Happily Ever Afters meets You've Got Mail in this geeky, Black Girl Magic filled debut romance about cosplay and finding the courage to be yourself.
Ramona Lambert is a typical shy, artistic sixteen-year-old. She has a best friend whom she’s known since they were in diapers; parents who love her; a love for cosplay; and a crush on the cute boy in her class.
The only problem? Her best friend moved away; her parents don't quite understand her love of cosplay; and she is pretty sure her crush has no idea she exists.
To escape her troubles, Ramona turns to cosplay and her original character, Rel, who gives her the confidence and freedom that she lacks in real life. Embracing this confidence, she decides to strike up an email conversation with her crush, Caleb Wolfe, from her cosplay account in the hopes getting to know him . . . and maybe win his heart. Then as Caleb and Ramona are swept up in their emails back and forth to each other, and Ramona falls even harder as he opens up about his hopes, insecurities, and his own geeky loves. However, as Caleb starts to grow closer and closer to Rel, he also strikes up a friendship with Ramona, who knows she can't keep the truth about Rel from Caleb but isn't sure she is ready to risk losing him. With an important cosplay convention coming up and the anxiety of her double-life weighing on her, Ramona has to decide if she’ll hide behind her cosplay character forever or take the chance and let Caleb see the real her--because he might actually like her for who she is.
Alisha Emrich has wanted to be a writer ever since the third grade, when she won a poetry contest for a considerably bad, if amusing poem she wrote about her baby doll. Her writing skills have improved since then. She has always loved stories of all kinds, but especially ones where the nerdy girl gets the cute guy. She holds a B.A. in English from Armstrong Atlantic University, an M.A. in English and an M.A. in Creative Writing from Southern New Hampshire University where she has just completed her MFA in Young Adult fiction. Alisha lives in Richmond Hill, Georgia with her family where she is at work on her next novel.
“Cosplay culture takes center stage in this winsome romance . . . Emrich’s debut showcases a multidimensional protagonist navigating the predominantly White spaces of comic conventions and anime and manga fandom while trying to fit in at school. Ramona’s yearnings to find her way and to be understood are relatable and angst-filled. An enjoyable look at identity and what it means to belong and to stand out.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Emrich uses Ramona’s shy ventures beyond her comfort zone and slow evolution into a more confident version of herself to develop a wholesome and bighearted debut about quirky characters boldly embracing their idiosyncrasies, learning that it’s okay to stand out, and challenging the assumptions placed upon them.”
"You don't have to be a nerd to have a crush on this book. But as a nerd, I crushed on this book so hard. A fun, heartfelt, and adorkable read."—Sara Farizan, author of Dead Flip and Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel
"A love letter to nerd culture, penned by a cosplaying Black girl with a secret crush. What more could you want?"—Ronni Davis, author of When the Stars Lead to You
"With a light touch, humor, and honesty, Alisha Emrich’s NerdCrush
delves into issues of family expectations, the mistakes we make in the name of first love, and the big chances we take to win the heart of our crushes. Lovers of cosplay and big romantic gestures won’t be disappointed.”—Natasha Deen, author of In the Key of Nira Ghani and The Signs and Wonders of Tuna Rashad
“Chic geeks everywhere will appreciate this new novel from Emrich.”—SLJ