Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen (2008) Book Review


meows, awes, owes, same, seem, some, swam, woes, sea, was, so


Awkwardness. We’ve all been there. I had feet the size of skiis, cookie monster eyebrows, and the thickest frizziest mop of hair. For 12-year-Ambrose of Word Nerd, his problems lie deeper than his physical appearance and his purple corduroys.  His over-protective single mom has moved him around Western Canada (Edmonton, Regina, Kelowna, and now Vancouver) making it impossible to make friends. It doesn’t help that Ambrose is socially awkward, making him a target of bullying. With a deathly allergy to peanuts, his bullies almost kill Ambrose when they slip a peanut in his sandwich. His newest way of coping with a new school and social difficulties is through a series of lies and by attending a Scrabble Club with the ex-con son of his Greek landlords.

Check out author Susin Nielsen describing her book and reading a section from Word Nerd.


-Love, love, love that the entire book was oozing with Canadian content, including: The Mercer report, Luke Doucet, Bryan Adams, CBC’s The National with Peter Mansbridge

-The author Susin Nielson wrote episodes for Ready or Not and Degrassi. Who doesn’t love those shows?!! Common! Bonus cool points right there.

-Nielson knows teens. It was especially impressive that she wrote from a 12 year old nerdy boy perspective. His reactions to things, his thinking, the things he says and how he behaves is extremely believable.  

-Great read for reluctant boy readers. It was a quick, fun read. However, due to the frank talk about male sexual thoughts (erections, boobs), I would recommend this book for older tweens (11-13).  

-Won the Ontario Library Association’s Red Maple Award (Grades 7/8) for 2010.


-The only possible negative comment I could say is that it reminded me a little too much of ‘About a Boy’. Instead of music, the characters share a love of words.

***After I read this book, I felt inspired to get out my old Scrabble board. To my opponents disbelief I was able to use some of the words in the Glossary featured at the end of the book. Who knew Aa is a rough, cindery lava? Or Qi means ‘breath’ in Chinese?

4.5 big stars out of 5.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Scrabble Day « Talking with Tundra

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