Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Book Review: Word Nerd

Word Nerd
By Susan Nielsen

Ambrose is an awkward 13-year-old with no friends and an overprotective mother (but one might give her a break, as Ambrose’s father died on a construction site from a brain aneurysm and then Ambrose nearly died at age 3 from a peanut butter sandwich). His mom changes jobs and towns every couple of years.

With this new move, Ambrose is determined things will be different; he will make things easier on his mom so she will worry less. Ambrose begins to weave a web of lies: yes, Mom, I have friends, school's going great, and to the school bullies, my parents are rich. However, the bullies quickly realize Ambrose is full of baloney with his knock-off shoes, and they spike his sandwich with a peanut. Ambrose nearly dies, ends up in the hospital and all the lies unravel.

Homeschooling appears to be the perfect answer to keep Ambrose safe from the torture of school and the bullies. When the landlord’s son, Cosmo, moves home (after being released from jail), Ambrose’s mom starts her cycle of worry. Cosmo will be a bad influence on her son. Ambrose gets Cosmo out of a tight spot with a former “business partner” and secures a free ride to Scrabble Club. Ambrose begins to weave lies again…the lies to his mother regarding his friendship with Cosmo and the lies to his friends at Scrabble Club continue to build until they explode, landing him at a police station. Can Ambrose mend his lying ways and keep his mom from uprooting him from his only friends?

Karen C-O, Chester County Library

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