Spoiler alert: No one with cancer dies in this story. They do play Uno, shave their head, get stabbed, make new friends, enjoy glitter, attend camp, get kissed (!), and above all else, discover they are brave enough to continue living life.
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.
Not only do I now know what in-season fish and shellfish to look for at the grocery store and at restaurants, but I have a deeper understanding of how what I'm buying and eating affects fishing overall and the fisherman who catch them.
Basically, this can be considered a contemporary retelling of The Paper Bag Princess, where the prince is the U.S. president's son, the princess is the son's former best friend and daughter of the president's former body guard, and the dragon is a Russian operative.
While the story could have been ripped from the headlines, the subject of senseless public shootings was treated with tenderness and sensitivity, humanizing both the victims and the shooters.
This makes a great addition to the canon of fantasy books featuring strong White women like the His Fair Assassins series by R.L. LaFevers, the Leigh Bardugo Wonder Woman: Warbringer, and the like. All of that said, I felt like this story didn't really add anything new to this genre.
Meet Princess Serena, aka Princess Pulverizer! She must complete 8 good deeds on a Quest of Kindness to become a Knight. Deed #1: Rescue jewels, a scared knight, and a gassy, cheese-eating dragon from a sleepy ogre. Silly, funny, and empowering. Ages 4+
As Shoba Narayan becomes increasingly obsessed with cows, milk, and other cow by-products she takes us on a journey of self-discovery and milk-discovery. I will never look at milk the same way again!
Cinder meets The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue meets Pride & Prejudice and Zombies. A mixed-race young woman trained to kill zombies tries to keep herself and her friends alive while navigating the treacherous landscape of post-Reconstruction America.
So many fascinating details about the 1920s, India's legal system, and most importantly, the myriad different cultures, customs, and ethnic groups that make up India's complex society.