Friday, 18 November 2016

Book Review: Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen


Title: Word Nerd
Author: Susin Nielsen
Author Info: Website|Blog|Facebook|Twitter
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction
Source: NetGalley
Publisher: Penguin Random House UK Children’s
Publication Date: 6th October 2016
Rating: 4 stars

Tell Me About It
Ambrose Bukowski is a twelve-year-old with a talent for mismatching his clothes, for saying the wrong thing at the worst possible time, and for words. In short, he’s a self-described nerd. Making friends is especially hard because he and his overprotective mother, Irene, have had to move so often. And when bullies at his latest school almost kill him by deliberately slipping a peanut into his sandwich to set off his allergy, it's his mother who has the extreme reaction. From now on, Ambrose has to be home-schooled.
Then Ambrose strikes up an unlikely friendship with the landlord's son, Cosmo, an ex-con who's been in prison. They have nothing in common except for Scrabble. But a small deception grows out of control when Ambrose convinces a reluctant Cosmo to take him to a Scrabble club. Could this spell disaster for Ambrose?
My Thoughts
When I saw Word Nerd on NetGalley I was really intrigued and had to know what this book was all about. I liked how simple yet eye catching the cover is, and how it all relates to the story inside, and I could not wait to dive in. Going into Word Nerd I didn't know what to expect, never having read anything by the author before, but I found myself quickly falling into the pages and really enjoying the story, that  ensures you are emotionally invested, as well as having some humorous moments.

A clever and unique thing about Word Nerd are the chapter titles. Each title is an anagram, with words that can be found within the word, and then the unscrambled title underneath. I really like when book covers make connections to the pages and this definitely made the book stand out.

Ambrose, the protagonist of this story is a geek, a nerd, and a strong member of the unpopular crowd. He gets bullied for his name, his lunches, his clothing, but likes to keep it from his Mum. This plan is blown when a bully slips a peanut into Ambrose's sandwich that causes him to have a very severe reaction (luckily for us and the story Ambrose survives) but his Mum is furious, and removes him from the school and enrolls him in correspondence school. He gets all the work that he used to, but completes it at home rather than on the premises.

Before I go any further let me give you a bit of background info on Ambrose. He lives with his Mum, his Dad died of an aneurysm, which is why his Mum is very over protective of him. They live in the basement of a house, rented to them from the Economopouloses, The Economopouloses are an old couple who at first live alone, whilst their son is in prison. But before long their son Cosmo returns home, much to the horror of Ambrose's mum.

I really liked how Ambrose isn't afraid of Cosmo, and is more curious than anything else, wanting to know the ins and out of his time away, what he is doing at the moment, etc. The usual twenty questions from children, his naivety is something that helps form a friendship with Cosmo, doing good for both of them, with defense lessons, and scrabble group.

Word Nerd was a quick read for me, and I really enjoyed it. I thought the characters were real and relatable, and the plot of the story was paced really well and didn't feel rushed. I like how a very unlikely friendship was formed, that has benefits for all involved. I loved the scrabble games, and how Ambrose pushes himself to do better and that Cosmo does what he can to stay on the right path.

Final Verdict
Word Nerd was a book I loved, and is also one that surprised e with how much I did like it. I loved the message that is passed on from reading this, not to let the past control your future, and how opposites can really be friends.The author is definitely on my watch list and I cant wait to read some of her other books.

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