When Nerd Camp first came out, my 12 year old daughter and I enjoyed it immensely. When my son read it last summer, at 9, we were both thrilled, since it’s one of our favorite books. When we heard a sequel was coming out, we couldn’t wait!
My son and I read this aloud together, which I enjoy doing with Elissa Brent Weissman’s books (like this one as well), because we can see what makes the other one laugh. Her books are funny and touching as well.
In the first book, Gabe is getting used the idea of having a cool new step-brother, Zack. His summer away at gifted camp is like a welcome reprieve from the struggle of trying to fit in — trying not to be “too nerdy,” and yet still focus on the things he enjoys.
Nerd Camp 2.0 brings us to the next summer. Gabe is enrolled back at the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment and can’t wait to see all his old friends. He’s even been working with Zack to convince his mom and Gabe’s dad to send him away for summer camp as well. Their plan works, but when Zack’s camp is damaged by a forest fire, and nearby SCGE opens half of its grounds up to the cool jock camp, Gabe is secretly terrified. Will Zack still like him when he sees him in all his nerdy glory? Will Gabe’s friend accept his stepbrother? Will camp ever be the same?
The story is told in alternating chapters from Zack’s and Gabe’s POV — a change from the first one which is from Gabe’s POV — and though we liked this addition, we also really love Gabe and his friends and missed the full immersion experience of Gabe, Nikhil and Wesley.
I asked 10-year-old Kyle his thoughts: “Great! Enjoyable! Not quite as good as the first. Well, I can’t decide if it’s as good or not as good. But I liked it!”