This weekend I’m “time-traveling to fun” (:P) at the Maryland Renaissance Festival. In addition to jousting (!!!) and over-consumption of my favorite vice, food (shhh, don’t tell the books!), I thought I’d do a bit of “time-traveling” on the blog with a throwback read about nerd culture.
Julie Halpern’s Into the Wild Nerd Yonder is a funny coming-of-age tale that a lot of young adults (and adults) will relate to. The protagonist Jessie is a sophomore in high school, suddenly deserted by her old friends and feeling quite uncool. She’s met some new friends who are into Dungeons & Dragons and math, but she’s not sure if she’s ready to, in the immortal words of Mean Girls, “commit social suicide” and join the geeky clique.
Delightfully honest, this navigation of high school politics and self-identity will resonate with readers, even if you weren’t/aren’t a self-proclaimed nerd. Jessie has plenty of prejudice to overcome, and it’s great that she realizes that nerds are real people, not just stereotypes. Additionally, it’s fantastic that a young adult book displays such a healthy relationship between a teen and their family as well as a normal, non-creepy or misogynistic love interest.
And, bonus! They attend a Renn Faire at the ending, camping out and participating to a level that I haven’t attained yet with costumes and the whole shebang. Maybe next year 😉
P.S. I highly recommend that you attend a Renaissance festival if you can. They’re quite common across the United States, particularly in the fall, and don’t fret if it isn’t your cup of tea – many of my less-nerdy friends loved it for the endless eats and entertainment!