Nerd Girls: The Rise of the Dorkasaurus

Alan Lawrence Sitomer. Disney-Hyperion, $16.99 (224p) ISBN 978-1-4231-3996-6
Mean Girls meets Revenge of the Nerds, middle-school style, in a novel that peeks into the lives of an offbeat cast of 13-year-olds in suburban California. Self-proclaimed "anti-cool" Maureen, who's embarrassed about her weight, reluctantly bonds with two other eighth-grade outcasts—hypersensitive Allergy Alice Applebee and clumsy Beanpole Barbara—over their dislike of the ThreePees, a trio of girls who are "Pretty, Popular, and Perfect." After much trash talk, ridicule, and the cruel posting of a humiliating YouTube video starring Maureen, the two groups of girls prepare for a showdown in the school's talent contest. Sitomer's (The Secret Story of Sonia Rodriguez) characters mostly remain one-note caricatures: Alice's constant use of her "scuba tank" inhaler (with "wheeesh-whooosh" sound effects); Beanpole's refrain "Don't worry, I'm okay. I'm okay" after bumping into things; and ditzy ThreePee Sofes's malapropisms and non sequiturs. But notes of tenderness and warmth eventually give (some) depth to Maureen and her crew. If the characters and situations feel simplified, there's enough emotional heft to the girls' insecurities, as well as humor and snark in Maureen's thoughts and conversations, to compensate. Ages 11–up. (July)
Reviewed on: 05/30/2011
Release date: 07/01/2011
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-1-4618-0850-3
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