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Monday, April 11, 2016

Review - Romancing the Nerd by Leah Rae Miller

Image and blurb from Goodreads

Title: Romancing the Nerd
Author: Leah Rae Miller
Publication Date: April 5th, 2016
Entangled Teen
Category/Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

Dan Garrett has become exactly what he hates—popular. Until recently, he was just another live-action role-playing (LARP) geek on the lowest run of the social ladder. Cue a massive growth spurt and an uncanny skill at taking three-point shots in basketball and voila…Mr. Popular. It’s definitely weird.
And the biggest drawback? Going from high school zero to basketball hero cost Dan the secret girl-of-his-dorky dreams.

A tuba-playing nerd with an eclectic fashion sense, Zelda Potts’s “Coolness” stat is about minus forty-two. Dan turning his back on her and the rest of nerd-dom was brutal enough, but when he humiliates her at school, Zelda decides it’s time for a little revenge—dork style. Nevermind that she used to have a crush on him. Nevermind that her plan could backfire big time.

It’s time to roll the dice…and hope like freakin’ hell she doesn’t lose her heart in the process.

Pre-Order: Amazon 

If I turned on the TV, I'd find Zelda, Dan and their friends on:

  • The Big Bang Theory

Started: March 29th
Finished: March 31st

3 “Popular Nerd” Stars

ARC via NetGalley

Thank you, Entangled Teen!

I’ve been lucky enough to find  a lot of super cute YA contemporary titles published by Entangled Teen lately, and while “Romancing the Nerd” was just as sweet, it was less romantic than most of the previous books from this same publisher.

 The second book in an unofficial series - at least Goodreads doesn't give me the series name (the main characters from the author’s first book are friends with the MC and part of many scenes), "Romancing the Nerd" is the story of frenemies Zelda and Dan.

The story starts in Dan’s POV, and while I get the nerd-turned-basketball-player vibe from him immediately, I can’t really say he was easy to like.  He was funny and seemed like a nice guy from the start, but I guess I just couldn’t connect with his problem: he didn’t like being popular. Maybe if I had read the first book, my feelings for Dan and that plot choice would’ve been different. As the story progressed and I got to know Dan a little better, I understood why he was struggling with his popularity. Dan lost a lot by becoming popular. He wasn’t friends with the same people anymore and he missed them (his new friends were kind of lame). He had to endure his father’s control-freak nature, which meant he had to focus on getting good grades, becoming a better player, dieting and all that stuff, and he had no free time to do what he really loved. His dad saw LARPing (Dan and Zelda’s passion) as a waste of time, but doing it made Dan feel like himself.

Someone Dan truly missed from his “when-he-wasn’t-popular” time was Zelda, the nerd with a fun fashion sense who hated his guts because he’d basically turned his back on her. That’s how she saw it, at least. Since we never really got an explanation to what truly went down between them, maybe she was right. But it wasn’t anything big or bad enough to destroy a friendship or their chance at something more.

That doesn’t mean teenagers aren’t good at holding a grudge. Zelda surely was.

I had initially thought Dan would be the one leading the story since the blurb focused on him, but it was Zelda’s idea that moved the plot along. After a little incident involving a basketball and a bleeding nose, Zelda decides a revenge is in order. She pretends to be a stranger and contacts Dan about their common interests (cute nerdy texts follow). Her goal is to get him to open up to her and spill secrets she could use in the future. But those texts turn into something more as Dan and Zelda start to lean and confide in each other. Zelda soon realizes Dan isn’t the douchebag she thought he was. They have a lot in common and he is really nice to her.

Dan doesn’t know the girl he’s been texting is Zelda, but he’s getting closer to her in “real life” as well. His feelings for her are only stronger than his feelings for the mystery girl whose texts keep him up until almost morning. That means Dan in falling for Zelda twice. Cute, huh?

My biggest problem with the story was that while we saw them falling, we didn’t get to enjoy much more than that. By the time things fell into place, the story was pretty much over. I wish we’d seen more of Zelda and Dan together, because from what we got to see of them, they’d make an adorable couple.

I have to be honest and say I didn’t get many of the nerdy references, but that’s because I’m not into the same things as the characters. I’m sure people interested in LARPing will have a blast reading about Zelda and Dan’s adventures.

Like I said, while this was a cute story, the romance wasn’t as a strong element as I would’ve liked, which means I enjoyed it a little bit less than some of the recent titles by Entangled Teen.

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