Review: The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

Publication Date: May 7, 2013
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 267 (eARC)
Source: From Publisher for Review
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.
~*~Lili's Reflections~*~

 I was in desperate need for a fun, light pick-me-up and this novel is now one of my go-to pick-me-up's. I loved every second of this fantastic nerdy experience and I can't wait to see what else Miller has in store for us. It was quick, it was entertaining, and it was sweet--in other words, it was literary gold.

I think that the overall concept of the novel is something that should be applauded. I can honestly say that I've never read a book that dealt with comics. I've read books that have the idea of superheroes or superhuman abilities, but never one that centered around an actual comic book and the concept of Live Action Role Playing (LARPing). So, to go out there with such a thing being the basis of your novel is definitely ballsy, and it totally paid off. Miller created a fresh new voice in young adult contemporary literature that I will forever be on the lookout for.

When it comes to summarizing the book, the synopses above is dead on. Maddie's world was immediately turned upside down upon meeting Logan, the adorkable soccer goalie whose family owns the local comic book shop, The Phoenix. I have to say that he's one of the sweetest love interests I've encountered in a while because he's himself. He's Awesome Logan and his personality shines through on everything he does. In Maddie's world everything is fake, so his true self and lack of lies was like a beacon of hope that she easily got drawn to. When she was with Logan she could be herself. And I really enjoyed this aspect of the plot-line because I think this is an important message to be shared in young adult lit. I recently read a book that seemingly emphasized the need to change to impress guys, so it was refreshing to encounter Logan, a nice boy who encouraged Maddie to not only be true to herself, but not to be ashamed of what she is either. It was a long journey, but one that would not have happened if not for him. Can you tell that I loved him?

And then there's Maddie. Did I like her? Of course! Her love of comics and closet obsession with something she holds so dear to her heart was adorable and something I can easily respect. As a book junkie I totally understand the itching anxiety one can experience with the upcoming release of an installment or standalone that is heavily anticipated. Us bloggers? We're not all that different from her. This relation to her and her easy banter and thought processes made her easily likable.

But when I took a step back from the story and took a deep breath, I realized that our MC did have some major flaws. To put it simply, she's oblivious and selfish which leads her to weave a tangled web of lies that she simply cannot get out of unscathed. This entire story, while admittedly adorkable and cute, could have avoided literally every aspect of drama if she just owned up to who she was and what she likes instead of embracing the cheerleader stereotype and fearing the worst. My biggest pet peeve is stereotypes and Maddie pretty much admits to going for one on purpose, going as far as to date the quarterback because she's a cheerleader and it's simply expected of her even though she doesn't really like him. She was scared and resorted to falsities and negative outward appearances to solve all of her problems. I wish that she had more common sense to avoid it all, you know?

I want to give a shout out to the great cast of side characters, specifically Dan who supplied 95% of the hilarious laugh out loud moments in the book with his creatively foul mouth. Logan's mother was also amazing because she's not your stereotypical mother or ex-cheerleader and she's very maternal and awesome--we need more people like her in young adult literature. When it came to character, aside from the few issues above, Miller really banged her debut out of the park. The sub-characters really contributed greatly to the overall plot.

All in all, I suggest this book to literally anyone looking for something truly unique and light that can be read in a single sitting. It'll constantly put a smile on your face and will have you laughing out loud at the awesome absurdity of it all. What more could you ask for?

To put it simply, this is an amazingly adorkable summer read that cannot be missed!

 4 stars


Disclaimer: I received this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and received no compensation in return for the review whatsoever.


  1. Great review! This one has ended up on my favorites lists! When I read it I was also desperate for something happy and fun, and it certainly lifted my mood for several hours.

    Angie @ Pinkindle Reads & Reviews

  2. I also loved Logan :) He was so adorable and I really enjoyed the story itself. Amazing review!

  3. I LOVED this one too! This review stated all the things that I thought! It's a good one! Both the book and the review!

  4. I want to read this one. I can feel the need for some light and quirky, fun and friendly stories heading my way. I have read a lot of darker reads lately, and I think I need to clear my head. This sounds like the perfect way to do just that. And a big bonus! People love it!

  5. This is about LARPing?!?! I need to read this asap! I adore nerdy things. Comic books, LARPing, ah-- too much nerdiness to handle in one sitting. Must. Have. :D

  6. Great review!! I loved this book, SO much - but I can definitely see the flaws in Maddie's character, but I got why she did what she did. And LOgan?! AH. He's like the Seth Cohen of the book world as of right now. (:

  7. Wonderful review. I think we all hide something like being a nerd so that we can fit in.