3.5 stars - intriguing YA contemporary

filled star filled star filled star star unfilled star unfilled
onemused Avatar


THE WRONG KIND OF WEIRD is a YA contemporary about feeling awkward and navigating high school. Cameron (Cam to his friends) really loves manga and anime, and he spends most of his time with his close friends, D'Anthony and Jocelyn. They formed the Geeks and Nerds United (GANU) club, which defines their role in high school, where they are frequently teased. The most recent (only) addition to their club is Mackenzie, who is very cool but also loves nerd stuff. However, right from the start, she and Cam have been on the opposite sides of just about everything.

Juxtaposed with their group is the Caravan, full of the popular kids who are student council presidents, cheerleaders, and the like. At the center of it is Karla, who is considered to be the most attractive girl in high school and certainly holding dislike for the GANU. However, Cam is holding a secret - he and Karla have been hooking up since they worked at the same summer job. It's not a relationship, and she is definitely keeping him a secret, but Cam is considering whether he might want more - especially when she asks an intense question about their physical relationship.

As the year in school continues, Cam begins to consider what he wants from Karla but also get to know Mackenzie better, learning that she isn't necessarily his enemy - and, in fact, they have a lot in common.

What I loved: This was really a story about high school and feeling awkward, as well as figuring yourself out. Cam's journey is a complicated one where he is keeping secrets from everyone around him as he centers the physical relationship Karla. While the secret was not as dangerous as others could have been, it still left him feeling a bit isolated and confused. Meanwhile, he is challenged by others in his life, particularly his former bully, Lucas, who is suddenly trying to make amends and his sister, Mackenzie, with whom Cam always had a challenging relationship - simply due to some mutual animosity. This contemporary really just speaks to the high school experience and finding your way through as well as figuring out what matters most to you.

A really important theme of the book was around physical relationships and consent, and this was one of the strongest elements. Cam was educated by his mother, and he really takes his time with consent and making sure that everyone is enjoying themselves in the relationship. While this should be a given, it is great to see spelled out and such care taken on these themes.

The book does not have the ending you might expect, and there is something to be said for figuring out your feelings and living with them honestly, even when the end result is not exactly what you wanted. That being said, there is a hopeful note to the end, and it felt like a happy one.

What left me wanting more: As small things, some of themes were not carried through as well as others with some things leaving a bit of head-scratching. The middle of the story seemed to wander a bit as well, and it was tough to stay focused on the key plotlines in places.

Final verdict: THE WRONG KIND OF WEIRD is a YA contemporary about high school, feeling awkward, and finding your truths.

Please note that I received an ARC. All opinions are my own.