Reading Level: MG * Pages: 272 * Publisher: July 31, 2012 by Disney-Hyperion Books
ISBN: 9781423139973 * Source: NetGalley
My review of book 1: Nerd Girls: Rise of the Dorkasaurus is here
The Nerd Girls are back. And though they seek to leave behind all the drama with the popular girls, the ThreePees feel they have a score to settle with the Nerds and will stop at nothing to do so. Fed up with the perpetual infighting, the school principal insists that if the two groups want to continue to "compete" with one another, they will do so in a productive manner and thus forces all six girls, Nerd Girls and ThreePees, to participate in the Academic Septhalon. But Maureen has family troubles. And issues of self-esteem. And a desire to bury her head in the sand and pretend that all of the very real issues she's facing as a kid who is now growing up are not really happening to her. Are cupcakes, a sarcastic sense of humor and a hope that it will all "just go away" on its own enough to get Maureen through eighth grade? Will Beanpole wake up and smell the coffee? Will Alice really be able to cure herself of the allergies that plague her? It's A Catastrophe of Nerdish Proportions, a fast-paced, funny, foray back into the lives of the three nerds we got to know and love in Nerd Girls Book I: The Rise of the Dorkasaurus.
Yep, still love this series. I am convinced that it is the perfect read aloud for middle schoolers. Last year, I read the first book aloud and had a captive audience every day. Maybe it was due to my dynamic reading that could win a Grammy, or maybe it was the great characters. Either way, the kids loved the book. Nerd Girls: A Catastrophe of Nerdish Proportions is no different. This book should be read aloud!
Let me start by saying that the biting sarcasm of the narrator is fabulous. I love the self-deprecating humor and I think students can relate to it as well. Middle school is all about finding your self-esteem and your place in the food chain, which Mo does with biting sarcasm and “real” humor. I laughed out loud in so many places, I’m sure the people around me wondered whether I was really reading or not on my Kindle. I knew this would be another hit when I read Mo’s description of a “squeaker” in the first chapter! I nearly chocked on my tea I laughed so hard.
Like the author’s other novels, these fun, quirky books actually have a hard lesson hidden between the pages. As I said, middle school is a treacherous time and most kids have a hard time finding where they fit in. The characters in this book are no different. What is different, though, is the positive message that you will find. Do the three misfits transform from ducklings into swans? Hardly. They are still awkward and unpopular at the end, but that doesn’t matter because they have self-worth and a place. I really like how the group of three grew in this book. The fact that they accepted another member into the Nerd Herd was great. The side story dealing with Maureen’s (MO) absent-until-now father was also important. Many kids struggle with not knowing their fathers (or other members of their family) and it’s a hard thing to deal with. Mr. Sitomer does a nice job showing the struggles kids might have with this situation through humor. I think many kids will find themselves relating to Mo once again.
I highly recommend this book (and series). It’s fabulous! I’ve already ordered my copy of this book to read aloud again this year. I promise you will not be disappointed if you do the same.