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Word Nerd

by Susin Nielsen

Published by Tundra, 2008
248 pages
ISBN: 9780887768750

Ages 10-14

Overprotected Ambrose is doing school by correspondence, which keeps him safe from bullies, but his mother would be horrified if she knew he’s struck up a friendship with Cosmo, the ex-con son of their landlords. It wouldn’t matter that Cosmo is really trying to put his life back together, and it wouldn’t matter that Ambrose is lonely. So Ambrose’s mom doesn’t know that he and Cosmo are hanging out every Wednesday night—at a Scrabble club. Ambrose excels at Scrabble, although he still has a lot to learn about how to play the game and how to handle both wins and losses with less swaggering, less petulance, and more grace. Always a misfit, the twelve-year-old finds himself for the first time fitting in with a group—adults who have their own quirks and challenges—while tough Cosmo is proving to be an excellent mentor, and even a friend. Keeping it all from his stressed-out mother is proving to be as much of a challenge as helping Cosmo avoid the thug who is hounding him for the money Cosmo owes in Susin Nielsen’s winning, warm-hearted novel that is full of humor and tenderness.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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