind admiring its cuteness between my sprees at Contempo.

Posh Deluxe's photo About the Author: Sarah lives in Austin, TX, where she programs films at the Alamo Drafthouse. Sarah enjoys fancy cocktails, dance parties and anything that sparkles (except vampires).