The Wrong Kind of Weird by James Ramos Book Review Read it later

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Contributor Lindsey S.

I will preface my review of James Ramos’ up-and-coming novel, The Wrong Kind of Weird, by saying that I have recently come to the conclusion that I am officially too old for general YA fiction. This book is intended for readers between the ages of 13 and 18, and as a 30-something year old woman, the cultural references go over my head and the issues they’re facing come across as a bit trivial.

Before we dive into my thoughts about this book, let me give you a quick rundown of what it’s about.

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The Wrong Kind of Weird is told by Cam, a high school senior who is attempting to navigate two separate cliques. On one side are his best friends and members of the G.A.N.U (Geeks and Nerds United) Club. On the other is Karla, senior class president and Cam’s secret make-out partner. Cam is sure he wants to be in a relationship with Karla, but knows that the animosity between his friends and Karla’s friends would never allow them to officially date. 

Cam hopes that by getting in with the popular crowd, he’ll be seen as “worthy” of Karla. When Cam is assigned to write a piece for the school newspaper about the fall play, he is able to traverse between the two social circles. He befriends Karla’s ex-boyfriend, Lucas, who happens to be the twin brother of Mackenzie, a member of G.A.N.U. and Cam’s unofficial nemesis. 

The more “in” with the popular kids Cam finds himself, the more he starts to question if this is really what he wants. Is Karla–someone who ignores him unless they’re kissing in the shadows–worth ostracizing his friends for? Cam’s feelings toward Karla really start to shift as he spends more time with Mackenzie, someone who doesn’t expect Cam to change his colors to fit in. 

The Wrong Kind of Weird by James Ramos

Genre: Fiction/ YA

High school senior Cam wants to fit in with the popular kids so that he and Karla can take their secret relationship out into the open. Throughout the book, however, he discovers the importance of being true to oneself. 

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I thought the characters in this book were all interesting, especially the members of G.A.N.U. A couple of them were on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum, which I appreciate seeing in YA fiction, especially as younger generations comfortably settle into their sexuality earlier in life. When I was in high school, this wasn’t common. Sexual orientation wasn’t openly discussed and it wasn’t until after we graduated that a lot of my classmates came out. Representation–whether it’s sexual oritentation, ethnicity, or the fact that it’s okay to be a geek or nerd — is incredibly important, especially for those in middle and high school. 

Contributor Lindsey with The Wrong Kind of Weird
Contributor Lindsey with The Wrong Kind of Weird!

There were a lot of pop culture references (specifically to anime) that I didn’t get, and I do think  this swayed my feelings about the overall concept of the book a bit. However, it’s clearly written for those who love Dragon Ball Z, anime, and cultural conventions, so readers who are fans of these things will enjoy these references. I do agree, however, that the movie Pride, Prejudice and Zombies is the best adaptation of the Jane Austen book. 

A couple of other things I liked about this book were the banter between the friends and that the story was told from the POV of a Black male. I don’t read a lot of books where the narrator is male, especially in YA novels, so having that insight made for a unique reading experience. After reading about the author, you can clearly tell that he put a lot of himself into Cam and his friends. 

Unfortunately, The book wasn’t as streamlined as it could have been. The pacing is all over the place at times, then a chapter later it’s clean and concise. The book isn’t releasing until 2023, so I’m hoping that beta readers catch this and give the author the chance to tighten it up before publication. 

Overall, this novel is a beautiful celebration of being different. It’s okay to be weird and you shouldn’t have to change yourself in order for someone to like you. The people you should have in your life, and the ones that deserve to have you in theirs, are the ones who love you for who you are–flaws and all. 

Did you enjoy my The Wrong Kind of Weird by James Ramos Book Review?

I would definitely recommend this book to younger readers. Do you have a favorite anime series? Share with us in the comments! 

Popular books from the author

That Girl, Darcy by James Ramos

Genre: Fiction/ YA

Senior and science fiction-loving skateboarder Elliott Bennet wants nothing more than to have an uncomplicated senior year. However, when Darcy moves to town, she kick-flips Elliott’s world upside down. Darcy is the complete opposite of Elliott, yet there’s something about her that intrigues him–and he plans to figure out just what that is. 

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The Wrong Kind of Weird by James Ramos
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