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INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER by Julie Halpern

INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER

By Julie Halpern

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-0-312-38252-0
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Fifteen-year-old Jessie develops the self-confidence to dump her selfish friends and ventures into unfamiliar territory to find new ones in this often hilarious, quirky work of contemporary realism. When her two best friends turn poseur-punk to impress her brother’s friend Van, Jessie is left wondering where she, a math star, audiobook addict and accomplished seamstress, fits in. As their rift deepens, Jessie discovers that a group of Dungeons & Dragons–playing peers are not as socially inept as she once might have thought and loses herself in a crush on a sweet, if fashion-challenged, guy at school. The overarching message about being oneself and growing apart from friends is familiar teen-novel territory, and there is never any real doubt as to the end of Jessie’s journey. However, her narrative voice is unusually honest, and the at times bawdy dialogue is realistic and bitingly funny: “Those two chodes deserve each other. I hope the STDs flow.” Readers will both identify with and like Jessie and will cheer her conversion from meek to outspoken. (Fiction. 14 & up)