Atheneum Books for Young Readers,$15.99, 262 pages
Gabe cannot wait to meet his new stepbrother Zack. He is so excited to share his love of reading, math, and science…until Zack mentions that any kid who likes school is a total geek. Zack seems so cool – he has his own cell phone, goes to the skate park, and even surfs! Gabe wants to be cool too. So he must keep it a secret that he is going to the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment, known to some as the Smart Camp for Geeks and Eggheads. In letters home, Gabe must include non-nerdy details so he can impress Zack.
Elissa Brent Weissman’s new novel Nerd Camp combines a charming coming-of-age story with the adventurous fun of a first time camping experience. Throw in a lice epidemic, karaoke, and a Color War and Gabe is in for the time of his life. Middle-school readers struggling with their own identities will enjoy this funny story of a 10-year-old committed to proving he isn’t a nerd. Kids with divorced parents will especially identify with how hard it can be to fit in while staying true to who you are.
Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin