Eighth grader Maureen Saunders is far from the most popular girl at Grover Park Middle School. Far, far from it. In fact, if it wasn't for honey buns and cupcakes, she'd have no friends at all. She's so low on the totem pole of popularity that even the geekiest kids want nothing to do with her. Until the day she stands up to the ThreePees, a trio of pretty, popular, perfect girls who delight in torturing lower life forms like herself. Maureen's heroics endear her to Allergy Alice and Beanpole Barbara, two girls who are as dorky - if not more so - than Maureen. Together, they form their own clique, the Nerd Girls.
The geek squad has one goal: to steal the ThreePees' thunder by beating them at the school talent show. Their only problem is talent. They have none. Unless you count Barbara's ear wax-cleaning skills, which Maureen certainly does not. When an unlikely source presents Maureen and her friends with the perfect showstopping act, it looks like the girls might finally get their revenge through pure nerdy awesomeness. But, The ThreePees never lose, especially to social nothings like the Nerd Girls. Can Maureen, Alice and Barbara win against Grover Park's reigning queens or are they destined to wallow at the bottom of the social food chain forever?
What sticks out most about Nerd Girls: The Rise of the Dorkasaurus by Alan Lawrence Sitomer is Maureen's very authentic voice. Kind of weird considering her creator is a middle-aged (I don't actually know how old Sitomer is - he looks youngish - so hopefully I'm not insulting the author by calling him "middle-aged.") man. A teacher man, well-acquainted with the way kids speak/act, but still, creating such a vivid, real character is no small accomplishment. Maureen's snarky, but she's also honest, quirky, and sympathetic. It's kind of impossible not to like her. I didn't love every twist the plot took, but I still enjoyed this funny, upbeat read. My 9-year-old (who read the book on the sly - it's recommended for ages 11+) thinks the book's hysterical. I'm not quite as enamored, although I liked Nerd Girls: The Rise of the Dorkasaurus. I just didn't love it.
(Readalikes: Reminded me a little of the N.E.R.D.S series by Michael Buckley)
If this were a movie, it would be rated: PG for some crude humor
To the FTC, with love: I received a finished copy of Nerd Girls: The Rise of the Dorkasaurus from the generous folks at Disney/Hyperion. Thank you!