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Word Nerd

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  2,551 ratings  ·  442 reviews
Twelve-year-old Ambrose is a glass-half-full kind of guy. A self-described “friendless nerd,” he moves from place to place every couple of years with his overprotective mother, Irene. When some bullies at his new school almost kill him by slipping a peanut into his sandwich — even though they know he has a deathly allergy — Ambrose is philosophical. Irene, however, is not ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 9th 2008 by Tundra Books
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,551 ratings  ·  442 reviews

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Aug 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: just-right
This book was absolutely amazing! The main character - Ambrose - had a really interesting character, and the way the story evolved was really interesting. I really enjoyed following Cosmo's story as well, as his past experiences had played a big role on his present. I would recommend this to people who want a just-right book, but want a good book too. It really portrays the connection between two people very well and shows how two totally different people all have something in common.
Madelyn Rose
Feb 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen is a very cute book. It is about Ambrose, a boy who's father died while working on a construction site. Ambrose has gone through a lot with bullies at public school, so decides to be home schooled. The only people who can really be considered Ambrose's friends are his mom and the landlords (barely). Then, Ambrose meets Cosmo, the landlords' son (who happens to be an ex con and a "druggie". Cosmo likes Scrabble, just like Ambrose and they become very good friends. The o ...more
Oct 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Brilliant. I loved Cosmo's shady past, Ambrose's quirkiness, Irene's overprotectiveness and of course, Mrs. E's food.

This book kept me glued to it and I was done in two sittings, craving more Susin Nielsen. This is definitely one of the books that I would love to read again. Not only was the plot great, the characters were so real. Truly was one of the books that I felt I had slipped into. Recommend it to everyone, it's two hours well spent.
Oct 17, 2008 rated it liked it
"This book is peanut-free" is what made me pick it up in the children's section at the library. It's about a scrabble playing misfit with a deadly peanut allergy but totally inappropriate for children because of "crass boy language." This should be in the YA section.
Sep 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
The dynamic between the unlikely friendship between Cosmo and Ambrose is excellent and kept me going through most of the book but the portrayal of Ambrose supposedly being 13 is done terribly and is by far the worst and least realistic par of his charecter. Other than that it is a great book.
Laura (bbliophile)
Jul 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
Review originally posted on

Word Nerd is possibly the most heart-warming story I've read this year, and made me remember why I loved middle-grade books in the first place. 

Word Nerd is about a 12 year old boy named Ambrose, whose dad died before he was even born, and he never really fits in. After an incident at school with his bullies, his overprotective mom decides to home-school him. The only people Ambrose has any contact with are his mom and his landlords, the middle
May 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book so much because of it's simplicity in terms of the way its written, but the depth that the author goes into for the characters. The aspect of Ambrose's life that I could relate to the most was the "protection" that his mom put him under. As an only child, my parents do the same and I can relate to how it felt. After a while, this protection becomes a cage and you want to escape - but your parents aren't willing to let go. I would recommend this book to anyone because I enjoyed ...more
Arnav Gupta
Mar 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Loved this book as something to just ease up during the holidays. All of us have lately been reading a lot of complex books and it was fun to just relax and let loose with this book. But still this book I felt was solid. Great plot line, simple characters and touching issues of independence, liberty, how protective your parents should be and other issues that almost every teenager is concerned about. If you want a simple book to relax and read, this is the book for you.
Ian Tymms
Oct 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Great book - one of those page turners that is all heart. Couldn't agree more with Jabiz and Paula's reviews.
Fiona R
Jul 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Such an entertaining read about an endearing boy named Ambrose who is the target of school bullies and then nearly dies as a result of a "prank." His overprotective mother withdraws him from school and attempts to isolate him from all sources of harm.
Ambrose, in his boredom and loneliness, strikes up an unlikely friendship with an ex-con, who shares his love of Scrabble, and it is this bond between them that leads Cosmo down a better life path and allows Ambrose to feel accepted and valued - jus
Alex Peachman
Dec 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
12 year old Ambrose is home-schooled by his over-protective mother. But when she is at work, befriends the ex-convict son of his landlord, and, unlikely as it seems, discovers a world of friendship, independence and adventure through a scrabble club.
If you are a fan of Susin Nielsen, this book will not disappoint - it's written in her usual easy to read, funny style and has some quirky and lovable characters.
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was on of my favorite books I have ever read. I loved the use of mystery and the way how scrabble helped build up the story of what happened. I was glad that he found his mum but was devastated that he lost in the final of the scrabble tournament. I totally recommend this book
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I found this author late. I had seen this book in the library for years but I never picked it up. A few colleagues had read the book and raved about it but I was resistant. This also held true for her latest book, The Journal of Henry K. Larsen where I just did not like the cover. However, with that book, I picked it up because everyone was raving. I could not put it down and the same goes with this book.

What this books is about:
Ambroise is a 12 year old with many issues - fatherless, severe pea
Rachel Hartman
Nov 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
I don't usually enjoy realistic YA, but I found this utterly charming. It was the voice, frankly. I know this kid. I've BEEN this kid. Socially awkward, lying to spare mom's feelings, thinking my too-small purple pants are awesome. Funny, and occasionally lightly mortifying.

In addition, the book is set in my neighbourhood, which was hilariously fun. Like seeing someone you know in a movie, and you can't stop giggling.

Fair warning for the squeamish: some bad language and discussion of bodily func
Nov 17, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: middle-grade
Meh. Based on the title alone, I should have loved this book. But I couldn't get past my profound dislike for Ambrose's mother and the vague but persistent sense that the author just couldn't pull off her attempts at creating an authentic voice for her adolescent boy character.

For the most part, he was sweet and eccentric. But then she'd try to insert some pubescent male lewdness, and it just didn't work. I get that she was aiming for a realistic narrative, and since she was writing from the pe
Dylan Tsao
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-just-right
Amazing book, ending was great and it made me happy. I liked this book because of the character that slowly unfolds throughout the book. Many ups and downs throughout the book. I got to see how Ambrose survived with being bullied and overly protected. Nothing would stop this boy from doing what he loves most which is hanging out with Cosmo. This book isn't too long and recommend this book to people that need a break from a long book. There is one mystery that Ambrose wants to find out and that i ...more
Jabiz Raisdana
So at one point, I am on the airplane tears in my eyes (tears of joy) and laughing out loud. This book is beautiful and simple and perfect for every middle school student. Ambrose is a quirky, funny, and relateable 12 year old that I could not help but fall in love with.

A simple yet moving plot, characters you will love and hate-- this book needs to be read. If you liked Wonder and Diary of a Part Time Indian than get your hands on this book. I already miss Ambrose and Cosmo.
Mar 22, 2015 rated it did not like it
This book was nasty and greasy! - Dylan

This book was so much about pity, the main character was bullied and had no personality, all he liked to do was play scrabble.
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Cute, a little darker than her later books.
Dec 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Ahhh!! This book is amazing!!! I want to read more about Ambrose, Cosmo, Amanda and everyone else. Which is why I love Susin’s books. She uses the same characters in her books do we don’t JUST see one part of Ambrose’s life. Or Cosmo’s. Example- (and spoilers to anyone who hasn’t read Dear George Clooney) Cosmo and Amanda’s wedding in Dear George Clooney Please Marry my Mom! I absolutely fangirled over that part.
10/10 recommend
Suzanne Montigny
Another Great Read

Another typical Susin Nielson great read. Funny, flowing, and fanciful. I hope she never stops writing her truly awesome books.
Jun 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya
Quick, fun read. Protagonist is realistic an does stuff that a 12 year old boy would do. He is funny and caring and thus the target of bullies.
Love the scrabble connection.
Jun 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The characters were phenomenal. And I love how she includes the the same characters in her different books. she writes the most upsetting but lovely book I have read yet.
Jan 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was such a great YA book & I loved pretty much all of the characters. it had similarities to About a Boy (well the main character reminded me of the main character form that book) but that does not detract from how sweet it was. 3.5 stars. ...more
Aug 24, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 7th grade and up
So charming! Ambrose, a 12-year-old living with his single mom, has his hands full with his peanut allergy (the cover says "this book is peanut-free"), his mom's overprotectiveness, and the school bullies. But when his mom starts working nights and enrolls him in online school, he's got some unsupervised time...time enough to meet the upstairs neighbors' son Cosmo, who has just gotten out of jail. Of course, Ambrose's mom forbids him to spend time with Cosmo, but Ambrose is pining for a father f ...more
Kathleen Dixon
Jan 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kathleen by: the Bookshop
This is the second book I've read by this author (my first was We Are All Made of Molecules) - both have been about misfit boys and involve other characters who are different to the 'norm'. Happily, Nielsen does it well; even more happily, I'm satisfied enough that I'm marking her to continue reading.

In Word Nerd the boy is 12 years old, has a peanut allergy and a severely over-protective mother, plays Scrabble with his mother every night, is a victim of bullies, etc. His mother has been moving
May 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
It's looking like I've bagged The Ultimate Triple Score Word with "Word Nerd" here! 🎖👌🏆
A coming-of-age, square-peg-in-a-round-hole story set in Canada, it has themes of prejudice, unlikely friendships, family ties and school bullying. Apart from the fact that it's a ripper of a page-turner, I also love its signature feature of naming each chapter with a single word anagram. Gimmicky maybe, but a fun way for the reader to get into the word game spirit and play along.
Loved this a lot. Affectionate portrayals of all characters, detailed and flawed, making it authentic and emotional satisfying.

May 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
The cover:

I love the "peanut-free" marking at the top-right corner, especially since it's so relevant. The colours complement each other well, but I wish the background wasn't completely black. A little setting would've been nice.

The book:

The humour in the first-person voice is apparent from the first exchange shown between Ambrose and a group of bullies. His frank, often unintentionally funny style of talking gains him enemies just as easily as friends, while the reader is endeared to him by hi
Oct 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
[Read for Puget Sound Council Review]

Ambrose, the main character in Word Nerd is somewhat reminiscent of the main character in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. They posses a similar social awkwardness and the author of each book does an excellent job of showing the reader the mechanics of each child’s brain. Susin Nielsen occasionally falters in her depiction of Ambrose’s young mind, giving his voice an inappropriate adult sound; he is smart and has an incredibly extensive vocab
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Susin got her start feeding cast and crew on the popular television series, Degrassi Junior High. They hated her food, but they saw a spark in her writing. Nielsen went on to pen sixteen episodes of the hit TV show. Since then, Nielsen has written for over 20 Canadian TV series. Her first young adult novel, Word Nerd, was published in 2008 to critical acclaim. It won multiple Young Readers’ Choice ...more

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