The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty | SLJ Review

Gr 4-6 –McAnulty (Brave) makes a big splash with this series opener. Twelve-year-old Lucy, a.k.a. Lightning Girl, has been homeschooled by her grandmother since she was eight; she’s been a math genius ever since she was hit by lightning and survived.

redstarMCANULTY, Stacy. The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl. 304p. Random. May 2018. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781524767570.

Gr 4-6 –McAnulty (Brave) makes a big splash with this series opener. Twelve-year-old Lucy, a.k.a. Lightning Girl, has been homeschooled by her grandmother since she was eight; she’s been a math genius ever since she was hit by lightning and survived. She also lives with OCD and has rituals that revolve around the number three. If she does not perform them, the numbers of Pi string out in her brain. “It’s like getting a song stuck in your head.... Incredibly annoying but beautiful.” Since she can recite the numbers to the 314th decimal place, seeing them prevents her from concentrating on anything else. She mastered calculus and now wants to take college classes. Nana wants her to go to middle school for a year, make a new friend, try one new activity, and read a book that isn’t about math—a tall order for the genius. Lucy is a unique and endearing character who readers will not soon forget. The school, social situations, and dialogue are spot on. Lucy’s voice is distinct, and her intelligence and wry humor shine. Her love of math will be contagious even for math-phobes. Other characters, such as Nana, Uncle Paul, Windy, and Levi, are equally well drawn. Readers should be prepared to weep at a gut-punching turn of events near the end but will close the book with a satisfied sigh and a Lucy-sized place in their heart. VERDICT Prepare to fall in love. This outstanding story sensitively portrays a neuro-diverse main character and is not to be missed.–Brenda Kahn, Tenakill Middle School, Closter, NJ

This review was published in the School Library Journal February 2018 issue.

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