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Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen - Review

Friday, August 5, 2016

Where did I get it? From Netgalley, thank you to Penguin Random House Children's Books for granting me it. It is out in October. 

What's it about? Ambrose is twelve and lives in Vancouver with his mum, who's a lecturer. They've moved around quite a lot and she's very over protective, partly because Ambrose's dad died very suddenly before Ambrose was born, and partly because Ambrose has a very severe peanut allergy. Ambrose isn't fitting in very well at school, and three bullies slip a peanut into his sandwich which lands him in hospital. Ambrose's mum decides to pull him out of school and switches to lecturing at nights. Meanwhile, their landlords' son, Cosmo, is out of prison and Ambrose strikes up an unlikely friendship with him over their shared love of Scrabble. Cosmo and Ambrose join a Scrabble tournament club without Mum's approval. 
There's also the landlords themselves, who are really lovely characters, and Amanda, meaning that this novel has both really good main characters and supporting characters. 
It reminded me a lot of Wonder and Ambrose reminded me a lot of Auggie. He was a little bit of an outsider and wore "weird" clothes and asked too many questions. I loved the clothing details, actually! I liked Ambrose a lot and I liked Cosmo and Ambrose's mum. 
What age range is it for? 11+.
Are any main characters LGBTQ+? No
Are any main characters people of colour? No - the Economopoulous' are Greek though and I felt like there was a nice portrayal of this - especially of the food! 
Are any main characters disabled either mentally or physically? No
Is there any sex stuff? Very little, although Ambrose is a typical boy going through puberty...
Are drugs mentioned or used? They're mentioned 
Is there any talk of death? A little bit about Ambrose's dad, yes
Are there swear words? Yes, a few, although quite a lot of them are censored. 
Would I recommend the book? Yes, completely. I loved it, I loved all the characters and how so much happened. I loved the relationship between Ambrose and Cosmo - you were definitely on their side. If you've got a reluctant reader of around 12 years old, I'd definitely see how they get on with this book. 
How many stars? Ten out of ten. It is a stunning example of Middle Grade literature and deserves to do amazingly. 

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