The Wrong Kind of Weird

Inkyard. Jan. 2023. 320p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781335428585.
Gr 9 Up–Ramos takes the traditional high school romance story and gives it an endearing coat of nerd that makes this book a fun romantic romp. Cameron feels at home with his best friends, D’Anthony and Jocelyn, in the cozy confines of their school group, G.A.N.U. (Geeks and Nerds United), where they can relate to one another’s nerdiness that no one else in school understands. However, his senior year brings two new people into his life in the form of Mackenzie, a girl he can’t figure out who joins G.A.N.U., and Karla, the quintessential popular high-achieving girl. After being brought into Karla’s orbit through a summer job, a chance romance ignites between them. While Cameron can’t figure out how it’s happening, he’s determined to show her and the school that even though they come from different social classes, there’s no reason they can’t be together. Meanwhile, his relationship with Mackenzie is born from an enemy-to-almost-lovers story arc that sneaks up on Cameron in true romantic comedy style. Ramos crafted a YA romance with diversity in the lead and several important characters, a great step in representation for the genre as well. Add in good examples of young adults dealing with topics like consent and intimacy, along with issues of masculinity and how people from different social classes can mix, and you have a book well deserving of finding its way onto the shelves of any library with a YA collection.
VERDICT A truly enjoyable romantic read, especially for libraries with a healthy collection of anime/manga for all its cultural references throughout.

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