Book Review: The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

MiscalculationsThe Miscalculations of Lightning Girl
Stacy McAnulty
9781524767570, Random House Books for Young Readers, Pub. Date: May 1, 2018
Ages 8+

Publisher Description:

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.

WildlyRead Shelftalker: This sweet novel has all the elements of a great read – a plucky main character (Lucy, aka Lightning Girl – she was struck by lightning that made her a little OCD and a LOT brilliant at math), a secret (she doesn’t want anyone at her new middle school to know she’s Lightning Girl), new friend drama, understanding adults, and rescued dogs that need to be adopted. A quick read about how everyone has something unique about them that true friends will appreciate.

WildlyRead Thoughts: I really enjoyed this book! It was really accessible for all readers, not just those interested in reading a book specifically about a character that’s different. Fans of Wonder should enjoy this, as it straddles that line between inspiration novel and genuine kid-focused story. Even children with Lucy’s math brain or her OCD quirks will relate to her trying to figure out what middle school and friendship and the weirdness of human interactions are like. Plus, the fact that the adults are not out to get them (as they are in so many children’s books), was a really smart decision on behalf of the author. Not that there wasn’t a teacher or parent or fellow classmate that didn’t care or misunderstand what Lucy was going through, but if Lucy had to battle against a major adult in her life who didn’t have any sympathy toward her or her condition, I think the story would have been overshadowed by that, instead of focusing on all the “normal” things middle schoolers face, with that added element of being viewed through Lucy’s calculations. It was a nicely different viewpoint, to see the world through Lucy’s eyes, instead of a jarring or solely frustrating one. Well done to the author.

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