This is the true story about a ginger nerd’s rise from socially awkward laughing stock to quick-witted comedian. Steve Hofstetter had everything going pretty alright for him at school, that is, until he got accepted in a fancy smart school called Hunter, where he knows absolutely no one and no one knows him. It would have been fine if it was just left as that, but he tries way too hard to get people to like him at first and winds up at the bottom of the social ladder. Now he has to deal with the most painfully uncreative bullying tactics possible done by bullies who thought they were geniuses, a real life Regina George, relationships fueled by no real love, huge jerks, a may-or-may-not-be-an-actual-gangster with a switchblade, his own dysfunctional and cheap parents who are borderline hoarders, and his own lack of social experience to work with. He soon gradually begins to earn his own friendships, learns plenty of lessons about love and what a friend truly is, gains confidence, learns about his skill for improv and cultivates a sharp wit to go along with it, joins a Jewish youth group, develops a positive reputation for himself, and finally rises up from his socially doomed status, although he still a huge nerd (and there is nothing wrong about it!).
I really liked this book. I found it to very interesting and funny. I always enjoy getting to learn about other people’s life stories and perspectives, and I feel as though I’ve actually learned some useful tips about interactions with other people.
I thought the most memorable part of the story was the one where he goes to prom. Not to spoil anything, but it is very sweet and satisfying to see how far he’s come in life.
Reviewed by Dahlia, Grade 9, Twin Hickory Library