Published by Random House on May 1, 2018
Genres: Middle Grade, Contemporary
Source: Blog Tour, NetGalley
My content rating: MG Appropriate (No romance or violence, Some sad themes when it comes to the pet shelter)
Middle school is the one problem Lucy Callahan can't solve in this middle-grade novel perfect for fans of The Fourteenth Goldfish, Rain Reign, and Counting by 7s.
Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning. She doesn't remember it, but it changed her life forever. The zap gave her genius-level math skills, and ever since, Lucy has been homeschooled. Now, at 12 years old, she's technically ready for college. She just has to pass 1 more test--middle school!
Lucy's grandma insists: Go to middle school for 1 year. Make 1 friend. Join 1 activity. And read 1 book (that's not a math textbook!). Lucy's not sure what a girl who does calculus homework for fun can possibly learn in 7th grade. She has everything she needs at home, where nobody can make fun of her rigid routines or her superpowered brain. The equation of Lucy's life has already been solved. Unless there's been a miscalculation?
A celebration of friendship, Stacy McAnulty's smart and thoughtful middle-grade debut reminds us all to get out of our comfort zones and embrace what makes us different.
"An engaging story, full of heart and hope. Readers of all ages will root for Lucy, aka Lightning Girl. No miscalculations here!" --Kate Beasley, author of Gertie's Leap to Greatness
This book was a breath of fresh air, with a uniquely intelligent MC who we can truly root for!
What Fed My Addiction:
- A mathematical mind. When Lucy was struck by lightning, she woke up with genius-level mathematical skills: acquired savant syndrome is the technical name for it. This, in itself, is really interesting, but Lucy’s mathematical skills affect the way she sees the world in so many ways. For instance, she “sees” numbers as colors, sees complex geometrical shapes in the world around her, and she is constantly counting and calculating everything. In addition, we’re given many tiny glimpses into the way her mind truly works—little details that add so much to her character. An example is how every number in the book is written numerically (even if it’s something like, “that 1 girl we met”). It’s these little touches that make the book fun. I loved being inside Lucy’s unique mind!
- OCD. Lucy also suffers from OCD, which makes her stand out among her peers in some pretty unavoidable ways. While I don’t have OCD myself, it seemed to me that McAnulty thoroughly researched Lucy’s issues, and the representation feels very real to me based on what I’ve been told from others who do struggle with it. I appreciated that there were no solutions or cures presented in the book—just ways of dealing with those struggles.
- Relatable middle grade issues. Even though Lucy is incredibly unusual herself, the story focuses on many issues that any middle grader would relate to: wanting to fit in (and sometimes pretending to be something you’re not in order to do so), keeping secrets from friends and feeling betrayed by them, the desire to get past the point where everyone looks at you like a kid … and more!
- Positive adult figures. Unlike in some kids’ books, the adults in this book are all portrayed positively, as people who want to help (and who are capable of helping, even if they can’t magically solve every problem). Sure, there’s one teacher who gives Lucy a slightly hard time, but it’s based more on misunderstanding than anything else, and she isn’t a dumb or horrible adult. Lucy’s grandmother and uncle are delightful, and I love the portrayal of a unique family that works.
- Dogs! I’m a sucker for dogs, and the kids’ project at a pet shelter plays a large role in the book. (I’ll warn you that there’s a part of the book that made me cry involving a dog—in case your MG reader is sensitive to that sort of thing—but it all ends up okay.)
What Left Me Hungry for More:
- Not much. I really can’t think of anything specifically negative to say. There are some books that deal a little more seriously with OCD and friendship issues, but I think it’s sometimes nice to have a less “heavy” alternative for some kids (my daughter can’t read books that are too sad or scary, so this one would work well for her). For a MG audience, I think this book hit just the right tone.
Lightning Girl grabs your attention right from the start and never lets go. I flew through the book and enjoyed every minute of it.
***Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via Rockstar Book Tours and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About The Author
Stacy McAnulty is a children’s book author, who used to be a mechanical engineer, who’s also qualified to be a paleontologist (NOT REALLY), a correspondent for The Daily Show (why not), and a Green Bay Packer coach (totally!). She is the 2017 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor Recipient for Excellent Ed, illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach. Her other picture books include Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years, illustrated by David Litchfield; Max Explains Everything: Grocery Store Expert, illustrated by Deborah Hocking, Brave and Beautiful, both illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff; Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite, illustrated by Edward Hemingway; and 101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking a Bath, illustrated by Joy Ang. She’s also authored the chapter book series Goldie Blox, based on the award-winning toys, and The Dino Files. Her debut middle grade novel, The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl, will publish in May 2018. When not writing, Stacy likes to listen to NPR, bake triple-chocolate cupcakes, and eat triple-chocolate cupcakes. Originally from upstate NY, she now lives in Kernersville, NC with her 3 kids, 3 dogs, and 1 husband.
3 winners will receive a finished copy of THE MISCALCULATIONS OF LIGHTNING GIRL, US Only.
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