Rave Reviews Log: Realistic Fiction

April 18, 2009

Word Nerd

By Susin Nielsen
Rating: 4 stars

In this amusing novel, Ambrose is well and truly a 12 year old misfit. With a life-threatening peanut allergy, bad taste in clothes, an overprotective and overbearing mother, and no money, Ambrose is the whipping boy for every school bully in every school he's ever attended. And he's attended several since his mother keeps them moving around in search of an elusive permanent university teaching position. Now they've landed in a basement apartment in Vancouver below a friendly older Greek couple. Ambrose's mother pulls him out of school after the local bullies nearly kill him by putting a peanut in his sandwich and it is while Ambrose is bored at home that he slowly begins to befriend Cosmo, his upstairs neighbors' son, recently released from jail for breaking and entering. Older Cosmo has no interest in Ambrose, but somehow Ambrose manages to convince Cosmo to bring him to a Scrabble club and slowly a partnership and then a friendship is born between the pair. Cosmo helps teach Ambrose some self-defense and Ambrose helps keep Cosmo on the straight and narrow...until Ambrose's mom finds out. Will Ambrose be forced to leave the first place he's ever been happy? Ambrose is a wry 12 year old, as blind to the world at times as he is insightful, and it is impossible not to like and laugh along with him. While he is definitely interested and embarrassed by many a thing a nearly teenage boy would be (read: girls and his own body), Ambrose is also very young in other ways. A very enjoyable story about becoming more comfortable in your own skin, and it all starts with Scrabble. Who knew?


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