Thursday, September 30, 2010

Review: Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern

Tags: middle grade, YA, friendship, nerds


Jessie’s sophomore year of high school is not going so well. Her two best friends have turned into wannabe punks, and her beloved older brother is leaving for college soon. Lost and in need of new friends, Jessie stumbles across the Dungeons & Dragons-playing crowd—truly the nerdiest of the nerdy, even by her standards. But as she gets to know the people in the group—and maybe even finds a cute guy to crush on—Jessie realizes that nerds can make really good friends…


INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER is a cute and heartfelt look into the treacherous waters that is high school friendships. While it didn’t make me fall in love with it as it did with many others, INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER was still a charming read with excellent characters.

Jessie is a likable protagonist, with her sewing tendencies, warm-hearted worries, and self-proclaimed nerdiness. She’s nerdy, but not in a way that will put off readers/potential friends. She has such a healthy relationship with her family—her relationship with her brother is particularly touching—that the focus of the book can be off the stereotypical teen family angst and more about worries regarding friendships.

While the characters (and, indeed, the whole storyline) are not exceptionally deep or memorable, everything has the pleasant feel-good entertainment value of, say, a Disney Channel original movie: the “villains” are not irredeemably bad, the problems inconvenient but not devastating. The plot moved along at a leisurely pace so that the second half of the book, in which Jessie finds new friends, feels a bit rushed.

However, these are not failings but simply characteristics of the genre that INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER falls into: an easy and light read with characters who make us smile and a moral that makes us nod in recognition. If this is the type of read you’re reading for, look no further than this one.

Similar Authors
Carolyn Mackler

Writing: 3/5
Characters: 4/5
Plot: 3/5

Overall Rating: 3 out of 5

Cover discussion: 3 out of 5 - I like how the dress hints at one of the later scenes in the book, as well as Jessie's sewing passion. The cartoonish feel adds to the lightheartedness of the book. I just wish it weren't so PINK!

Feiwel & Friends / Sept. 29, 2009 / Hardcover / 256pp. / $16.99

Review copy sent by publisher upon request. Sorry for the delay!


  1. Wow, this one sounds really interesting and is definitely one I think I'd enjoy.

  2. This looks like a good read and I dont mind Pink reads.
    Im a new follower

  3. I enjoyed this one. It's the perfect feel-good book to follow up heavier darker fare.


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