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Word Nerd

Written by Susin Nielsen

Key Stage 3 Key Stage 4 Family / Home Stories Humorous School Stories

LoveReading View on Word Nerd

One of our Books of the Year 2016 | In a nutshell: sad | funny| touching  | Susin Nielsen has won many fans for her poignant, character-driven stories of young people in difficult situations. Ambrose, the eponymous word nerd, is just such a central character: he’s isolated and lonely – shocked by the sudden death of his father his mother is anxious and over-protective – socially awkward too. His life changes when he strikes up a kind of friendship a neighbour, without telling his mum because Cosmo is a former drug addict with a prison record. This in turn leads to more friends as the two join a local Scrabble club, and a happy outcome for each. Readers will totally believe in this friendship, and root for Ambrose and Cosmo. A feel-good story filled with memorable characters, and one that sneaks all sorts of truths about life past its readers too.

Readers who enjoy Word Nerd will also like A Seven Letter Word by Kim Slater, which also uses Scrabble as a hook for a moving story about struggling young people, while Stacey Matson writes satisfying, heart-warming stories about kids overcoming problems. ~ Andrea Reece


Word Nerd Synopsis

Ambrose Bukowski is a twelve-year-old with a talent for mismatching his clothes, for saying the wrong thing at the worst possible time, and for words. In short, he's a self-described nerd. Making friends is especially hard because he and his overprotective mother, Irene, have had to move so often. And when bullies at his latest school almost kill him by deliberately slipping a peanut into his sandwich to set off his allergy, it's his mother who has the extreme reaction. From now on, Ambrose has to be home-schooled. Then Ambrose strikes up an unlikely friendship with the landlord's son, Cosmo, an ex-con who's been in prison. They have nothing in common except for Scrabble. But a small deception grows out of control when Ambrose convinces a reluctant Cosmo to take him to a Scrabble club. Could this spell disaster for Ambrose?

Word Nerd Reader Reviews

Some of our Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel were lucky enough to read We are All Made of Molecules, another title by this author. You can read their full reviews by clicking here.

  • Sophia Ufton - 'Amazing story, wonderfully written, loved the book.'
  • Ella Hollingshead, age 13 - 'a fantastic read that should appeal to most, full of love and humour. I couldn't put this book down!'
  • Natalie Hunter, age 13 - 'I loved this book. It was funny and the characters were adorable and so believable. The plot was great and so were all the little plot twists.'
  • Susanna, age 12 - 'an amazing book. Although slightly mature, this has fantastic plot lines. I loved this book, it’s really engaging, I just couldn’t put it down!'
  • Edel Waugh - 'This is the touching and funny story about a young boy called Stewart who moves with his dad into his dad's girlfriends
    inspiring uplifting read. I recommend this to everyone!'
  • Jade Craddock - 'And from the first page to the last, the novel’s a really emotive book that succeeds equally in its melancholic and comic threads.'
  • Maddy Faulkner - 'I love this book, I have read and re-read this so many times and it never gets boring.'
  • Amelia White, age 15 - 'Molecules make up most of us! An amazing book would recommend to teen readers.'
  • Thora, age 13 – 'This book was happy, funny, sad, tear-jerking and thought provoking. I enjoyed the way it dealt with important issues in a light-hearted style.'
  • Jodi Coffman, age 13 - 'This was a great book and really different to normal books.  It was really good to read something different for a change and it was definitely worth it. It was brilliant!'
  • Amanda Gray – 'There were some generally, wonderful features and important messages in this book that, given how diverse the young adult sector is trying to be, you don't see all that often, and that's wonderful.'

Word Nerd Press Reviews

'Ambrose Bukowski is the titular nerd and it's in his delightful, disarming voice that Word Nerd unfolds ... a funny, wry tale' Globe and Mail

'This is a tender, often funny story with some really interesting characters. It will appeal to word nerds, but even more to anyone who has ever longed for acceptance or had to fight unreasonable parental restrictions' School Library Journal, starred review

'Enlivened by the witty, articulate musings of a hyper-observant and eccentric protagonist, Word Nerd is also chock-full of valuable lessons about being yourself and giving second chances. A page-turner' Quill & Quire

Praise for We are All Made of Molecules:

'There are many great voices in YA fiction, but Susin Nielsen manages to give us TWO in the same book. I defy you not to fall in love with this book.' Phil Earle

'Snappy and witty. A really fine YA novel.' Martin Chilton Telegraph Books

'A book to fortify readers against bullies and homophobes.' Nicolette Jones Sunday Times

'I loved We Are All Made of Molecules, it's a really special little book with a huge heart and one of the most enjoyable YA books I've read in some time' Melissa Cox, Waterstones

'There's already so much love out there for this one, and deservedly so. Two of the most memorable characters you will read this year... Nielsen deals with some big issues - grief, loss, bullying and homophobia - but anchors the story with terrific warmth and humour. One to make you laugh, cry and read in one sitting.' -- Fiona Noble Editor's Choice, The Bookseller

'There's so much to love about this story, but what grabbed me most is the humour. Who do I write to to join the Susin Nielsen fan club?' -- Christopher Paul Curtis

‘I defy you not to fall in love with this book’ Phil Earle

‘Bursts of laughter and moments of sadness - what a gem!’ Kew Bookshop

‘Irresistible characters, this is set to become one of the most popular books of the year’ Lovereading
‘Nielsen excels at characterisation... Unputdownable.‘ INIS

‘One of the best YA books I’ve read. It pulled me from the depths of a month-long reading slump... It made me excited to read again’ Wondrous Reads

‘Susin Nielsen’s depiction of grief was pitch perfect. A sweet, funny, touching and incredibly important book’
So Many Books, So Little Time

Book Information

ISBN: 9781783444601
Publication date: 6th October 2016
Author: Susin Nielsen
Publisher: Andersen Press Ltd
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 256 pages
Year Groups: Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4
Topics: Bullying / Violence / Abuse, Family / Home Stories, Humorous, School Stories

About Susin Nielsen

Susin Nielsen 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 many Canadian TV series. Nielsen's first two young adult novels, Word Nerd and Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom, received critical acclaim and multiple Young Readers' Choice Awards. The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen won the prestigious Governor General's Literary Award, the Canadian Library Association's Children's Book of the Year and ...

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