The Selective Collective: The Summer I Became a Nerd

Welcome to The Selective Collective. Together with our friends at The Book Addict’s Guide, Gone Pecan, The Grown Up YA and Teen Lit Rocks, we’ll be exploring a new release in its entirety, from review to author spotlight, to a roundtable chat, among other fun things.

This week we’re discussing The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller.


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.  (Goodreads)

This book was absolutely adorable. I loved it because, well, I’m a HUGE nerd and because yes, I have a soft spot for nerd boys. They get me every single time.

This week I’m happy to be hosting a roundtable discussion with my blogging buddies. Here’s what everyone had to say:

1.  Maddie’s high school experience is shaped by her fear of being discovered as a nerd at heart. Considering the fact that pop culture has made nerdy things cool (like The Avengers, ComicCon, and the abundance of people wearing “nerd” glasses just to look hip), do you think Maddie’s fears were justified?

Nope!  I absolutely loved this book and how cute it was but this was the biggest issue for me in the book.  So she was teased once, don’t hide what amounts to basically your entire life outside of school.  Nerd is in!!! Also, I realize that when you are in high school its hard to see the big picture but it’s just that – HIGH SCHOOL.  It will end and you will grow up.  The more you hold back on who you are and pretend to be someone else the more confused you will be as an adult.  — Kristina, Gone Pecan

In all honesty, maybe? I mean, there are some things that I keep secret because I don’t want to look like a total nerd. I feel like I’ve worked hard to move past the band nerd, shy smart girl persona I had in high school (not that I was ever bothered by this in the first place) that I don’t want to just reinforce those things about me by saying “hey, I love nerdy things!” After Maddie’s humiliation in middle school over her Halloween costume, I can understand her NOT wanting to go back to those days, especially since she was made fun of for something she really loved. While our hobbies and interests SHOULDN’T be embarrassing, if we’re insecure about them, they can be.– Candice, The Grown Up YA

2. Maddie’s concern of being outed often overrides her gigantic crush on Logan. One moment she seems like she wants to kiss him and the next it appears as though she’s ashamed to be seen with him.  If you were Logan how would you react?

If I were Logan, of course I’d be upset! I did like how we actually saw that in the book too. As I was reading, I could see that hurt coming from Logan when Maddie tried to avoid being seen with him or when she kept flopping back and forth between having a great time with him and then brushing him off the next. While I totally get where she’s coming from (considering the fact that I hide something nerdy like a YA book blog from some of my not-as-close-friends), it’s still really not fair to Logan. I actually kind of liked how realistic that back and forth between them felt and it was an interesting aspect of the book. —Brittany, The Book Addict’s Guide

I think I would be as confused and hurt as Logan acts in the book. Logan is just himself — a soccer-playing, comic-book loving guy who knows who he is and doesn’t worry about where he is on the high school social ladder. So it makes sense that he mistakes Maddie’s hesitation for shame or embarrassment. I loved the tension that Maddie’s inner conflict created, because it led to her elaborate redemption plan. That Maddie would use such a nerdy way to show she loved Logan was amazing and appropriate.–Sandie, Teen Lit Rocks

3. Maddie is a secret crazy comic book lover.  It’s a passion for her, something she even journals about. What’s something you get nerdy over?

Probably the easiest question for me.  Books and Harry Potter!!!  It is rare for me to watch a movie without reading the book first and as far as Harry Potter goes. . . I cannot tell you how much owl stuff I have (in packing up my house last week I had a box with just breakable owls), how many Potter shirts I have, the books ( in hardback of course), the movies, a replica of Ron’s wand (still sounds dirty to me), and  my favorite Christmas present from last year – a personalized HP Gryffindor blanket!  Although I’m 100% open about my Potter love, no secrets there.  Heck I even have a Potter board on Pinterest.— Kristina, Gone Pecan

 I am a huge nerd. It’s no secret, either.  If you follow me on Pinterest, I have a couple boards dedicated to my nerdy obsessions.  One is called Obsessed Much? which is entirely Harry Potter related.  The other is called General Nerdery, which encompasses my other passions, though, to be honest, most of it is Doctor Who related.  When I first read Harry Potter, it was just after the last book came out and I read them all back to back in a couple months, so this is where the “obsessed” part comes in.  It’s ALL I WOULD TALK ABOUT for months.  When I finished the books, I mainlined fanfiction like it was heroine.  And watched the movies over and over.  My friends were pretty irritated, though they were kind enough to only talk behind my back and give side-eyes to each other whenever I would bring anything HP related up.  I knew I was going overboard, but it couldn’t be helped. Finally I ran out of steam, but it took a while. 🙂— Daphne, Gone Pecan

4. Now that you’re all grown up and know everything there is to know about life (right?), what advice would you give to Maggie? How about to our high school self?

I would actually kick it all the way back to elementary school. For some reason, I wanted to be one of the “popular” girls (as popular as pre-teens get, I guess) and I definitely neglected my real and good friends because of it. I hurt their feelings by trying to be popular because in essence, it was saying that those girls who were my friends and not part of that group weren’t good enough for me. I’m still friends with two of those “unpopular” girls today (okay, there were only 24 kids in my class total, so no one was really “unpopular”) and we have an amazing friendship that I’m so glad I didn’t throw away because I was afraid of being seen as dorky or uncool. I got into the swing of things in high school, so it really wasn’t an issue then, but honestly? I think it’s a lesson a lot of us really just have to learn for ourselves. I’m so envious of the people who are naturally so comfortable with who they are and don’t care about what other people think. I’m doing SO much better with that now as an adult but it took me this long to get here! —Brittany, The Book Addict’s Guide

Probably to chill out and embrace what you love. So you love comics? Big deal. So you’re a cheerleader? Big deal. If you love it, love it. Don’t be ashamed of it. If your friends don’t love it, find you some that do. Connect with others, expand your circle. EVERYONE has something they love… no sense in hiding it and making yourself less of a person! To my high school self… I’d say high school officially ends when you walk across the stage in your cap and gown. Leave it behind and embrace your future. If you hate who you are, change it. Become the person you want to be. Don’t be afraid of what your high school friends (and enemies) will think of you after high school… because just as you don’t really think about them anymore, they don’t really think about you anymore. —
Candice, The Grown Up YA
I’d say, take a deep breath. Boys aren’t so scary, I promise. Neither are kisses. You don’t have to make every decision about your life now and the people who don’t love and accept you–flaws included–get rid of them. Don’t waste a tear over them. Embrace what you love and don’t be ashamed of it and always be okay with laughing at yourself. — Tee, YA Crush

5. Logan is the perfect nerd dream boy. Who is your ideal nerd (husbands and boyfriends excluded)–from books, TV or film– and why?

Though I don’t watch the show, I think Spencer Reid is hot. Though he is adorable and pretty nerdy in real life.  Another Nerd I would add to the list is Oliver from Going Vintage.  I am a huge sucker for boys in glasses.  Other nerds I love are Rory Williams from Doctor Who and Seth from The O. C.–Daphne, Gone Pecan

This is such a tough question, because I fall in love with nerdy fictional characters on a regular basis. Sticking strictly with YA (because my head would explode if I tried to switch between media) I would say that the ideal nerd boy for me would have the musical taste (and pop-culture knowledge) of Park (“Eleanor and Park”) the musical abilities of Joe (“The Sky Is Everywhere”), Adam (“If I Stay”) and Jem (“The Infernal Devices”); the film interests of Al (“Why We Broke Up”) and Ben (“Stoner & Spaz”); the general adorkability of Logan, Simon (“The Mortal Instruments”), and Sam (“Hold Me Closer, Necromancer”); and the intellectual awesomeness of Finnikin (“Finnikin of the Rock”), Cricket (“Lola and the Boy Next Door”), Will (“The Infernal Devices”), Augustus (“The Fault in Our Stars”), and Willem (“Just One Day”). That would make for a pretty amazing/super hot dream nerd.–Sandie, Teen Lit Rocks

Well the obvious YA lit answer for me is Michael Moscovitz. He is the end all be all for me. Nerdy, hot, a good boyfriend without being annoyingly clingy or too perfect to seem real. I’d have had a massive, earth-shattering crush on him in high school (and would never have admitted it to anyone because boys were scary). Also, since I was a kid I have had an epic love for Superman. I love him as his superhero self, but I have a real soft spot for his dorky alter ego, Clark Kent. Christopher Reeve sealed that deal for me in the movies when I was a kid. —Tee, YA Crush


Please be sure to visit my blogging partners in The Selective Collective and check out the great things they have in store:

The Book Addict’s Guide-Review

Gone Pecan-From Zero to Hero

The Grown Up YA- Casting Call

Teen Lit Rocks- Author Q&A and Giveaway

Special thanks to Entangled Teen for providing review galleys of The Summer I Became a Nerd.