Decent Ann is assigned to show around Lurlene Brueggemeyer--the geek of the title, a home-schooled new girl with cowboy boots and weird hair. In the eighth-grade world of jerks, nerds, and geeks, Ann, a nerd, is cool enough to attract Brad McKenzie, a jerk; but she can't turn her back on the impossible-to-dismiss Lurlene, not even for her former best friend, Kimberly Tyne, who wants to be the ""Mary Lou Retton"" of national spelling bee competitors. Ann and Lurlene are ace spellers, too, and both are dealing with their parents' messy divorces. The three girls are brought together at the state spelling finals where Kimberly, pressured by her parents (""The little Hitlers""), loses; and Ann, usually the runner-up, gets her first, unfamiliar taste of victory. A thoughtful, wry, and very funny look at friendship and fitting in.