Review: Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen

Word NerdTitle: Word Nerd

Author: Susin Nielsen
Genres: Middle Grade

‘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 and decides that Ambrose will be home-schooled.
Alone in the evenings when Irene goes to work, Ambrose pesters Cosmo, the twenty-five-year-old son of the Greek landlords who live upstairs. Cosmo has just been released from jail for breaking and entering to support a drug habit. Quite by accident, Ambrose discovers that they share a love of Scrabble and coerces Cosmo into taking him to the West Side Scrabble Club, where Cosmo falls for Amanda, the club director. Posing as Ambrose’s Big Brother to impress her, Cosmo is motivated to take Ambrose to the weekly meetings and to give him lessons in self-defense. Cosmo, Amanda, and Ambrose soon form an unlikely alliance and, for the first time in his life, Ambrose blossoms. The characters at the Scrabble Club come to embrace Ambrose for who he is and for their shared love of words. There’s only one problem: Irene has no idea what Ambrose is up to.
In this brilliantly observed novel, author Susin Nielsen transports the reader to the world of competitive Scrabble as seen from the honest yet funny viewpoint of a boy who’s searching for acceptance and for a place to call home.’

My thoughts

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-aged Greek couple who live upstairs. When the landlords son Cosmo suddenly arrives home after being discharged from prison, Ambrose and Cosmo form an unlikely friendship over their shared love for scrabble. 

This book made me feel so so happy. It’s a very character-driven story, and the author really get’s into each and every character, which makes you fall in love with every single one of them. I loved Ambrose’s quirks, the way Cosmo treated him and the way the adults were portrayed. The story was told in a very wonderful way, and I loved to see the character- and relationship-development. There is also quite a lot of talk about food in this book, which was wonderful and made me very hungry. 

Word Nerd is perfect for when you just want to sit down and get lost in a simple book for about 2 hours. You’ll finish it with a big smile on your face. 

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