A buttoned-up overachiever works overtime to keep her inner nerd at bay—failing spectacularly—in Nancy Werlin’s hilarious and heartfelt return to contemporary realistic fiction. Planning is Zoe Rosenthal’s superpower. She has faith in a properly organized to-do list and avoids unnecessary risks. Her mental checklist goes something like this: 1) Meet soulmate: DONE! 2) Make commitment: DONE! 3) Marriage: TO COME! (after college). She isn’t sure which college yet, but it will have a strong political science department, since her perfect boyfriend, Simon, plans to “save the country,” as his sister puts it, “and the planet and everything.” Zoe will follow along, the perfect serious, supportive girlfriend. It’s good to have her love life resolved, checked off, done. But speaking of unnecessary risks, Zoe’s on a plane to Atlanta, sneaking off to Dragon Con for the second season premiere of Bleeders. The show is subject to her boyfriend’s lofty scorn, but Zoe is nothing like these colorful hordes “wearing their inside on their outside.” Once her flirtation with fandom is over, she will get back to the important business of planning a future with Simon. The trouble is, right now, Bleeders—and her fellow “Bloodygits”—may just mean the world to her. Will a single night of nerdery be enough? Best-selling and award-winning author Nancy Werlin is best known for science fiction, fantasy, and suspense, but here she turns her pen to realistic fiction with broad appeal. Confirmed nerds will revel in a diverse cast, zany fandoms, and cosplaying crowds, but this is for any reader seeking a smart, breezy coming-of-age story about finding your friends—and your inconvenient self.
Master planner Zoe Rosenthal, who is Jewish, has her future figured out: "Meet soulmate; Make commitment; Marriage: TO COME! (after college)." By senior year of high school, she's already found the perfect boyfriend in serious-minded Simon Murawski, who works tirelessly to get his favorite Massachusetts senatorial candidate elected, usually with loyal Zoe beside him. Then Zoe is introduced to Bleeders, a TV show about women doctors combatting a fatal bloody virus in space. Down-to-earth Simon abhors the program, but Zoe is hooked. Now her days are spent scheming ways to escape the Boston area (and Simon) to attend sci-fi/fantasy conventions, where she can cosplay her favorite character with a newfound group of kindred spirits and enjoy more freedom. Zoe always returns to being her boyfriend-pleasing self, but soon she begins to wonder if it's time to reconsider her plans. Werlin (Impossible) vividly paints fandom antics, tracing Zoe's evolution during her thrilling, often hilarious trips to cons around the country. The scarcity of scenes showing Simon and Zoe together destabilizes the novel's effectiveness, but messages of self-discovery will resonate. Ages 14 up. \n