The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

Published by Random House Books for Young Readers

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Summary:  When Lucy Callahan was 8 years old, she was struck by lightning, an event that damaged the left side of her brain and caused the right side to work overtime.  She’s a math genius with a touch of OCD, and has been homeschooled by her grandmother for the last four years.  At 12, she’s ready for college academically, but Nana thinks she needs to develop her social skills.  She enrolls Lucy at East Hamlin Middle School, insisting that her granddaughter go to a regular school for one year, make one friend, participate in one activity, and read one book that’s not about math.  At first, this seems like an impossible goal, as Lucy’s classmates stare and make fun at the way she has to sit and stand three times before taking a seat and wipe down her desk and locker with Clorox wipes.  But Lucy hides her genius abilities, and slowly begins to find a place for herself at school.  She makes a couple of interesting friends, and the three of them start volunteering at an animal shelter, where Lucy falls in love with a dog named Pi.  But when one of her new friends tells some other girls about Lucy’s math skills, she feels betrayed and isn’t sure she’ll get through the year.  Can the brilliant and quirky Lightning Girl truly find happiness in middle school?  Includes additional information on pi and the Fibonacci sequence. 304 pages; grades 4-7.

Pros:  Lucy is an unusual but engaging narrator, and readers will cheer her on as she navigates the difficult pathways of seventh grade while remaining true to herself.

Cons:  I was hoping to learn the identity of SquareHead 314, an online friend on a math site where Lucy spends a lot of time, but that didn’t happen.

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