Into the Wild Nerd Yonder by Julie Halpern

Jessie is a pretty intelligent girl. She has always enjoyed school, even if her two best friends are not exactly honors students. As she approaches the beginning of her sophomore year of high school, she also starts to realize that maybe her best friends aren't who she thought they were...all summer they drag her along so they have an excuse to hang out with Jessie's brother's punk bandmates. She is forced to spend many evenings at Denny's inhaling second-hand smoke.

While she likes her brother, and has a hopeless crush on his band's drummer, Van, the resident playboy. Apparently, so does Jessie's best friend Bizza, to Jessie's dismay. When Bizza and Char show up for the first day of school all punked out, complete with Bizza's shaved head, she starts to question how much they really have in common anymore. Her summer hobby was creating a new skirt for every day of the school year, and she has arrived in her "pencils and rulers" number for the first day...her friends hardly notice, too busy being caught up in their own transformations.

As an honors student, Jessie has some class friends that seem to notice more than her supposed best friends. In English, Polly tells her about the guy she met at band camp. At lunch, her crush Van randomly takes her to lunch (and asks her to pay for it), causing serious confusion in Jessieland. In study hall, Dottie is the resident Dungeons and Dragons geek. She seems to be surrounded by two very different worlds...

Things only get worse later than day when Bizza shows up hand-in-hand with Van, and can't wait to tell Jessie that they "made out! Aahhh! Isn't he so scrumptious?" What kind of a friend steals your crush? Things seem to be getting out of control, fast. Didn't Van go to lunch with her that same day?

When Jessie tells her brother Barrett about the latest Van victim, it seems to be the final straw, and the band breaks up. Jessie starts looking for friends in unexpected places, and it turns out maybe geeks aren't as bad as she thought.

"...I feel good that I have definite plans for Friday night. That jerky voice in my head pipes up before I can stop it and says, You're going to play Dungeons and Dragons with a bunch of nerds on a Friday night? Are those really the kind of new friends you want to be making? I glance over at Dottie, who flashes me the thumbs-up. Am I ready for this to be my new social life?" (Halpern pg. 106, 2009).

If you liked this, check out:

Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern
Notes from the Dog by Gary Paulsen
An Off Year by Claire Zulkey

Halpern, Julie. (2009). Into the Wild Nerd Yonder. Harrisonburg, VA: R.R. Donnelly and Sons Company.

Wake by Lisa McMann

At first thought it might seem cool to be able to see into other people's dreams, until you realize that you'll have to be subjected to dreams of the football captain's fears of coming to school naked.... Janie knows just how boring and embarrassing it can be to get stuck in someone else's dream...since it happens to her every day.

Janie's mom is an alcoholic, and never really cared much about what she did, or what happens to her. When she was 14, Janie got a part-time job at a nursing home to make some money. Her mom would forget to buy food if Janie didn't do it, let alone buying her clothes. She only really has one friend, Carrie, who lives next door. But Carrie doesn't know the truth, that Janie's a freak who can't control when she'll be witnessing someone else's deep-dark thoughts.

Cadel isn't new, he's always been around. It's just that recently he's become more interesting, or rather...more attractive? One night he offers her a ride home on his skateboard. They don't say anything along the way, and they don't really talk at all until the day Janie gives him a ride to school. She's assigned to sit next to him in class, and can't help seeing his dream of monsters and kissing her all together.

She tells herself she can't get involved, that he would never understand, that even SHE doesn't understand, but he won't leave her alone. They take a class trip on a bus, and all the dreams around her bombard her into a frenzy. Sitting next to Cadel, she can't do anything but ask him not to tell anyone. He holds her until they stop. She knows he'll never want to talk to her again, until he's there, at her hotel room door, asking to hear her story.

He listens, he even believes her, and it's her and Cadel...the relief and affection overwhelming her. But can she really trust him? Maybe he isn't who she thinks he is...

"But there is no one else. No one else but the monster-man with finger-knives, and Janie. Until the door opens, and a middle-aged man appears. He walks through Janie. The chair, sailing in slow motion, grows knives from its legs.
The car misses a mailbox.
It strikes the middle-aged man in the chest and head. His head is sliced clean off and it rolls around on the floor in a circle.
The car comes to rest in a shallow drainage ditch in the front yard of a tiny, unkempt house.
Janie stares at the large young man with knives for fingers. He walks to the dead man's head and kicks it like a soccer ball. It crashes loudly through the window and there is a blinding flash of light-" (McMann pg. 49, 2008).
*Library Link*

If you liked this, check out:
Fade by Lisa McMann (Book 2 in the series)
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr

McMann, Lisa. (2008). Wake. New York: Simon Pulse.