Nerd Girls: The Rise of the Dorkasaurus by Alan Lawrence Sitomer is a book written for pre-teens. For someone my age, I enjoyed the books for a lot of reasons and possibly related to the characters a little.
The story is about Maureen, a chubby, sarcastic and intelligent thirteen-year old girl. She’s quick witted and very self-aware, unlike most girls her age. She knows she’s kind of an outcast and a nerd. She is aware of her “place” in the grand scheme of middle school politics. Combined with her resentment towards her father leaving her family, she’s a pretty jaded little girl.
The ThreePees are the “mean girls” of the school. They are the pretty and popular girls who like to pick on the less fortunate. We’ve all known the type, right? The kind of cruel girls with no fear of really hurting another person as long as it’s entertaining for them… as long as it makes them feel better about themselves. Yes, I remember how rough my middle school class was with the mean girls picking on the dorky girls. Kids can just be such brats.
Maureen reluctantly makes friends with the other two female outcasts in her class. Allergy Alice, who is literally allergic to anything and Beanpole Barbara, the super tall and clumsy girl. These characters are fairly stereotypical “outcast” types – the fat girl, the sick girl and the awkward girl. Sitomer picks very obvious “dorky” traits for the Nerd Girls but he wrote the story in a very charming and simple way. The Nerd Girls teams up to join the talent show and give the ThreePees a run for their money.
Despite the stereotypes – like Maureen’s binge eating on cupcakes since she’s the “fat” girl – I wouldn’t be completely against younger girls reading this book. Maureen’s intelligence is a good trait for her character. I love her nicknames for the people she meets, especially ‘Department Store Mom’ and ‘Department Store Dad.’ The friendship between her, Alice and Barbara was written in a realistic way which I think becomes the strength of the story. The lessons in friendship and accepting yourself during these very awkward years is the important lesson. To find the friends who would love you for who you are, no matter how bad you think the situation is.
I recommend this book to parents who may have middle schoolers who are struggling. Or perhaps, if your child is the “popular” girl, she needs to read this too and learn a little bit about compassion towards her own peers.
It’s a fun book for an adult geek like myself to read.
Visit the book’s website at www.thenerdgirlsworld.com
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