Sunday, February 26, 2012

NERD CAMP by Elissa Brent Weissman

NERD CAMP by Elissa Brent Weissman is the winner of the Cybils Award for middle grade fiction.  After reading it this weekend, I'd agree it deserves this top spot.

Gabe is about to get a new brother.  He has begged for one for as long as he can remember and is surprised that his dad is the parent who has come through for him.  Gabe's parents have been divorced since he was just a baby, and now his dad is getting remarried.  His new wife has a son the same age as Gabe.  Zack will be the brother he has always wanted.

Gabe is also excited about going to sleep away camp for six weeks this summer.  The camp is called SCGE - Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment.  Unfortunately, his excitement is dampened when he meets his new brother Zack.  Zack is pretty cool, and Gabe is concerned that he might not be too interested in having a geek for a step-brother.  The idea of sleep away camp impresses Zack, but Gabe knows he will need to keep the nerd part a secret.

Author Elissa Brent Weissman captures Gabe's struggle as he experiences a fantastic time at summer camp but battles his natural instincts to hide his nerdiness because he has been conditioned to think it isn't cool.  NERD CAMP is for all those having difficulty embracing their true interests at the risk of being teased for being different.  Her descriptions of great camp activities and adventures should convince readers that everyone should do whatever comes naturally and not worry about the opinions of others.

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