Review: The Wrong Kind of Weird

Cameron Carson has a secret. A secret with the power to break apart his friend group.

Cameron Carson, member of the Geeks and Nerds United (GANU) club, has been secretly hooking up with student council president, cheerleader, theater enthusiast, and all-around queen bee Karla Ortega since the summer. The one problem—what was meant to be a summer fling between coffee shop coworkers has now evolved into a clandestine senior-year entanglement, where Karla isn’t intending on blending their friend groups anytime soon, or at all.

Enter Mackenzie Briggs, who isn’t afraid to be herself or wear her heart on her sleeve. When Cameron finds himself unexpectedly bonding with Mackenzie and repeatedly snubbed in public by Karla, he starts to wonder who he can truly consider a friend and who might have the potential to become more…

I was really expecting to love this one, but unfortunately it didn’t meet my expectations at all. I also have to admit that I got annoyed by this book at times. Part of it was the writing/editing and the other was the main character and how he was portrayed. But… I’ll get to that in a bit.

What I did like about this book was Cameron’s nerdy side (as well as his friends’). While his narration could get a little long at times when he was describing things such as Dragon Ball or some other anime or Studio Ghibli movie, I do realize it was more for readers who aren’t into such things. I did feel bad that Cameron experienced bullying because of his passion for anime and video games because no one should be bullied for what they like/are passionate about. The element of not being ashamed of what you like and how passionate you get about what you like is a theme in the book, which makes or breaks relationships with some of the characters.

“Maybe we weren’t all into the same shit, but we were all geeks about something, so maybe we were all idiots for acting like we were so different from each other just because the object of our geekery was different.” 

I think my favorite character in this was Mackenzie, with D’Anthony as a solid second. Mackenzie was just so secure in what she likes and didn’t care about what others thought of her. She didn’t care if they thought she was weird because of her love for video games, art, and anime. If they did, she didn’t bother with them. I especially loved her banter with Cameron throughout the book – it was a classic frenemy relationship, especially since at times Cameron got confused as to where they stood.

Now… what I didn’t like was how Cameron was so repetitive, and some of this falls on the writing/editing process. For instance, there was a repeat sentence, word for word, that was unnecessary on pages 82 and 95, which I’ve quoted below. That sent me for a loop as a reader because I was like, “didn’t I just read this?” and the writer/editor in me was like, “how did the editor miss this?” The other thing that annoyed me was how hard the author went in making Cameron a stereotypical “Gen Z” kid, with how many times he had to mention the attractiveness of males to iterate how comfortable he was with his masculinity. I have no problems with him being comfortable enough to mention it, but the author overdid it with Cameron. It even went as far as Cameron not getting the “bro-hug” that guys do, which really doesn’t make sense to me why this bothered him, but… whatever.

Aside from my nitpicking, I did like this book. I just don’t love it as I thought I would. The best part was obviously the banter between Cameron and Mackenzie, but I also liked Cameron’s sister and her teasing of her little brother. In any case, this is a good book in general, and I’m sure many people will love it. It just didn’t hit the mark for me, and that’s okay.

Rating: 3/5 stars

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