Sunday, December 27, 2015

The Nerdy Dozen by Jeff Miller

Cover image for The nerdy dozenNeil is the typical super gamer; nerdy, wimpy, and socially unskilled, but awesome at any game.  He is battling for the top score on the flight simulator computer game Chameleon when he is kidnapped by the US Air Force.  It turns out that the Chameleon game is based on a real top secret airplane and the Air Force has recruited 12 kids who are the best at the game to go on a secret mission flying the real thing. The twelve include all the stereotypes of nerdy kids.  There is the one who does medieval reenactments and speaks in old English.  There is another who wheres a superhero costume under his clothes, etc.  The twelve team up to keep top secret military technology out of the hands of an evil computer game creator. 

Of course, for those of us who are old enough to remember, this is strongly reminiscent of the 1984 movie, The Last Starfighter.  The difference is that the stakes are a lot lower in this story.  There is no "the fate of millions lies in your hands" idea going on here.  This is fun adventure fluff--a wish fulfillment story for kids who spend all of there time inside playing computer games.  It is the author's first book, and the writing style has some room for improvement.  Several times during the story I lost track of what was happening because the action sequencing isn't really clear.  Also, the author introduced too many characters, so none really had a fully developed personality.  Still, it was a fun story and I can think of several specific boys who come into my library that would really enjoy it. (292 p)

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