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Into the Wild Nerd Yonder

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  3,907 Ratings  ·  562 Reviews
It’s Jessie’s sophomore year of high school. A self-professed “mathelete,” she isn’t sure where she belongs. Her two best friends have transformed themselves into punks and one of them is going after her longtime crush. Her beloved older brother will soon leave for college (and in the meantime has shaved his mohawk and started dating . . . the prom princess!) . . .

Things a
Hardcover, 245 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by Feiwel & Friends
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Cristiana No. The book is judgemental and annoying. Don't bother.

Community Reviews

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Apr 10, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: nerds worldwide
Recommended to Tatiana by: Minli
Shelves: 2011, ya, chick-lit
I feel like Into the Wild Nerd Yonder is a book for me, about me, and at some moments could have been written by me.

The fact that I am here, on Goodreads, and writing a book review is a proof enough that I am an unapologetic nerd. And who isn't here, right? This is why this novel about embracing one's nerdiness had such an appeal to me.

It raises an interesting question - why is it so shameful to acknowledge one's nerdiness? And I will take it a bit further - when did "nerdy" behavior become so
Apr 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011, ya
It is kind of hard for me to relate to this book totally, because it’s about one girl’s slow acceptance of her own nerdy ways, and I never struggled with that. I was a magnificently huge nerd in high school. I never had my own car, so I took the bus to and from school all the way through my senior year, and was thus the oldest person to take the bus (although my best friend had a 1960’s Dodge Dart with a sweet teal paint job and a passenger door that would swing open unexpectedly during sharp tu ...more
Mar 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: those who love coming-of-age-romantic-comedies
I can't help it, I'm a sucker for cute-funny-girlie-romantic books. Love them...

This book had the right amount of laugh out loud moments+teen-drama+lovable-characters which all = one hell of a fun read...

I thought the writing was cleaver, and it had the perfect quantity of sarcastic dialogue I always enjoy. Nothing was over done or over the top, which was a major plus for me.

I didn't think the characters were too stereotypical or too exaggerated. I really loved the main protagonist Jessie and
Rachel Hartman
May 22, 2011 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars. Cute, but ultimately lightweight and unsatisfying.

On the one hand, I could relate to every bit of this. I was the "good girl" nerd who took a while to admit to (let alone take pride in) her nerdiness. I have played more D&D than you can shake a stick at -- though mostly as an adult, and I DM a game to this day, bitchez! I used to sew (although I was pretty bad at it); I was always completely behind my peers in things like smoking and drinking and sex. I have wonderful siblings wh
Apr 11, 2011 rated it really liked it
Jessie sews her own skirts, aces math class, plays the drums and is basically adorable. Anyway, the gist of this novel is that she casts off her loser poseur friends for a bunch of nerds who play D&D. Hilarity ensues.

I did have a few "eh" moments, but they are minimal and easily disregarded. As a teenager, I was fascinated by the social ladder as depicted in youth media (Mean Girls, The Princess Diaries, Taylor Swift's "You Belong with Me") because I never really noticed it at my own high sc
Hayley Swanson
Sep 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Warning: This review may be a little crude for some.

This book.

Oh man, this book. I wish this book had been longer. I wasn't ready for it to end.

The thing I loved most about this book was Jessie's voice, and how perfectly the author nailed the mind of a fifteen-year-old girl. That's what I loved most, what had me tearing through the pages and cheering for Jessie at her accomplishments, but what really won this book over for me from a good book to a really special and rare gem was something that I
Katie Fitzgerald
My two favorite things about this book are as follows:

1. Allusions to great YA books. When I was a teenager, I tried to read, listen to, and learn about everything I ever saw referenced in my favorite books. To see references to Life As We Knew It, Elsewhere, and Harry Potter thrilled me not just because two of the three are favorites of mine, but also because I think talking about contemporary teen fiction made Jessie that much more real.

2. This book spoke to my own high school self. Like Jes
Jacob Proffitt
Apr 07, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: romance, young-adult
It was tough staying with this book long enough to become interested in it. The book is something of a Bildungsroman in that it is intended to describe the growth of the main character into maturity. Unfortunately, Jessie, the heroine, isn't very interesting and she's surrounded by people who aren't nice and who you'd rather she wasn't with.

The sole saving grace of the early parts of the book is Jessie's older brother Barrett. He's devoted to Jessie without being a wimp about it and their intera
Apr 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
This coming-of-age, finding oneself book was soo good. It's about not worrying about what others think, about not being afraid to be yourself, friendships and general dorkiness. It was such blast.

slight spoilers ahead:

Jesse is your run-of-the-mill, typical teenage girl. Her brother is the cool-punky guy who everyone adores. He is in a band with Van, who is 'that guy'. You know, the one all the girls swoon over. Jesse is not an exception. She's been crushing over him for as long as she can rememb
This has been lurking around in my to-read list, but after meeting the author and discussing the different editions of Dungeons and Dragons with her, I had to bump it up to the top. I’m decidedly outside this book’s target audience, but ended up relating to it anyway.

The most interesting thing about this story is its determination to blend a surprisingly accurate portrayal of playing D&D with a fairly standard “affluent teen girl has affluent teen girl problems” romantic comedy. These are tw
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sarah Bean the Green Bean Teen Queen for

Jessie doesn't know where she belongs in high school anymore. Her best friends have turned into overnight punks. Her punk rock brother is dating the prom princess. In a quest to find new friends, Jessie stumbles upon the Dungeons and Dragons crowd. But if she ventures into the wild nerd yonder, can she ever come back?

I love Julie Halpern - she writes with so much humor and heart that it makes for a great read. As a fellow nerd,
This will have to be chalked up to a case of, "It's not you, it's me." Into the Wild Nerd Yonder is a very cute book, with a very realistic sounding narrator. But the problem, my problem that is, is that Jessie simply wasn't relatable. This is a girl who, upon entering her sophomore year of high school is feeling left out and left behind by her whorish (and not very nice) best friends. While Jessie's friends are discovering what sort of young adults they want to be, discovering boys, music and d ...more
May 27, 2011 rated it liked it
Funny! Two things I found hilarious: her family’s Krispy Kreme anecdote. Ick. And the trepidation she felt in her probable entry into nerd-dom. That she makes a pro’s and con’s list as to said debut should have been a major clue as to said entry. And then there's the fact that she sews her own skirts, has "A+" days when she gets tons of those, and uses flash cards for pre-calc class. Without D&D, she's basically in anyway. The differences between dork and nerd still eludes me, but either way ...more
Jun 12, 2014 rated it did not like it
With books like these, YA = Garbage equation is becoming more and more sensible to my tortured mind. The book is loaded with the mediocre, the awful and the just plain nasty... and there are very obvious ways that the author did to extend the word count without really adding any meaningful content.

The characters? Uh! There is almost no effort in characterization at all. They all are very much the bare cliché. One dimensional, predictable, unrealistic, flat... boring. It is almost impossible to c
Lindsay Tramble
Mar 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is no literary masterpiece, but its one of the funniest novels I've ever read (and it's a short, fun read too - I finished it in a little more than 24 hours). I fell in love with all of the hilarious characters immediately, from quirky makes-her-own-funky-skirts Jessie, to curly-haired-nerdy-but-sweet Henry, to Dungeon-and-Dragon-master-dork Dottie, to adoring-ex-punk older brother Barrett. Jessie was so likable and simple; after being ditched by her oldest friends in the world on the ...more
This was an enjoyable realistic book about a teenage girl who dumps her user friends and finds true friends with *gasp* the D&D nerds.

Some things I didn't like about the book: The family got a long far too well for having two teenagers so close in age. The geek group conveniently had a dream boat dressed up in geek clothing. A new pair of pants and some new shoes and viola--perfect boyfriend. The clique jumping happened a little too easy. For someone who's has the cool factor of the punk br
Oct 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I really liked this book. At first, Jessie, the main character got on my nerves a little. I thought it was annoying how she kept reiterating the she loved school, loved math was so smart etc but then she tried to act like she was so much cooler than the nerds. What's the difference? Once I got past that though, I really enjoyed reading this and thought that Halpern did a great job capturing the high school scene, teens and the conflict that teens feel when they might be drawn to someone or somet ...more
When I was a freshman in high school, my best friend and I tried out for a neighborhood softball team. She made the team and I didn't. At first, I didn't really care because I had no interest in sports (maybe why i didn't make the team) and shrugged it off. But I didn't realize it was the catalyst that ended things with my best friend. She went off to practice and games and new friends. I was suddenly not part of her life. It was pretty devastating. No fights, no falling out, just a slow fade.

Jun 10, 2017 rated it liked it
Roll for initiative: Into the Wild Nerd Yonder had been on my TBR list for ages because I wanted to read about teenage Dungeons and Dragons players. Right off the bat I connected with Jessie's narrative voice and I liked that she was a teenager who was fairly self-possessed, all things considered. Although she has normal teen insecurities and misunderstandings, she doesn't tolerate (much) mistreatment and doesn't agonize (much) over decisions like her own popularity.

Roll for attack: I was disap
Jun 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
"How is it that someone becomes a dork? Do they choose to, just like Bizza and Char decided to turn punk? Are they born that way? What makes some people like punk music and Denny's and other people like costumes and Dungeons and Dragons? And where do I fit into all of this?"

One word: Adorkable!

Into the Wild Nerd Yonder is hilarious, witty, and so very (sometimes even painfully) relatable. Though I know I'm a little too old for the character to fully enjoy some of her mannerisms or one-liners,
Mar 31, 2015 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
I'm rating this from 34 pages in... I did not finish this book and I will not be finishing this book.

For one, the reason why I rated this a one star is because zero is not an option. It should be, but it isn't.

The protagonist is judgemental, whiny and acts like a 12 year old who just got pushed on the playground by the cool boy in her class and now thinks he's in love with her. Allow me to provide examples!

Scene from page 24, Van has asked Jessie if she wants to grab lunch. They are at Wendy's.

♥ Sarah
Oct 21, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
2.5 stars

The story was cute, but a bit too shallow, juvenile, and judgmental for my tastes. I might’ve enjoyed this book much more, if I read it as a middle schooler.

I was a bit annoyed with the use of parentheses in every other sentence. Not to mention, Jessie’s passive-aggressive, judgmental, and holier-than-thou attitude…OK, so your best friends transformed into total poser punks; they wanted to look cool so they picked up smoking, and they’re starting to get a little boy crazy – with the w
Aug 01, 2012 rated it liked it
I just came across this book again today and remember really enjoying it and thought I had written a review for it at the time. Turns out I posted the review on tumblr 4 years ago, but not on here.

So below is my review from May 8th, 2011:

So I read this book today.

It was a sweet sunday afternoon sort of read.

If I gave you a plot summary it would seem really almost absurdly nerdy and for a very select audience. But that’s not true, so I won’t.

I will say that I really appreciated that it was a youn
Feb 09, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: teen-fiction
3.5 stars
Too often in the literary YA world, the plain girl gets a miraculous make-over that makes her beautiful, or the fat girl finds a way to become skinny, or an unpopular girl suddenly discovers herself as the center of attention or steals the heart of some cookie cutter popular boy. It's usually the same old story: the special girl somehow achieves the mainstream desire and becomes boringly normal and we're supposed to applaud and call it a happy ending.
Into the Wild Nerd Yonder is refres
Jan 20, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult, fails
Julie Halpern’s "Into the Wild Nerd Yonder" is to parenthesis as Mark Helprin’s "Winter’s Tale" is to thesaurus. Shame on her editor, just down right shame. There were nine sets of parenthesis in two double spaced pages. Nine! It wasn’t even a forgivable one time occurrence, this continued through the entire book. There are even parentheses in the synopsis! Do you know how distracting it is (I went to the grocery store today) to be interrupted in the middle (My cat is named after Fleur Delacour) ...more
Sarah BT
Jun 20, 2009 rated it really liked it
I love Julie Halpern-she writes with so much humor and heart that it makes for a great read. As a fellow nerd, I adored Jessie's journey to the nerd side. Granted, Jessie was never a super popular girl herself. She claims to be a mathlete and her hobby is sewing various skirts made from fun themed fabric. (I wish I could sew just to do that too!) But Jessie knows the D&D crowd is a new level of nerd and she doesn't know if she's ready to go there.

Aside from the nerd storyline, there's a gre
Feb 07, 2010 rated it liked it
Once again...3.5 stars. Hmmm....what can I say about this book? Read the blurb. I really liked it a lot. I thought the author did a good job of capturing a teenager's desire to find a "niche", "clique"-whatever you want to call it. I could really identify with Jessie being drawn to the "nerds" but still not being sure if she was willing to put herself out there to the judgement. I get it. I loved it when she just gave up and owned it. I loved her brother. I loved the fact that her family was a f ...more
Apr 13, 2011 rated it liked it
At times this book just charmed my Freaks & Geeks loving heart to pieces. There wasn't nearly the emotional poignancy of that wonderful television show but between the punks, the posers, the 20 sided die and the identity crises, it definitely made me nostalgic in a wonderful way.

I wasn't sure about Jessie at first but I really grew to like her. I loved her no B.S. attitude and that she had well-developed hobbies and interests. Originally, it was funny to me that a girl who sewed and wore Elm
Stevie Oberg
Jan 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everybody
Shelves: favorites
Rating: buyable!

Cover Critique: eyecatching!
Though I wanted to read this book before I saw the cover. But I really like the color scheme (though I hate pink) it's still pretty to look at.

Critical Reading: I loved the characters and their descriptions. But to me this story kinda lagged at the ending, not to give away any spoilers or anything but it was quite the disappointment. And you could tell that it was rushed.

Review: Into the Wild Nerd Yonder was a good book that could have been much bette
Steph Su
Jul 06, 2009 rated it liked it
INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER is a cute and heartfelt look into the treacherous waters that is high school friendships. While it didn’t make me fall in love with it as it did with many others, INTO THE WILD NERD YONDER was still a charming read with excellent characters.

Jessie is a likable protagonist, with her sewing tendencies, warm-hearted worries, and self-proclaimed nerdiness. She’s nerdy, but not in a way that will put off readers/potential friends. She has such a healthy relationship with her
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JULIE HALPERN is the author of five young adult novels and one picture book for young readers. Maternity Leave is her first novel for adults. Prior to her life as full-time mom and author, Julie was a school librarian. In her imaginary spare time, she enjoys traveling, watching television for grown-ups, and eating baked goods. Julie lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, author and illustr ...more
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“Char bought a pack of clove cigarettes, claiming they tasted good, to which I ask why doesn't she just go suck on a clove so I don't have to inhale her perfumed second hand smoke?” 13 likes
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