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One-Third Nerd

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  419 ratings  ·  81 reviews
A funny, fast-paced, and heartfelt story from the Newbery Honor-winning author of the Al Capone series.

Fifth grade is not for amateurs, according to Liam. Luckily, he knows that being more than one-third nerd is not cool. Liam lives in the Bay area near San Francisco with his mom and two younger sisters. Dakota is fascinated by science and has a big personality but struggl
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 26th 2020 by Yearling Books (first published January 29th 2019)
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  419 ratings  ·  81 reviews

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Ms. B
(view spoiler)Liam's family's dog Cupcake has a bathroom issue and they can't afford any more vet costs. The landlord is threatening eviction if they do not get rid of her. Can Liam and his two younger sisters, Dakota and Izzy come up with a solution by raising money to cover vet costs or solve Cupcake's problem on their own?
Give this one to the dog lovers. You'll be rooting for more Liam and company to find a way
Jess at Such a Novel Idea
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: middle grade and elementary age kids
I received a copy of this book via the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This did not affect my review in any way.

Check out the rest of the review at Such a Novel Idea.

For me, there was a very specific reason I picked this book up, beyond the fact that it just sounded really cute. My life, or more specifically, the life of my daughter, is painfully similar to Liam. Like Liam, my daughter is the same age (although because of her late year birthday, she is in fourth, not fi
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Interest Level: 3-6; Reading Level 5.8

Have you ever been embarrassed by your family and your home? Liam has! He lives in a run down apartment with his mom and two sisters.His third grad sister, Dakota, is a full blown nerd who loves science and has a hard time making friends. She is always doing things to get them in trouble with their landlord, like blowing up a watermelon in the hallway of the apartment building. His other sister, Izzy, has Down Syndrome and she has no trouble making friends b
Note: I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
Ms. Yingling
Nov 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
E ARC from Edelweiss Plus

Liam is in fifth grade and enjoys playing tennis with his friend Dodge. He doesn't enjoy his younger sister Dakota's antics quite so much-- she loves science, and often conducts ill-advised experiments, such as blowing up watermelons and collecting their dog Cupcake's urine to see why she's peeing on the carpets. Too bad she feels compelled to keep it in the refrigerator in a drinking glass! Because their landlord, Mr. Torpse, lives below them, they have to try to be qui
Nicole M. Hewitt
Jan 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review and many more can be found on my blog: Feed Your Fiction Addiction

One-Third Nerd is a heartwarming middle grade story about a typically atypical family just trying to get by. I say typically atypical because, let’s face it, in today’s world very few families fit the standard nuclear family mold. Liam’s parents are divorced and they struggle financially. His youngest sister has Down’s Syndrome and his other little sis is brilliant (but maybe a bit of a handful). I think that Chodenko
Teresa Grabs
Liam, Dakota, and Izzy live in a basement apartment with their mother and dog, Cupcake. Liam's friend, Dodge, is a staple in their house and soon Liam's new friend, Moses, joins the crew. Cupcake develops medical issues and needs to see an expensive doctor at UC Davis, so the kids try to earn enough money for her.

The premise of the book sounds good and full of potential, but I just could not warm up to the characters. Liam is probably the most realistic character in the family. He is protective
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liam and his two sisters live with their mother, who recently separated from their father, in possibly Oakland, CA. Money is tight so their mother works constantly. Liam the oldest is often responsible for taking care of his 2 sisters. A big problem occurs when their dog Cupcake has difficulty controlling her bladder, which the landlord won't tolerate. This is a big issue for their family who can't afford to move. His sisters, the youngest one Dakota has special needs, and his other sister Izzy ...more
Stephanie Jackson
Jan 18, 2020 rated it liked it
Good book but I was stressed the whole time about the dang dog! Honestly, I had to peek at the final picture to be able to finish the book.
I received this book from the publisher/tour host in exchange of an honest review.

I was so very excited when I got the confirmation that I was accepted for the tour and was scheduled for a review/excerpt. This book has been on my Eep-2019 for some time, so you may just imagine my delight (yes, I was bookshimmying).

Oh, and then I opened the ecopy and found out that this author also wrote the Al Capone series, I read two in that series and liked them both. So my excitement was upped even further.
Maria Antonia
Oct 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Basic Plot: Liam lives with his mom and sisters, Dakota and Izzy. Oh, and their dog Cupcake. But Cupcake has a problem with controlling her, ahem, bladder. And that isn’t good news when the landlord is a grouch and is threatening to evict the family because of it.

1) I really liked the main character, Liam. I especially love his relationship with his sisters… even the one that gives him the most grief. (Dakota. We’ll talk more about her later.)

2) And then there’s Izzy, the youngest of
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books
The award-winning author of the Al Capone series returns with a book for younger children. Liam is a fifth grader whose life has gotten complicated. He lives with his mother and two younger sisters in a basement apartment near San Francisco. Fifth grade isn’t the same as younger grades and Liam is concerned with appearing to not be as poor as his family actually is. Even worse, their dog, Cupcake, has started having a peeing problem and they don’t have the money to get her special tests done. Me ...more
Susan  Dunn
Jun 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: j-fiction
Fifth grader Liam lives with his mom and two younger sisters and their dog, Cupcake, in a run down apartment in a not-so-great neighborhood. They used to have a house, but when their parents got divorced, the kids and their mom had to move to the apartment. As compensation for downsizing, their mom allowed them to get a dog. The kids love Cupcake, but unfortunately a small apartment isn't the best place for a big dog. Cupcake gets regular walks, but lately she has begun to have regular accidents ...more
“Friendship is a gentle thing. More like catching a bird then forcing a stuck drawer closed.”

Liam is one-third nerd but he’s also a really good tennis player, so it balances his nerdiness out and so he doesn’t stick out in 5th grade. Except when his sisters embarrass him. There’s Dakota, third grade 100% science nerd, and proud of it. And then there’s Izzy, a super hugger. But even more embarrassing to Liam is where he lives. When his mom and dad divorced, they couldn’t afford the mortgage anymo
Liam knows that fifth grade is not for beginners and being more than one-third nerd is not cool. Liam and his family live in the Bay area in San Franciso with his mom and two sisters. Dakota has a big personality and loves science but, has a hard time making friends. Izzy has Down syndrome, loves giving hugs and can make friends easily. Their dad works in insurance and lives across town but, stops by with food often. And Cupcake is their lovable German shepherd that guards their apartment.

Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Know why superheroes don’t have sisters?” Moses asks.
“Couldn’t get anything done,” I say. (119)

I was captivated by the narrator Liam and his colorful family: his divorced mother who is trying to make ends meet so they can stay in their tiny basement apartment; his third grade sister Dakota who is sure she has all the answers and that no one else, not even the teachers, knows more than she does, being 100% nerd; his little sister Izzy who has Down syndrome, a hug for everyone, and, it turns out,
Michelle Kidwell
Dec 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing

One-Third Nerd
by Gennifer Choldenko
Random House Children's
Wendy Lamb Books
Children's Fiction
Pub Date 29 Jan 2019

I am reviewing a copy of One Third Nerd through Random House Children’s and Netgalley:

Liam knows fifth grade is not for amateurs, he knows that being one third nerd is okay but anything more than that is not cool. Dakota is his third grade sister whose extremely smart and has a big personalit’s but struggles to make friend. Izzy is in first grade, she has Down Syndrome and makes frien
First sentence: Fifth grade is not for amateurs. You have to watch yourself. Kids notice stuff. What books you read. What sports you follow. What devices you own. And how nerdy you are.

Premise/plot: Liam stars in Gennifer Choldenko's newest middle grade novel. Liam has two sisters--both younger--Dakota and Izzy. Dakota especially is a handful and a half. She is one hundred percent nerd. She loves, loves, loves science and experimenting. Izzy has 47 chromosomes and has some learning difficulties.
Fifth grader Liam has a lot on his mind. Not only does he need to make sure that he maintains his reputation at school, something that is endangered his sister Dakota's nerdy ways, but he is desperate to find a way to save the family dog, Cupcake. When the landlord realizes that Cupcake is incontinent, Liam and his two sisters rack their brains for a solution. But their mother says that they'll have to give the dog away, and their father who often drops by with meals he's cooked, doesn't underst ...more
Leonard Kim
Feb 17, 2019 rated it liked it
The core elements are strong. I end up at 3* not 4* because I do think there were a bit too many extraneous and underdeveloped things here. I did have concerns at first about Dakota, the 100% nerd, as I often do with such characters, but she turned out to be a different character then she first appears to be and part of what makes this worth reading. Dakota is the character with real problems, not Izzy, the sibling with Down Syndrome, and from that standpoint, this plays a bit like a younger ver ...more
Penny Peck
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-ya
In this delightful contemporary novel for 3rd through 5th grades, siblings try to earn money so they can take their dog to the vet and cure her problem of peeing indoors, or their landlord will kick them out. Told in first person by brother Liam, he has several friends, kind teachers, divorcing parents, and two younger sisters - one a science nerd, and one with Down's. Humor is key to the book's charm, as well as its realistic characters and plot. Set in the Bay Area, there are references to loc ...more
Apr 28, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oak Lawn Public Library - Youth Services
Title: One Third Nerd

Author: Gennifer Choldenko

Lexile Level: 540L

Pages: 224

Recommendations & Comments: If you are looking for a book for a younger reader with a higher Lexile, checkout One-Third Nerd. The story is light and even though there are many problems that arise, the characters get through them and the ending is positive. There are also many talking points including a child who has down syndrome, a sick pet, a low-income household, and parents who are separated. It's a fun book with kid
May 05, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gnr-collection
This is a realistic story with heart; it's funny, at times a little sad, and very endearing. Liam is having a rough 5th grade year: he's adjusting to his parents' divorce and has to split his time between tennis (which is his passion) and taking care of his 2 younger sisters in their basement apartment. The family dog, Cupcake, has a problem with bathroom accidents, and their cranky landlord is threatening to evict them if the problem isn't solved. Can Liam and his smart but socially awkward 3rd ...more
Karen Arendt
Nov 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: family, chapter-books
This is such a great story for young people. Liam, Dakota, Izzie, and their dog, Cupcake, are such lovable characters, though Dakota would give any parent gray hair before their time. The children work very hard to keep their dog while keeping up with their daily lives and not letting on that they do not have a lot of money. Liam especially does not want the new kid, Moses, to know because he thinks Moses is rich and would not want to be his friend. The landlrod, Mr. Torpse, is a curmudgeon who ...more
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Thank you to Netgalley and Random House Children’s for the advance Kindle copy of this 1/29/19 release. All opinions are my own.

⭐️⭐️⭐️/5. Liam, a fifth-grader, deals with a lot during the course of this story. His parents are divorced, which causes his family to move into a tiny rental; his sister Dakota is wild in her quest to win a Makerspace competition; his dog is sick and might be the reason they get evicted. There are plenty of laughs, and the author does a wonderful job of including Liam
Read  Ribbet
Award winning author of the Al Capone series Gennifer Choldenko embraces a new family f characters in her latest intermediate grade novel One-Third Nerd. This graphically supported chapter book is very accessible. Some compared it to Beverly Clearly's works. The narrative features an older brother, two younger sisters and recently separated parents. As the split family tries to adjust to living under the control of a landlord in a new apartment, a incontinent dog presents problems. The kids work ...more
Dec 21, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: aqua-limb
If this book had been written before "Al Capone Does My Shirts" it would have been easy to swallow, but this was a step backward for the author. It seemed more like a debut novel than something written by an author who has already been nominated for some pretty solid awards. More than anything it was the character development that really did this book in. Every time the book started knocking on the door of who these kids really were, it pulled back just a little and you never fully grasp their u ...more
Debbie Tanner
This funny little chapter book is about Liam, who lives with his mom and two younger sisters in a basement apartment, since his mom and dad separated and divorced awhile back. They have a big German Shepherd that is struggling with incontinence and his middle sister Dakota is determined to figure out what the problem is (she's a genius and a scientist). This is a nice book about dealing with family issues and trying to do what's best as well as being persistent about things that are important. I ...more
Eileen Winfrey
A good book for 3rd graders and up I think. Liam, a tennis playing 5th grader, has to put up with his precociously intelligent 3rd grade sister Dakota, his other sister Izzy, his divorced parents, their financial difficulty and a dog who can't stop peeing in the apartment. With the help of his sweet friend Dodge and a kind teacher at school, Liam is able to team up with his sisters to keep his mother from giving away their dog. A sweet and sometimes funny tale about the trials of being a family. ...more
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“Dakota?” Izzy asks. “Am I smart enough to be a nerd?” 0 likes
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