That is the claim on the cover of Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen but it’s not entirely accurate since in the very first chapter we witness three bullies slip a peanut into Ambrose’s sandwich and nearly kill him. A severe peanut allergy and the fact that his father died before he was even born mean that twelve-year-old Ambrose has to move whenever his mother gets a new teaching job, that he never really has any friends, and that he never gets to eat out at a restaurant. Things start to look up when his landlords’ son Cosmo moves home after being in prison. Unfortunately, Ambrose’s over-protective mother does not approve of Cosmo at all. Much sneaking around and hilarity ensues and Ambrose manages to make his mother see that she may just need to learn to relax.
I really enjoyed this novel and I think that kids will too. Ambrose is hopelessly nerdy, so much so that you groan at the situations he gets himself into. With a neighbour and friend like Cosmo, however, there is hope that Ambrose can reduce the number of groan-out-loud situations.