Ten-year-old Gabe has just been accepted to the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment. That means he’ll be spending six weeks at sleepaway camp, writing poetry and perfecting logic proofs. SCGE has been a summer home of some legendary middle-school smarty-pants (and future Jeopardy! contestants), but it also has a reputation for being, well, a nerd camp. Gabe isn’t a nerd. Is he? He’s never thought about it much, but compared to Zack, his hip, soon-to-be-stepbrother from LA, Gabe’s not so sure where he falls on the cool scale. A wild summer at camp—complete with a midnight canoe ride to Dead Man’s Island—helps Gabe realize that he and Zack may be different, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be brothers…and friends.
Nerd Camp (Nerd Camp #1)Featured
Our hero is Gabe, a geeky ten-year-old who gets a stepbrother his age about a week before he heads off to the Summer Center for Gifted Achievement. Gabe is thrilled about both, but when he meets Zack, who surfs and spends most of his time on his iPhone, he begins to see himself through new eyes. True to his nature, he hypothesizes that he is not just a nerd who only has nerdy adventures, and decides to spend his time at camp working it out.
What won me over about Gabe, as well as his bunkmates Wesley and Nikhil, is their total enthusiasm for everything. As a teacher, I can't imagine anything better than a group of adolescents who are excited and curious about all the possibilities they are offered (although I did snort knowingly when a lice epidemic is announced and a student asks for the genus and species. I teach Gifted and Talented classes.) For example, the boys try to make their cabin cooler, so they decorate with the theme of music and sports. Of course, the end up with pictures of Beethoven, a treble and bass clef, and the official rules of badminton. It's one of those moments that here in the south, you would shake your head and say, "Bless."
That's the best part of NERD CAMP. Author Elissa Brent Weissman never denies the nerdiness of all the characters, but she always makes them more endearing than they are dorky. I'm happy that they have a safe place to love whatever it is you love, without fear of ridicule. We all deserve our own version of a nerd camp.
A great message of acceptance