Love them 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 really loved the main protagonist Jessie and her adorable brother Barrett. Too cute. Jess struggled in the story with where she fit in and whether, she was okay with being average, but nerdy.
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Not like my best friends, Bizza and Char. Would it be lame to say that they define me? So I ask you: Why not just name her Bizza? I guess for the same reason my parents named me Jessica but call me Jessie. Unlike Bizza, uncommon in every way. Is it her name that makes her cocky and clever, weird but cool, funny but scary at the same time?
Can a name do all of that? If I truly wanted to, could I become infamous, too? Not that I want to, but could I? Full name: Charlotte Antonia Phillips, every bit as gorgeous as her name implies, thin, but not skinny, tall, but not imposing, and hair so thick you could use it for climbing when in distress. Why are they referred to as "popular" anyway? That would suggest that everyone likes them, which is virtually impossible since popular people are notorious for treating the commoners like crap.
But popularity among the masses has never been anything that Bizza, Char, or I have aspired to. At least my Pink Lady had a name, right? Bizza, Char, and I have always had this fantastic creative energy, and a lot of funky things were born out of our friendship. The soap was so funny, we actually got it aired on cable access although I think cable access channels are legally required to air anything anyone sends them. In eighth grade we started a band, The Chakras Char thought it sounded "mystical" , and we all took up instruments.
Char was the statuesque and statuelike, since the only things she moved were her fingers bass player. I think it goes along with my crazy math abilities. Sadly, The Chakas broke up after Bizza and Char decided that it was more interesting telling people we were in a band than actually practicing.
Which I consider a good thing, most of the time. But things are starting to change. Last year, freshman year, I had the genius plan to start a sewing business. My mom has always made funny clothes for me, mainly for Halloween, but sometimes for other festive occasions I look back fondly on my Arbor Day beret , and she taught me to sew last summer.
My idea was to create simple, A-line skirts using a basic sewing pattern, but making them out of all of the hilarious fabrics they sell at fabric stores. Prairie dog fabric. They even have fabric for hunters: deer awaiting tragic death as they hang out in the woods. What kind of hunter would wear that pattern? How quaint. I thought the skirt thing was an obvious great idea, and Bizza and Char humored me for all of two days. His friends, for the most part, are pretty nice to me. Not to mention the damage it can do to my skirts.
Even though Bizza and Char would rather make holes in their lungs and mine than make skirts, I am still way into the sewing. My goal is to sew enough skirts this summer to have a different skirt for every day of the school year.
Such a bummer because the end of summer is usually so amazing. Now I play Would You Rather? Tough call these days. I have always held a mix of admiration and embarrassment for Bizza. When we arrived at the smoky booth, Bizza gestured to me with her eyes as though I was supposed to introduce, or maybe even announce, her. Van has this amazing smile, a freaky cool crooked nose, and dark hair that looks so perfectly imperfect.
This is Char. I pulled up a chair. How do you get it to stay so black? This could have bothered me more, except any conversation between Bizza and a guy sounds flirty. Kind of annoying, but meaningless and completely the norm. I totally saw them there. I almost got the same ones," Bizza noted importantly. Each summer night was filled with identically inane conversations.
I frequently tried telling Bizza that I had some sewing I wanted to finish this summer, but she would just say something like, "Whatever, Holly Hobby, you can sew later. Bizza is an expert at that. So my final nights of summer were wasted with mediocrity and cigarettes.
Not literally, of course. The conversations turned away from music and moved to food, TV, movies — anything that Bizza deemed worthy of chatter. As the days went by, my skirts got smokier, and the weeping willow tree house got lonelier.
Thank god, the summer is just about over. Yeah, I used to like the first day of school. Until my best friends decided to turn punk. Like Jenna Marny, who left school after eighth grade a fat, invisible nobody and came back a skinny, nose-jobbed somebody.
Or lacrosse. Or maybe both? Summer can do that to a person. Now Bizza and Char can be added to the list of the Great Transformed. I sort of have a fear of trying anything different than shoulder length, parted a tad off to the side, ever since the Mushroom Cut Debacle of third grade. Who knew that, shortened, my hair would fluff up and become bizarrely fungi-shaped? The trauma left me with no choice but to leave my hair as is for the rest of my life, to ensure that nothing hair embarrassing ever happens again.
I experiment a little with some fun eye shadow colors and decide that green looks best with my brown eyes. The excitement of new classes, seeing people who I like in an everyday way but not an outside-of-school way, and organizing my locker always springs me to life. I follow every back-to-school sale in the Sunday paper, compare prices, highlight the ads, visit all of the necessary stores, and then hide the supplies in my genuinely worn, not faux-distressed, red backpack.
I love opening the backpack on First Day of School Eve and — surprise! I take one last look in the mirror before heading down to breakfast. I look kind of cute in my new skirt and eye shadow. Not much different than last year, but not all of us are dying to turn into someone else.
Most of the time, anyway. At breakfast, Mom and Dad run around, grabbing for newspapers and coffee cups. Both of them are teachers, although we like to refer to Mom as Doc, since she received her Ph. I never quite understood how regular teachers could turn into doctors. Like our old, horrid, Southern gym teacher, Dr. What did she have a Ph. Rope climbing? Child torture? At least in my house. Sloan always leave the house a little before me and Barrett, to uphold the appearance that all teachers do, in fact, live in their classrooms.
She keeps her makeup to a minimum, and her hair is straight and brown, like mine, but in permanent mom-bob. People always tell us we look alike. Excerpted by permission of Feiwel and Friends. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Into the Wild Nerd Yonder
Not like my best friends, Bizza and Char. Would it be lame to say that they define me? So I ask you: Why not just name her Bizza? I guess for the same reason my parents named me Jessica but call me Jessie. Unlike Bizza, uncommon in every way. Is it her name that makes her cocky and clever, weird but cool, funny but scary at the same time? Can a name do all of that?
[PDF] Into the Wild Nerd Yonder Book by Julie Halpern Free Download (245 pages)
A Cybils Award Finalist! Her narrative voice is unusually honest, and the at times bawdy dialogue is realistic and bitingly funny. This novel is particularly strong in showing how teen friendships evolve and sometimes die away, and how adolescents redefine themselves. 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 off his mohawk and started dating Things are changing fast.