“Reasons to Love a Nerd Like Me” by Becky Jerams

25823439Title: Reasons to Love a Nerd Like Me
Author(s): Becky Jerams
Genre: Contemporary YA Gay Romance
Publisher: Self Published
Pages/Word Count: 508 Pages

Scotty Williams is the nerdiest 17-year-old at Havensdale College – and proud of it. However being a nerd can have its downsides, particularly when you’re constantly being targeted by the school bully Taylor Raven and his cronies. As Scotty tries to navigate his final college years with the aid of his best friend Olive, he also finds himself on the radar of the mysterious and intimidating Vincent Hunter, toughest guy in the Sixth Form. Is Vincent really as bad as he seems? Will Scotty’s darkest secret ever be revealed? Can he ever just finish his last few college years in peace? But most importantly… will any guy ever find the reasons to love a nerd like him?

I don’t usually read YA. Let me put it this way, I stopped reading YA when I was twelve-years old, after I discovered Michael Crichton and Robert Ludlum. From there I read Clancy and Cornwell. Violence, explicit sexuality, technical occupations, extreme criminal content–these are my first loves. So when I say YA isn’t usually my thing, that’s kinda what I mean, that I like literature that’s the opposite of YA. However, the young adult genre is exploding, and therefore I’ve been finding myself reading more and more of it, and I’ve been pleasantly surprised. Not only are YA books really digging into some deeper and darker themes of being a young person, but they are also brazenly exploring sexuality in ways the adult genre has yet to catch up to.

Reasons to Love a Nerd Like Me is a sweet contemporary romance about a kid in college. I guess technically in the US this would be considered New Adult, not YA, but I think they are seventeen years old in this story, so that’s about right.

The major themes stem from being gay as well as belonging to different social castes. Scotty is a nerd, so among his nerd friends he’s just a nerd (they don’t care about his sexuality), and among the other students in school he’s seen pretty much the same way. Scotty’s crush, a social renegade, is treated much like Scotty, as that social clique he exists in doesn’t probably care about his sexuality, but a lot of his social issues are due to him being a renegade. However, Scotty’s ex is closeted, and one of the star tennis players, so that takes a toll on him socially and emotionally. The kid who “has it all” is actually the one who suffers the most through the entire process, and that implication for our youth is entirely relevant and fascinating.

Scotty was a sweet protagonist, and although he was dangerously close to becoming a Mary Sue;, he had one big flaw that stabbed in the back over and over again: he hates conflict and loves to keep secrets about himself from everyone. This sets him up for some serious teen heartbreak, and that makes this book a fantastic drama. Check it out.

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