THE MISCALCULATIONS OF LIGHTNING GIRL, by Stacy McAnulty, Random House Books for Young Readers, May 1, 2018, Hardcover, $16.99 (ages 8-12)
It’s been almost two months since I read Stacy McAnulty’s The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl, but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten it.
The story centers on a girl whose life is changed forever by a freak accident.
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? —Synopsis provided by Random House Books for Young Readers
As a mom of a 4 ½ –year-old, I appreciated Miscalculations of Lightning Girl probably for different reasons than the intended audience. The book serves as a gentle reminder of not only how important social skills are but also how they have far-reaching implications. Watching my daughter learn to navigate “play” with other children has been fascinating. Miscalculations of Lightning Girl reminded me it can also be hard. Very, very hard.
I love Lucy. When you meet her, she’s so sure of herself and her abilities, but as you get to know her, you realize how nuanced things are. She’s a great example of how everyone is challenged in some way or another. Lucy’s the kind of character I want my daughter to understand, because either she herself, or someone she crosses paths with will be just like her.
I highly recommend The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl. It’s one of my favorite middle-grade reads of 2018.
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