Pen Lupo is sick and tired of hiding who she is.
On the outside, Pen is popular, quiet, and deferential to her boyfriend.
On the inside, however, Pen is honest, opinionated--and not quite sure that she's like other girls. Do they have urges like she does?
His classmates may consider him a nerd, but Benedict Pendleton knows he's destined for great things.
All he has to do is find a worthy girlfriend, and his social station will be secured. Sure, Benedict is different--but that's what he likes about himself.
When fate intervenes, both Pen and Benedict end up at the same vacation resort for winter break.
Despite their differences, the two are drawn together. But is there such a thing as happily ever after for a nympho and a nerd?
Four stars: A charming, unique and funny coming of age story that takes an honest look at sex and teens.
Pen is frustrated and fed up. She is tired of pretending to be someone she isn't, and ashamed that she must hide who she really is, from everyone including her boyfriend. The truth is Pen loves sex, and she is constantly masturbating. Is she normal?
Then there is Benedict. He is the opposite of Pen. He is smart, he has a bright future, and he isn't afraid to speak his mind. Unfortunately, his habit of telling it like it is has made Benedict socially inept. He can't control his tongue and he speaks his truths no matter how brash they are. When Pen and Benedict end up going to the same vacation resort during Christmas break, something unexpected and wonderful happens. Can these two social misfits help each other?
What I Liked:
- The Nerdy and the Dirty was such an unexpected read. In all honesty, I almost abandoned it around the half way mark because I just wasn't feeling it. Luckily I didn't because this ended up being a fun, realistic book that is sex positive and wonderful. I loved seeing Pen and Benedict, two complete opposites fall in love and change each other. It was a fantastic romance. I highly recommend this book for older teens as I think it handles sex and all the awkwardness of being a teenager beautifully.
- Pen and Benedict are two of the most interesting, realistic and unique characters I have encountered. They are polar opposites. Pen is a popular girl, but inside she is struggling with her identity. She feels like a phony because she is never able to express herself and truly be her authentic self. Worse, Pen loves sex and self pleasure and she worries that she is abnormal and dirty. Benedict, on the other hand, is a nerd, socially inept and unable to function properly in the teenage social world because he tells it like it is, even if it makes him come off as being weird. I loved getting to know these quirky characters.
- The romance.... How do I begin? This is such an unconventional and funny romance, yet it has heart and it is realistic. I don't know how to describe this one except that is fueled by hesitancy and teen hormones, and then it explodes into something wonderful. The sex scene was one of my absolute favorites. It was funny, awkward and terrific all at the same time. I loved that it was full of emotion, sharing feelings and everything else. It was one of the most sex positive sex scenes I have ever read.
- I liked that this book was more than just an awkward teen romance. It also tackled some tough issues such as relationship abuse: verbal, emotional and physical. I appreciated that it dealt with how difficult it is for a teen to be their true self, and I like that it incorporated all the doubt and worry that a teenager faces.
- Both Pen and Benedict come from families that are facing some difficult issues. I enjoyed watching how they both found new ground with their parents and worked for better relationships.
- I was completely surprised and pleased by an unexpected friend and ally who comes to Pen's aid. It is her pastor. I was so happy that he didn't preach or chastise Pen for her sexual behavior. Instead he was a kind, patient and accepting confidant. If only there were more people out there like Pastor Jeremy.
- The ending was just right. No loose ends, no cliffhangers or unfinished business. I liked that it wrapped up nicely, and there was promise for the future. I also enjoyed reading the author acknowledgements.
And The Not So Much:
- One of the sticking points for me was the weird behavior from Benedict's dad. He was controlling, domineering and self absorbed. I was so curious as to what he did in his office all day, something wasn't quite right. Then something happens with him, and I wanted to know more.
- I was also a bit disappointed that there wasn't more movement with Pen and her mother. Their relationship was a troubled one, and it seemed like they were going to do better, but I wished that Pen had talked with her mother, especially in light of the new information she had received about the past.
- This was a slow book to get into for me. I am glad that I was patient because around the half way point, the book takes off.
- I would recommend this book for older teens as it covers sex in explicit detail. The sex though is done in a positive way, but still, it is better for older teens.
The Nerdy and the Dirty is a book that I would highly recommend for teens. I loved that this book was open, honest and realistic and that it was sex positive. This a terrific story about two opposites who unexpectedly come together and help one another be their best selves. Pen and Benedict are two of the most entertaining and interesting characters I have encountered in YA literature. Definitely check this one out.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own, and I was not compensated for this review.