WeirdEST; Thoughtful, Fun, and Inspiring – Book Review
WeirdEST by Heather Nuhfer is the first very first book from the new publishing company, Her Universe Press. We’ve talked about Her Universe plenty of times before and were super ecstatic to learn that the fashion company would be expanding into the publishing business. Her Universe Press has been in the works for quite sometime and finally, this past Tuesday, the first book, WeirdEST, written by Heather Nuhfer, illustrated by Brenda Hickey, has arrived to our e-readers everywhere with a physical edition coming June 28th. Here’s the synopsis:
Imagine having superpowers that physically manifest your most embarrassing emotions.
Veronica McGowan is a typical, unremarkable, average thirteen-year-old. And this is the bane of her existence. Desperate to be an “Est”-cutest, smartest, funniest-Veronica bumbles her way through 8th grade, never truly being herself for fear of rejection…
I preordered WeirdEST the day it went up for sale. I’d been eagerly awaiting any and all news about the brand new books from Her Universe Press and to see that WeirdEST would be the first to see the light seemed like such a perfect choice. I’d only read the synopsis but I was hooked. The story follows Veronica, or Verry as her best friend Charlie calls her. Veronica is your normal, everyday girl who just wants to be an EST. EST’s are the popular kids. “Funniest”, “Prettiest”, “Artiest”, etc. It’s the higher end of the Pierce Middle School hierarchy. And than one day Veronica discovers she has powers. Her emotions cause different side effects. Between turning green and spitting fire, Veronica’s life will never be the same.
WeirdEST was unlike any other middle grade book I’ve read before. It featured a really fun, but also a heartbreaking at moments story. Veronica just wants to be an EST aka popular. She’ll do anything to get this, including putting herself below others to achieve it. Seeing her deal with this struggle as well as her father and new found stupid-powers is inspiring to me, let alone all the kids who will eventually get to read this book. Life throws its lemons at Veronica but she tries her best to make lemonade. It’s not easy in middle school, let alone when you have super powers and a parent whose taken a leave of absence. And while I could go on and on about why I really enjoyed the story and read this book way too fast for my good, I want to talk why this book is so special and why Her Universe Press is aiming to make a new path in the publishing industry.
I found the story to be quite thought provoking and quite diverse. Dealing with emotions in this way, showing what you may feel on the inside but showcasing them on outside, was a really nice way thing to read. I think it’s important to realize that people have emotions and to show them in a positive light in a middle grade book is even more important. Also the fact that many different types of people are show, all in positive lights, makes me want to recommend this book to everyone, young and old. Brenda Hickey showcases everyone so well and real, while Heather Nuhfar has a way of writing that lets you know that she understands kids. She doesn’t talk *to* them, she talks *with* them. Probably my favorite part of WeirdEST was the fact that Charlie, Veronica’s best friend, has two moms. This made me smile way too much. It’s a small little detail that isn’t forced up readers but flows naturally and I just really appreciated it. Middle grade books tend to not be so… diverse. At least in that way. Not to say that there isn’t any books that feature a kid with two moms or two dads, it’s just that that is rare in kids books. I think it’s super important to represent children and families from all angles. There is no cookie cutter image of a “normal” family and WeirdEST makes an effort to make this known.
WeirdEST is a story of growing up, realizing not everything is as picture perfect as you think, and ultimately, being yourself, whether that’s “craziest”, “funniest”, or even “weirdest” is what really matters. It’s the one thing that’s you and that no one can take away no matter the circumstances. I hope all readers take a special message from this book and hold onto it. Love yourself, your flaws, your everything.